The Stafford Air and Space Museum and the Oklahoma Space Alliance (OSA) will celebrate the second "Stories at the Stafford" event of the year with the saga of the Apollo 13 mission.
The event starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 at the Stafford Air and Space Museum, located at 3000 E. Logan Rd. in Weatherford.
The museum and OSA will be showing the movie "Apollo 13," in conjunction with the grand opening of the museum's newest exhibit, the Apollo spacecraft.
Marketing Coordinator Brand Rizzi said the Apollo spacecraft weighs over 6,000 pounds, is over 30 feet long and is a full-scale, high fidelity replica of an actual Apollo Service and Command Module. She added that this exhibit is the only one on public display, and it is indoors.
Saturday night, the museum and OSA will also co-host Yuri's Night, an international celebration to honor space exploration accomplishments. It is named after Yuri Gagarin, who on April 12, 1961, became the first human to be launched into space.
"Oklahoma Space Alliance looks eagerly forward to sharing this event at the Stafford Air and Space Museum, one of America's great air and space museums," said OSA President Stephen Swift. "Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford is one of America's pioneers in space. The museum, with its displays, artifacts and information is the ideal location for the Yuri's Night celebration."
April 12 marks the 53rd anniversary of Gagarin's space flight and the 33rd anniversary of the inaugural launch of NASA's Space Shuttle. Both events are celebrated at Yuri's Night, while promoting its goal of increasing public interest of space flight, exploration and inspiring new generations. In 2013, Yuri's Night was celebrated at over 350 events in 57 countries.
The presentation of Apollo 13 is scheduled specifically for the month of April, because the mission took place in April. Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970 and safely landed in the South Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970. It was called the "successful failure" as it didn't result in the third scheduled lunar landing but has often been heralded as one of NASA's greatest moments.
Museum Director Max Ary will share the story of the miraculous mission and how he assisted movie director Ron Howard in creating the Academy Award winning film. Ary was the Chief Technical Advisor for the film and worked closely with Howard and actors Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton to ensure the most accurate depiction of the actual mission.
"We are very excited to be partnering with the OSA in this next event." said Rizzi. "This will be a fun evening for everyone. Being able to come together to celebrate some of the best moments in our space exploration history is an honor, and we are happy to share this with our members and everyone in Oklahoma."
This event is open to all ages. The cost is free for current museum members and $7 for non-members. Children, ages five and under, are free. Southwestern Oklahoma State University students receive $2 admission with proof of student ID.
The event will take place inside the museum in front of the Titan II rocket and next to the new Apollo Spacecraft. Refreshments including fresh popped popcorn will be served.