Deke Slayton Space and Bike Museum honors former astronaut

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(WKOW) —  One of the first men in space was born in Sparta, Wisconsin.

Deke Slayton was part of the Mercury Seven group, that’s the first seven American astronauts that were ever chosen for the program, and he was born and raised right here in Sparta.

After serving as a pilot in the military, Deke Slayton was chosen to be one of America’s first astronauts. Now a part of his history is memorialized in downtown Sparta.

The Deke Slayton Space and Bike Museum is a wonderful combination.

“We combine it all together into a progression of transportation, starting with bikes, going on to planes, and into space,” Alli Karrels, the executive director of the museum said.

It’s also home to some very unique items.

“We’ve got some great artifacts on loan from NASA, including Deke Slayton’s original space suit from 1959,” Karrels said.

“And the crown jewel, as it were, is our space moon rock. It is the only one in the whole state of Wisconsin.”

Being known as the Bicycling Capital of America with the first Rails to Trails Program in the country , the museum showcases the evolution of the bicycle.

“We have over 100 bikes on display, starting with some of our earliest ones from the mid-1800s, going on all the way to bikes produced today,” Karrels said.

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