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Apollo at the Park Coming to MLB Ballparks

Mark IV spacesuits

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first human to walk on the Moon by placing 15 replica statues of Neil Armstrong’s iconic spacesuit in MLB ballparks.

No, that’s not a photo of the Apollo 11 crew above (more on that later), but it does illustrate a point the Smithsonian is pushing with this endeavor: the Apollo 11 effort was one of America’s great achievements, and baseball is America’s Pastime. So that July 20, 1969 Moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin will be honored with the replica statues in these ballparks:

  • Atlanta Braves, SunTrust Park
  • Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park
  • Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field
  • Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field
  • Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park
  • Colorado Rockies, Coors Field
  • Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park
  • Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park, of course
  • Minnesota Twins, Target Field
  • New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park
  • San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park
  • Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park
  • Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field
  • Washington Nationals, Nationals Park

There is a story behind Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. It’s been in storage the last 13 years, but recently NASA launched an effort to conserve and digitize the spacesuit. As a result of a Kickstarter campaign, the suit was run through a 3D scanner, and these plans were used to create the spacesuits on display in the 15 MLB ballparks. Plus, the replica suits will be interactive, with digital content activation when fans scan a code with their smartphones.

The statues will be installed beginning in June (first up: Nationals Park on June 4) and continuing into the fall of 2019.

(About that top photo. This was a late 1950s publicity shot from the U.S. Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia to show off B.F. Goodrich Mark IV spacesuits and their flexibility. The Mark IV would evolve to become the original Project Mercury spacesuit, according to the National Air and Space Museum. The photo is courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.)

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