Museo Lunar – Fresnedillas de la Oliva, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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Museo Lunar

Fresnedillas de la Oliva, Spain

The small Spanish town that played an important role in a human's first steps on the moon. 

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Located on Calle de Apollo 11 in Fresnedillas de la Oliva, the Museo Lunar (Lunar Museum) commemorates the role this small Spanish town played in humans setting foot on the moon.

From 1967 to 1985, Fresnedillas de la Oliva served as the headquarters of the NASA Apollo Station in Europe. It was in this small town near Madrid where one of the three tracking antennas was installed to maintain continuous contact between the Apollo program spacecraft and the NASA Control Center in Houston. The other two stations were located at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex in Australia. These three stations were home to giant antennas measuring 26 meters in diameter and weighing 300 tons. Their locations formed an equidistant triangle on the map that could receive communications from Apollo 11 around the clock.

On the night of July 20, 1969, the workers of the Fresnedillas Station, after long hours of hard work, were the first to hear and immediately share with the rest of planet Earth the famous phrase of Commander Neil Armstrong: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

In 1983, the National Institute of Aerospace Technology took over its facilities and its giant antenna was transferred to Robledo de Chavela, where it remained in use until 2008.

The museum contains a collection of original objects from space, both from NASA and Russian space missions. It was created by the City Council of Fresnedillas de la Oliva due to the good reception given to the acts to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the collection was moved to a larger space and it was renamed the Lunar Center for Space and Science Museum. It was inaugurated on July 20, 2019, by the former workers of the Apolo Station in Fresnedillas de la Oliva.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open exclusively for school visits on weekdays. The museum is open for the general public on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In partnership with KAYAK

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