Air and Space Photos

Mon, May 20 2019

A Year of Anniversaries for Record-Setter Bill Odom and the Beechcraft 35 Bonanza

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of two long-distance light plane records by William P. Odom. Those records were set in the Museum’s Beechcraft 35 Bonanza, which is displayed at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. In addition, it is also the 100th anniversary of William Paul Odom’s birth, on October 21, 1919, in Porum, Oklahoma.

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A Year of Anniversaries for Record-Setter Bill Odom and the Beechcraft 35 Bonanza

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Fri, April 26 2019

A High-Flying Spy Plane

Until recently, a Lockheed U-2, one of the most successful intelligence-gathering aircraft every produced, was on display in the Museum's Looking at Earth gallery. The U-2 was designed by a team led by Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson at the famous Lockheed 'Skunk Works" in Palmdale, California. The jet played a crucial role during the tense years of the Cold War.

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Fri, April 5 2019

A Guiding Light: The Airway Beacon Tower

The first pioneering pilots flew the airways during the day without purpose-designed maps. This presented a problem for the U.S. Post Office: Without flying at night, airmail was slower than by railroad and the higher cost of air transport had no value.

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Mon, February 25 2019

Inside the Cockpit of Amelia Earhart's Vega

Introduced in 1927, the Vega was the first product of designer Jack Northrop and Allan Loughead's Lockheed Aircraft Company. Sturdy, roomy, streamlined and fast, the innovative Vega became favored by pilots seeking to set speed and distance records. 

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Fri, October 19 2018

Photographing Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

The National Air and Space Museum collection is full of objects that tell the history of air and space exploration. Supervising photographer Jim Preston reflects on one of his favorite objects to photograph—Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit.

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Mon, August 20 2018

The Technological Breakthroughs of the Viking Lander

The Viking 1 lander, which launched on a 10-month journey to Mars in August of 1975, paved the way for the future of scientific inquiry in space. Here's a closer look at how the lander worked. 

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Wed, June 13 2018

The 12,000 Hours That Made the USS Enterprise Model

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has the world’s premier collection of aviation and space artifacts. Less well-known is that the museum also has an outstanding collection of aerospace models.

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The 12,000 Hours That Made the USS Enterprise Model

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Sat, May 26 2018

Looking Closer at Sally Ride’s Flight Jacket

How the patches on Sally Ride’s flight jacket help tell her groundbreaking story of spaceflight.

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Tue, April 24 2018

2001: A Space Odyssey in Orbit

When my STS-98 crew launched into orbit on February 7, 2001—the first human space launch of the millennium—I marked the milestone by carrying with me two personal mementos of the landmark Stanly Kubrick science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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2001: A Space Odyssey in Orbit

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Tue, March 27 2018

The Aerobatics of the Extra 260

Have you ever seen an airplane perform an inverted ribbon cut? You can “see” it at the Museum in DC (and online) in the form of Patty Wagstaff’s Extra 260 aircraft.

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The Aerobatics of the Extra 260

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