Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Museum Dedicated to Hawai‘i’s First Astronaut Shuts Down This Month

You have until March 31 to visit the museum.


Thirty years after the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center will close at the end of this month to make way for airport renovations.


The center welcomes more than 20,000 visitors annually—8,000 of them students—according to museum curator Nancy Tashima. 


For 24 years, the center focused on science education and history through interactive displays that include a space suit and a moon rock.


The center now resides in a tall white building near the flagpoles at Kona International Airport but a $70 million renovation project by the state Department of Transportation is taking over that space.


Onizuka is fondly remembered as a local hero: the first astronaut from Hawai‘i, the first Asian-American astronaut, an aerospace engineer from Holualoa.


Brother Claude Onizuka says the alternate location offered by the state was too big for the not-for-profit center to run. “The overall expense would have been too high,” he says.


Visitors will be able to take a last look until March 31 when the center closes to the public. Tashima says it will take another month to pack up: “We workers will be in here, packing, sorting and crying.”


Onizuka Space Center, Kona International Airport, 808-329-3441




Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine November 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags



41 Thoughts We Had While Watching the New “Magnum P.I.”

Magnum PI

Only one mentions Jay Hernandez's shirt.


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

20 Great Hikes

20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls, steep climbs and relics of the past.


16 Fascinating Facts About Sharks in Hawai‘i Every Local Should Know


Important facts you may not know about sharks in Hawai‘i.


50 Greatest Songs of Hawai‘i

50 Greatest Songs

An esteemed panel of musicologists, producers and artists select the greatest hits in Hawai‘i’s music history.


Political Survivor

Mazie Hirono

A Closer Look at Hawaiʻi’s First Female Senator, Mazie Hirono.

Edit ModuleShow Tags