The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, located inside the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Heroes & Legends building, honors American astronauts and features the world's largest collection of their personal memorabilia, focusing on those astronauts who have been inducted into the Hall; as well as Sigma 7, the fifth manned Mercury spacecraft.HistoryIn the 1980s, the six then-surviving Mercury Seven astronauts conceived of establishing a place where US space travelers could be remembered and honored, along the lines of halls of fame for other fields. The Mercury Seven Foundation and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation were formed and have a role in the current operations of the Hall of Fame. The foundation's first executive director was former Associated Press space reporter Howard Benedict.The Astronaut Hall of Fame was opened on October 29, 1990, by the U.S. Space Camp Foundation, which was the first owner of the facility. It was located next to the Florida branch of Space Camp.The Hall of Fame closed for several months in 2002 when U.S. Space Camp Foundation's creditors foreclosed on the property due to low attendance and mounting debt. In September of that year, an auction was held and the property was purchased by Delaware North Park Services on behalf of NASA and the property was added to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Hall of Fame re-opened December 14, 2002.
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