NASA@50: Fifty years of space collectibles

CollectSpace:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA as it is more commonly referred to today, began operations 50 years ago on Oct. 1, 1958. Charged with leading the nation's civilian research into air travel and space exploration, it was the latter that caught the public's imagination, which in turn led to a wide desire for commemorative and actual pieces of NASA's exploits in outer space.

In honor of NASA's anniversary, collectSPACE offers the following colorful tour through the agency's first 50 years as guided by the space collectibles it inspired. Each item pictured is contemporary to the milestone it was selected to portray.