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  NASM's Udvar-Hazy: Enola Gay, MQF [Photos]

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Author Topic:   NASM's Udvar-Hazy: Enola Gay, MQF [Photos]
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-18-2003 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum invited the press today to the under-construction Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (located near Dulles Airport) to unveil the reassembled B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay".

"Because of the work of some very talented men and women, future generations will sense first-hand the unalterable significance of this aircraft in World War II and human history. Let's learn from it," said museum director Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey in prepared remarks.

While there, I met with the Space History Division's Roger Launius who was kind to give me a tour of some of the space artifacts awaiting the completion of the McDonnell Space Hall.

This Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) is one of four built by NASA for astronauts returning from the moon. The purpose of the facility was to isolate the astronauts from contact with other people in order to prevent the unlikely spread of any lunar-based contagions.

The MQF was an Airstream trailer consisting of living and sleeping quarters, a kitchen, and a latrine.

This particular MQF (serial number 3) was used by the crew of Apollo 11 after their return to Earth. It was home to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins for the first 65 hours after splashdown.

Though still under wraps, you can see inside this Spacelab. Elements of this research facility were used in more than 40 flights, and of these, 16 were designated Spacelab missions. Spacelab will be displayed beside the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Under a tarp marked "Area 51 - Keep Out!" we had a "Close Encounter" with this scale model spaceship. I could tell you more but the side effects would be damaging (you'd begin building mountains out of your mashed potatoes, it wouldn't be pretty...)

Rodina
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posted 08-18-2003 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I saw this Close Encounters model when it was holed up in the Garber Facility. The tour guide said that when they first got it -- and noticed the huge jumble of wire inside of it -- they tried to turn it on but decided better of it as it began to smoke.

jutrased
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Posts: 44
From: North Smithfield, RI USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-20-2003 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jutrased   Click Here to Email jutrased     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's going to be great to see it fully assembled. I was fortunate to see it at the Garber Facility on several occasions. The most memorable was in July 92. They were testing several different materials to be used to coat the plane to prevent any deterioration. We actually got to rub our hands on the various test areas on the front fuselage to see which coating would be best. We also got to stick our head up into the bomb bay.

Ed

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