James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center can explore hundreds of space artifacts in this expansive exhibition space, from a 69-foot floor-to-ceiling Redstone missile to tiny "Anita," a spider carried on Skylab for web formation experiments.
The hangar and its holdings illustrate the scope of space exploration history as organized around four main themes: rocketry and missiles; human spaceflight; application satellites and space science.
"The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has always been known as the home of the icons of flight. The James S. McDonnell
Space Hangar at the Udvar-Hazy Center gives us the chance to share much more of our vast collection as we present the story of space
exploration in richer detail."
- Museum Director Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey
A total of 152 large space artifacts are housed in the hangar. The biggest and heaviest, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, an instrument ring segment of a Saturn V rocket that was never built and a Space Shuttle main engine, are displayed at ground level. An array of cruise missiles, satellites and space telescopes hangs from above.
The hangar features three elevated overlooks that allow visitors to study suspended artifacts straight-on and ground-level displays from above.
Hundreds of smaller artifacts are exhibited in cases throughout the hangar including advanced spacesuit prototypes; research crystals formed in orbit; sounding rocket payloads; space-themed toys from the 1950s and 1960s; and even borscht in tubes, prepared for Soviet cosmonauts.
Space artifacts from other nations have been donated by individuals and governments or are displayed on loan.
Artifacts now exhibited in the McDonnell Space
- the manned maneuvering unit used for the first-ever untethered spacewalk
- a film return capsule from the last Corona satellite spy mission over the U.S.S.R.
- the flotation collar and bags used for the Apollo 11 splashdown
- a Gemini paraglider research vehicle used to train for potential ground landings
- Pegasus, the first aircraft-launched rocket booster to carry satellites into space
- a form-fitting centrifuge seat made exclusively for Mercury astronaut John Glenn
- a full-scale engineering prototype of the Mars Pathfinder Lander
- a human-sized, NASA-built android used for 1960s spacesuit testing
- the Spartan 201 satellite, deployed for solar research during five shuttle missions
The McDonnell Space Hangar is named for aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell, whose company built a number of pioneering aircraft and both the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, flown by the first American astronauts.
See a live view inside the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar:
James S. McDonnell Space Hangar - Live Web Camera