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  Udvar-Hazy: Neil Armstrong's gloves and visor

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Author Topic:   Udvar-Hazy: Neil Armstrong's gloves and visor
Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-06-2012 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Neil Armstrong's gloves and visor on rare display at Smithsonian

The gloves and visor that the late Neil Armstrong wore during his historic moonwalk are now on display for the first time in more than a decade.

On Tuesday (Sept. 4), the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum retrieved Armstrong's spacesuit artifacts from its preservation facility and placed them on exhibit at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia. The visor and gloves will be on display for two weeks while the country continues to mourn the Aug. 25 death of the first man to step foot on the moon.

"With the unfortunate, untimely death of Neil Armstrong, we thought we had to do something and there really is no benefit in preserving something if the public cannot see it forever," explained Cathleen Lewis, spacesuits curator at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

"We considered what we could do and the EV gloves and the EV visor were the most capable of being taken out of storage and put on display for a brief period of time with the minimal amount of damage," she told collectSPACE.

Rick Mulheirn
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From: England
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posted 09-06-2012 03:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome items that unfortunately serve as a reminder that Neil is no longer with us.

As for the repairs to the gauntlet on the glove, if they had been carried out in flight I would imagine Buzz could shed some light on the mystery.

crash
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From: West Sussex, England
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posted 09-06-2012 06:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pity it's only two weeks. I will miss the opportunity to see them by a week or so. Well worth the hassle of getting there. Hopefully they may go on a mini tour down to KSCVC.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 09-06-2012 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, due to preservation concerns, it does not sound like Armstrong's suit and its components will be traveling any longer. According to curator Cathy Lewis, they do hope to put the suit, gloves and helmet back on display in 2017 when the National Air and Space Museum opens its renovation to the Apollo To The Moon gallery.

crash
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From: West Sussex, England
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posted 09-06-2012 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a pity but 2017 is not so long to wait.

Tykeanaut
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posted 09-06-2012 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it is a pity they are not on display for a while longer.

drscoop
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From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-24-2012 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonder if anyone can clarify something for me...

Visiting the Smithsonian in 2005, in the Apollo gallery, both Armstrong and Aldrin's suits were on display, both with a legend saying these were the original suits worn on the moon. This was backed up by the guidebook at the time, and the National Air and Space Museum website.

However, the Smithsonian now say the very same suits were removed from display for preservation in 2001...

Something's obviously not right here. Does anyone happen to know which specific suits were on display on the Mall in Fall 2005 and whether these were indeed the originals?

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 11-24-2012 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I visited Smithsonian in 1995, and again in 2002.

Both suits were on display on both occassions but the displays and placement of the suits had changed.

I think it a reasonable supposition that the suits had been removed for preservation in 2001 and this accounted for the difference in the appearance of the displays.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-24-2012 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Buzz Aldrin's Apollo 11 spacesuit has remained on display in "Apollo to the Moon," while Armstrong's was placed into storage for preservation.

The "Apollo to the Moon" gallery also displays Gene Cernan's Apollo 17 spacesuit.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-24-2012 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Mulheirn:
...this accounted for the difference in the appearance of the displays.
On further review, this 2005 article clarifies:
The Buzz Aldrin suit was removed one week later [March 2005]. After restoration, estimated to take a couple of weeks, Young will place the suit on a new mannequin, and then back in Apollo to the Moon.

One aspect of the display will be changed, however. "The helmet and gloves will be placed on stands next to the suits," Young explained. "This will allow more air to circulate through the suits, which will be better for them in the long term."

The Armstrong and Cernan suits are next on Young's list.

While Cernan's spacesuit was returned to display, the decision was made to keep Armstrong's suit in storage from that point forward...

drscoop
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From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-27-2012 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is all very intriguing...

The 2005 article clarifies a few things, but I still have some unanswered questions around the timings etc. of the removal of Armstrong's suit.

So, according to my images and their timestamps I visited the National Air and Space Museum on the 2nd September 2005, in the morning.

Columbia was devoid of a spacesuit, so this was after Mike Collin's suit had been removed and I do not have any images of Aldrin's suit, which I thought was there, but I wonder if it was still away for renovation. This would be much longer after the May removal than the anticipated "couple of weeks" but I'm sure I'd have grabbed a photo if it were there.

The display had also been changed from that in the guidebook (dated 2002) where both suits were present, as the flag was now behind the suit(s) and so did not reflect in the helmet visors any longer. However, the suit was still complete with gloves and helmet, rather than these being on adjacent stands as mentioned in the article regarding the return of Aldrin's suit.

Photos of the suit from my 2005 trip are here and here for reference, if it's helpful. (Excuse the quality; remember this was a 2005 point and shoot!) On close examination, this suit appears authentic, as even the patterns of discoloration/wear on the utility pocket of the upper left leg match with the museum's stock image
here. Even the small tufts of frayed thread just above the RH gauntlet match those in the stock image (around what I understand is the cover for the suit pressure guage?).

The legend in the case stated the suit was the original flight article, but this is somewhat at odds with the accounts here and elsewhere on the web, as the suit should have been long gone by then. I'm postulating whether the restoration of Aldrin's suit took longer than anticipated and I happened to pass through in the period between Aldrin's suit being returned and Armstrong's suit being removed.

Can anyone offer any clarification or conformation of my hypothesis?

golddog
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From: australia
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posted 11-27-2012 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I visited the National Air and Space Museum in November, 2005. I took photos of the suit on display, and when I enlarged them on the computer the name plate stated Armstrong. I have checked my photos against yours, and it is the same suit, discolorations and fraying.

At the time, I thought it looked pretty authentic, but I am not an expert. I hope it was, as I would like to think I've seen the real thing.

drscoop
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From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-05-2012 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, straight from the NASM, I have a clarification on on the timing of the removal of the Apollo 11 suits. As Amanda Young, curator of suits at the time, retired in 2009, I contacted Cathleen Lewis, the present curator, who was incredibly helpful. Cathleen notes:
Michael Collins's A7L Apollo 11 suit was removed from inside the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia... That move took place in March 2005. About the same time, we removed Buzz Aldrin's spacesuit from display in the Apollo to the Moon gallery (gallery 210) for conservation work. It returned on display in that gallery in January 2006.
I then asked "when the Armstrong suit was removed from display? Am I correct in thinking this was not removed until Jan '06, upon return of the Aldrin suit?" to which Cathleen informed me:
Yes, that is correct. The Neil Armstrong suit stayed on display until January 2006 when Buzz Aldrin’s suit was returned from conservation work.
Hope that clears everything up... rest assured, Golddog, the suit you saw was the genuine flight article.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-12-2014 10:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the 2012 article that began this topic, there is mention of "small gray marks" on the wrist of Armstrong's right glove.
"That is one of those mysteries that I hope one day to be able to solve," [Cathleen Lewis, spacesuits curator at the National Air and Space Museum] shared, referring to small gray marks on the wrist of the gauntlet. "We know that the astronauts had a repair kit in the lunar module to repair punctures on the cover layer [of the spacesuit]. What we don't know is whether those repairs were made prior to the flight, during the flight or sometime after the flight when the suit was in NASA's possession."

"I have not been able to find any record of it," Lewis said, "and unfortunately, it is too late to ask Mr. Armstrong."

The Smithsonian Channel's "Planes, Cranes and Rockets" revisits this topic in "The Secret is in the Space Suit."
When Neil Armstrong's space gloves began to develop mysterious spots on the cuff, Smithsonian specialists took a closer look, and what they found was surprising.

dogcrew5369
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From: Statesville, NC
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 04-13-2014 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would loved to have seen this display a month ago. Too bad.

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