This is a block of Sitka spruce, the type of wood used in the nose fairing and nose cap of the U.S. Navy's Poseidon C-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile, deployed from 1971 into the early 1990s. Nose fairings and nose caps were made of nine plies of Sitka spruce wood bonded together. During the missile's launch, the nose fairing and nose cap protected the reentry vehicle and its nuclear warheads from air friction temperatures approaching 1000 degrees. Explosive devices blew the nose fairing and nose cap off shortly after the missile entered space. Lockheed Missiles & Space Company donated this object to NASM.
Gift of Lockheed Missiles & Space Company