New horizons at the SAC museum

Pure Nebraska
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:12 AM CST
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ASHLAND, Neb. (KOLN) - We caught up with Nebraska’s astronaut Clayton Anderson, who is now serving as executive director of the SAC Aerospace Museum.

“I was born and raised here in Ashland,” Anderson said. “I’m the only astronaut ever to be selected from the state of Nebraska. I flew 167 days in outer space. I conducted six space walks to the tune of about 38 hours I had a great career, 15 years as an astronaut with NASA.”

Now, Anderson is leading the SAC museum, and he’s looking to the future. “We are in a transitional phase,” Anderson said. “We just recently brought an exhibit from Boeing that’s called “Above and Beyond”. It’s interactive, and people are learning while being entertained. The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum has it’s history with StratComm, SAC, and Offutt Air Force Base. All of the planes that are here, used to be sitting on a tarmac in Bellevue. Some individuals from the Omaha area decided to create this facility, to house these planes. I feel very strongly that it’s here, 3-and-a-half miles from the house I grew up in. It’s important for me to be back here.”

“A lot of the airplanes some have special ties to Nebraska,” Anderson said. “We also have a B-36, which led to the B-52, and we have a B-17. All sorts of cool aircraft that helped us win the Cold War. That’s what this museum was built upon. We want to continue building on that, and we want to look to the future and carry that thread of deterrence into outer space. It’s my goal here, in the next 25 years, to take us into outer space.”

“Right now our goal is to have visual and new,” Anderson said. “I want you to look around and see things and say whoa, that’s new! That wasn’t here before. And I want you to be entertained, educated and inspired. We want to show kids they are just like me. I grew up in Ashland, Nebraska. I dreamed of doing great things as an astronaut, but you have to show the kids what’s possible. I want all of the kids in Nebraska and the midwest to believe the same thing I did.”