Astronaut Training

In 1959 the university welcomed a different type of student to campus when a group of astronauts arrived to learn celestial navigation at the Morehead Planetarium. The state-of-the-art planetarium was used to teach future astronauts to find their way using the stars, in case of equipment failure (which they needed for the Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 missions). Nearly every American astronaut between 1959 and 1975 —including John Glenn and Neil Armstrong —trained at the planetarium.


Date Established: 1959

Date Range: 1959 – 1975

Astronauts Edward Higgins White II (left) and James Alton McDivitt preparing for a Gemini mission, ca. 1965. UNC Image Collection, North Carolina Collection Photo Archives, Wilson Library.