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  National Air and Space Museum: Hidden gems?

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Author Topic:   National Air and Space Museum: Hidden gems?
drscoop
Member

Posts: 20
From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-24-2012 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like I'll be fortunate enough to be able to pay a return visit to the two National Air and Space Museum sites during a business trip from the UK to DC in Spring next year.

Last time around, I did all the big exhibits but this time I hope to see some of the smaller stuff I missed last time. I wondered if anyone had any suggestions of things to look out for? What I'm really looking for are all the really geeky artefacts the general public simply overlook or walk by, without realising their significance.

The list so far includes:

  • The Sputnik arming key
  • The Surveyor camera returned by the Apollo 12 crew
  • The original piece of the Wright Flyer taken to the moon on Apollo 11
I'd welcome any suggestions (and locations) of similar bits of history I might accidentally miss otherwise. Thanks in advance...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-24-2012 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few artifacts come to mind:
  • "Anita," the companion Cross spider to "Arabella" who lived aboard Skylab, is on display at Udvar-Hazy Center

  • The Billy Pugh rescue net used to hoist the Apollo 8 crew from the ocean after their splashdown is on display in "Apollo to the Moon" (look up) in the National Mall building.

  • Dennis Tito's Sokol suit is on display in the "Moving Beyond Earth" gallery in the National Mall building. (I may be partial to this item, because I had the opportunity to deliver it to the museum when it was donated.)
The "Apollo to the Moon" gallery is set to close at some point to be renovated and expanded, to reopen in 2017. I do not know when the museum plans to close the hall.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 11-25-2012 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spent two days several years ago in the National Air and Space Museum.

Some of my favorites were Jack Schmitt's lunar overshoes, the Skylab 4 CM, Apollo 11 hatch, items carried on the Apollo 11 mission (fecal bag, razor, sunglasses, etc.), the capsule that carried Able and Baker, Apollo 11 lunar sample return container, the Gemini 6 harmonica and bells used by Schirra and Stafford, Mishin's diary, etc, etc. There is so much to see!

alanh_7
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Posts: 889
From: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-25-2012 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was there in June. One of my favourite items is Gene Kranz famed white vest with the mission patch he wore for the Apollo 13 mission.

drscoop
Member

Posts: 20
From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-25-2012 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, everyone, this is really great and just the sort of stuff I was after. I have a particular interest in Apollo 8 and 13, so will keep an eye out for the rescue basket. I didn't realise Kranz's white vest was on display; I assume this is also in the Apollo to the Moon gallery? Hopefully, this will still be open on my visit; I'd hope it'd not take from 2013 to 2017 to renovate!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2012 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Renovate" was a poor word choice on my part; closer would be "completely replaced." The new gallery will span the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.

Among other artifacts, Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 will be returning to the National Air and Space Museum to go on permanent display as part of the "new Apollo gallery for a new generation."

Cliff Lentz
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Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 11-27-2012 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was talking to a representative of ILC on one Space Day event who told me that the renovation is more of a necessity. His information was that the integrity of the the moonwalk suits (both Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 suits) has been compromised. The further preservation of the artifacts may have been threatened by humidity issues. I know that Armstrong's suit had been removed some time ago for preservation reasons.

It will good to see Freedom 7 back at the National Air and Space Museum and I look forward to the new exhibit. They always do a terrific job, e.g. the new Amelia Earhart exhibit!

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-27-2012 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...but until then, a visit to the JFK Library in Boston is in order, before it returns to the NASM. Per the photos posted elsewhere on this forum, the spacecraft is displayed nicely in the context of Kennedy's presidency and the space race.

Rick Mulheirn
Member

Posts: 2458
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 11-27-2012 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have it on good authority that toilets backed on to the Armstrong and Aldrin suit displays and over the years leaks from these facilities reacted with the dust used to simulate the regolith in the display to hasten the deterioration of the suits; the pressure lining on Armstrong's suit is in particularly bad shape.

Richard Easton
Member

Posts: 119
From: Winnetka, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 12-01-2012 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Near the Sputnik key is the TV-3 satellite which may be of interest. Some pictures of it are here.

Lou Chinal
Member

Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 12-05-2012 05:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Be sure to visit the third floor of NASM (not open to the public). Reservations are required for the library but it's worth it.

drscoop
Member

Posts: 20
From: Macclesfield, UK
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 12-05-2012 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm certainly considering this, but I understood from the staff there that many of the models, etc. had been removed from the third floor and it was mostly offices. Have you been recently, and if so, what still remains up there?

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