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Forum:Space Places
Topic:Natl Air and Space Museum: Milestones of Flight
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dogcrew5369How much of the museum will close for these renovations?

Glad I just got back to the National Air and Space Museum to see it once more before they begin.

Maybe they will display the Apollo 11, Friendship 7 and Gemini 4 capsules like the Russian TMA module next to the Apollo-Soyuz display. The plexi-glass wrapping really makes it hard to get nice detailed photos. Looking forward to the renovation.

Robert PearlmanAs noted in the article:
As the "Milestones" gallery also serves as the entrance to the museum, it will remain open during its renovation, with only sections of it being closed off as work is undertaken to complete the redesign.
The museum has yet to share details, let alone formally announce renovations to the "Apollo to the Moon" gallery where Apollo 11's "Columbia" will be moving and "Freedom 7" will be going on display, but that may be more of an outright closure given the layout of the hall.

As for the capsule casings, I inquired with the museum and was told:

The plan is to protect the Gemini and Mercury capsules with glass or Plexiglas, but they will not be covered in a "skin" as they are now.

There will be some sort of case, completely protecting the capsules, with separate lighting, air filtering, and U/V protection. These plans are not finalized but the intention is to make them more visible than they are now.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Lunar Module 2 (LM-2), which is to be moved into the National Air and Space Museum's Milestones of Flight, is one of two existing lunar landers built for early Apollo missions.
Shouldn't that be one of two complete lunar landers (LM-2 and LM-9) since LM-13 wasn't finished (it's on display at Cradle of Aviation Museum.)

Or is there another LM in existence that this refers to? The boilerplate at Franklin Institute?

Robert PearlmanThe two count is via the museum, but I believe the keyword is "early" as in "early Apollo missions."

LM-2 was built for a second unmanned Earth-orbit test flight (D-mission) and LM-9 was built for the original Apollo 15, an H-mission.

According to the Cradle of Aviation, LM-13 was built for Apollo 18, a J-mission of the later Apollo flight-type.

Hart SastrowardoyoAh, OK. That's, in my opinion, a weird distinction. I would consider Apollos 9-12 'early,' 13 through 14 as middle, and 15 through 17 as later — the early missions having to do with proving the LM and landing it; 13 and 14 as the start of exploration (and LM-9 would be in this, had Apollo 15 used it) and the last three as extended stays.
Robert PearlmanFrom a hardware standpoint, the dividing line is Apollo 15 (as flown).

The J-missions flew the "extended LM," which included larger fuel and oxidizer tanks, an extension of the descent engine nozzle and rearranged stowage space.

LM-12I wonder if decades of sunlight and UV exposure has damaged any of the historic vehicles in the "Milestones of Flight" gallery. I think the Gemini 4 suits were removed years ago because of sunlight and UV damage.

The LM-2 and ASTP exhibits are also exposed to a lot of sunlight.

Never did understand why the NASM building was designed that way.

Robert Pearlman
Originally posted by LM-12:
I think the Gemini 4 suits were removed years ago because of sunlight and UV damage.
To quote Amanda Young, the museum's former spacesuit curator:
Many years they were on display downtown, coming out of the [Gemini spacecraft]. The light damage, which was so bad, that [they] were sent back to David Clark and David Clark took the cover layers off and made replacement cover layers.
The suits were removed from the capsule in 1986, the cover layers were replaced and then the suits were reinstalled on display until 2007/8, when they were taken off exhibit for preservation.
Never did understand why the NASM building was designed that way.
According to the building's architect, Gyo Obata, sunlight was a factor considered in the design of the museum:
The building faces north and south. On the south is Independence Avenue with heavy traffic and lots of sun, which we muted. We created a series of theaters with blocked out areas for aircraft displays. The Mall side faces north. There I used big areas of glass because I did not have to worry about the sun's intensity. At night, people can look into the building and see the airplanes.
LM-12The "so bad" sunlight damage to the Gemini 4 suits indicates to me that the architect may have underestimated the sun's intensity.

In the first video above, you can see a lot of sunlight is going into that north gallery.
Most of the those Milestone vehicles have been there for decades. In my opinion, the museum renovations should include getting rid of that glass roof.

APG85I believe the glass roof on the NASM has UV tinted glass.

A great deal of thought was put into its design. Planes like the Spirit of St. Louis that are suspended just below the glass had to have their fabric protected from the sun and the glass they picked was designed for this.

Spacesuits are another matter and need a whole different level of care and protection as they have learned over the years.

Astronaut Michael Collins was involved with some of the details as the initial director of the new museum. Incidentally, the glass panels were replaced/repaired/upgraded several years ago...

Robert Pearlman
Originally posted by APG85:
Incidentally, the glass panels were replaced/repaired/upgraded several years ago...
According to a New York Times article, that upgrade in 2000-01 did indeed replace the skylights, which were originally acrylic rather than glass.
Gyo Obata, the architect who designed the Air and Space Museum more than two decades ago, called for glass skylights in his original design, but opted for acrylic plastic, he said in an interview, because of "tremendous pressure" from the General Services Administration to keep the budget within the $40 million allocated by Congress.

...Besides installing a new glass skylight system, the renovation entails replacing virtually all of the building's windows with models that block damaging ultraviolet sunlight...

328KFAfter being in that museum so many times since they opened the doors in 1976, it will certainly be strange seeing this gallery revamped. I'm equally excited to see the new Apollo gallery and how they incorporate CM Columbia into that, although it might seem a shame to have it leave center stage.

The one change I don't get is the Star Trek Enterprise model. Why have a movie prop surrounded all of these famous air and spacecraft?

I understand the popularity of the show (in reruns at least...I watched it as a kid too) but it hardly had the wide-ranging cultural impact of, say, Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing. I think the Smithsonian could do well with a dedicated "space in movies" themed gallery somewhere, and they have the Close Encounters model on display at Udvar-Hazy to incorporate as well. The International Spy Museum has done a fine job with a recent James Bond exhibition.

But depending on how it is presented, and that remains to be seen, this may be a "swing and a miss" (baseball term) for NASM.

Robert Pearlman
Originally posted by 328KF:
Why have a movie prop surrounded all of these famous air and spacecraft?
Here is what the Smithsonian says about the choice to display the Enterprise:
Star Trek pushed the boundaries of network television with its depiction of a mixed-sex, racially-integrated, multinational crew and its attention to contemporary social and political issues. It will join other significant artifacts in this gallery to showcase the importance of popular culture's influence on society.
LM-12That is their reasoning?

Then the prop belongs in a "Milestones of Television" gallery and not the NASM "Milestones of Flight" gallery.

Robert Pearlman"Milestones of Flight" is being redefined for the new hall.
In reenvisioning and renovating its Milestones exhibition, the museum aims to deepen visitors' understanding of how aviation and spaceflight have transformed the world. Since humans learned to fly, transportation has gotten faster and distant places more accessible. Advances in planetary exploration have made the universe seem larger, altering humans' ideas about themselves and the world. When the museum opened nearly four decades ago, the word "milestone" was defined as "the first" in flight or space travel. Now, the word will describe an artifact having significant or widespread cultural, historic, scientific or technological impact.
With the Wright Flyer off in its own gallery and with Columbia eventually moving to the expanded "Apollo to the Moon" hall, it makes sense to broaden the scope of "Milestones."
alanh_7If they asked me... and they will not... I always thought Wily Post's Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae should always have been included in the Milestones of Flight gallery.

Post not only helped pioneer aerial navigation but also work on development of high attitude research and early pressure suits. The aircraft deserves to be right up there with other pioneering aircraft.

SkylonWhile I am going to hold judgement till I see the new displays, I always found Columbia resting, almost right underneath the Wright Flyer to be the perfect conveyance of the entire concept of "Monuments of Flight" — the first winged aircraft and the vehicle that achieved what is to date, the pinnacle of flight could be captured in the same frame of a photograph.
LM-12From what I understand, neither of those two historic vehicles will be in the renovated "Milestones of Flight" gallery. If that is the case, then I give their redefinition a thumbs down.
Robert PearlmanThe Wright Flyer hasn't been a part of the Milestones gallery since 2003, when it was given its own dedicated gallery.

Columbia will be moving out, but Apollo 11 will still be represented by LM-2, which will be redressed and displayed as LM-5 "Eagle."

LM-12I thought the "Milestones of Flight" gallery was all about the flown vehicles that made those milestones.
Robert PearlmanAs mentioned, the museum is redefining "Milestones" for this new hall.

But from its start, Milestones has not displayed only flown artifacts. The current hall has replicas of Robert Goddard's 1926 rocket, Sputnik and Pioneer 10, as well the backup for Explorer and the test article for Viking.

pupnikIt's probably not worth getting down into the semantics of it. Remember, the large open space hall is called "Space Race" yet contains Hubble, ASTP, a 1990 Soyuz, a V-1 Missile, a Tomahawk Cruise Missile, etc.
onesmallstepSaw Gemini 4 just the other day wrapped in protective plastic, It looked like a preview of things to come with the upcoming renovations. Hopefully the changes will come with some good camera angles to capture all the vehicles on display.
Robert PearlmanAccording to the museum on Twitter:
Transformation of the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall begins tomorrow! Stardust will move to "Exploring the Planets."

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