What is a hybrid rocket motor? What advantages does it have over conventional liquid and solid propellant rocket motors? These questions point to an exciting breakthrough that occurred on December 13, 2018, when Virgin Galactic successfully launched VSS Unity on its first suborbital flight.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has begun the first major phase of the renovation of the building on the National Mall with the closure of nine galleries. Lane and sidewalk closures around the building on Jefferson Drive and Seventh Street began in early January and will remain in place for the next three years.
As we prepare to ring in a new year, let’s revisit some of our favorite stories of 2018: stories that let you look closer at our collections, dive into the history of women in space and aviation, and explore our Museum in DC from your own home.
In 1917, the United States Army Air Service established an aviation engineering section at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. In 1927, the Engineering Division, as it was then known, moved to nearby Wilbur Wright Field and there remained as the Air Force Material Division (AFMD) and Air Material Command (AMC). Throughout the years, those stationed at Wright Field celebrated the holidays.
As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the pioneering Apollo 8 mission, many commentators and news stories will assert that NASA sent Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders to the Moon to beat the Soviet Union. In fact, the Soviets were planning to send two cosmonauts to loop around the Moon, but that statement of the agency’s intent is, at best, half true.
As the Museum kicks off its massive project to reimagine Air and Space, many of the objects in our collection will be moved from their current location on the National Mall. The first objects on that list were also some of the most iconic in our collection: Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 and Gene Cernan’s Apollo 17 spacesuits.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has received a $2 million gift from Boeing to sponsor the national Apollo 50th anniversary celebration. Programming began this fall and will span through the anniversary of the first moon landing July 20, with celebrations at the museum and on the National Mall. Boeing’s sponsorship will include support of the “Spirit of Apollo” event commemorating Apollo 8 at the National Cathedral, Dec. 11, the five-day celebration to commemorate Apollo 11, July 16—20, 2019, and a myriad of education and community engagement activities from now through the end of 2019.