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Celebrating 50 years of space flight

Proach Models, an aerospace model making company in Sechelt, B.C. is once again join with the H. R.

Proach Models, an aerospace model making company in Sechelt, B.C. is once again join with the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre to commemorate a number of significant anniversaries in space history, the biggest of which is remembering the time when humans first launched the era of space exploration.

It was 50 years ago on April 12, 1961 that Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to orbit the earth. Almost a month later, on May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space.

The exhibit highlighted Yuri's night celebrations at the Vancouver space centre.

The display, which opened on April 9, features an in-scale display of every manned spacecraft used since 1961. It also includes U.S. and Russian spacecraft along with an in-scale display of every major rocket used to launch crews into space. The exhibit will include a 1/48 scale detailed layout of the Apollo 15 landing site, remembering the time 40 years ago that the Apollo 15 mission became the 4th U.S. lunar landing mission.

A Chinese Shenzou spacecraft will be added to the collection of models later this month. Canada's part in manned spaceflight is also represented with the International Space Station (ISS). A detailed model of the station is on display along with a larger, detailed and fully articulating model of Canada's contribution to the ISS, Canadarm II with the Special Dexterous Manipulator System, known as "Dexter". This is the robotic arm and hands used to perform a number of tasks aboard the orbiting outpost.

The Apollo 13 mission, scheduled to land on the moon in April, 1970 but was aborted because of an on-board explosion, is also represented in model form as well as a large-scale model of the Orion spacecraft. Orion will replace the U.S. Space Shuttle with manned flights planned for 2016.

The shuttle, which first flew on April 12, 1981, is also a major part of the collection.

The interest in professional model making began in July of 1971 when Nick Proach built the complete Apollo 15 lunar landing site for use during CTV's coverage of the mission.

Since 1994, Proach Models has been building world-class models and has been contracted to supply models to many museums, collectors, corporations and institutions in the U.S.A., Canada and worldwide. These include private astronaut collections as well as NASA and the USAF.

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