Apollo Program

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Mon, August 10 2015

#RebootTheSuit: Your Apollo 11 Stories

One of my earliest memories is of watching the Moon landing on TV with my dad. I was barely four years old, so the whole thing really kind of went over my head. I do remember being upset that "Mr. Dressup" had been pre-empted. Also, I was fascinated by the fact that my dad was practically climbing into the TV, he was so excited! (He was a science teacher—genes that skipped me, sadly!) I learned that day, if people could walk on the Moon, anything was possible.

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Celebrating the Moon Landing
Fri, August 7 2015

How do you put on an Apollo spacesuit?

First, let’s talk about terminology. When we talk about putting on or taking off a spacesuit, we frequently use the terms “donning and doffing.”

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Armstrong's Pre-Flight Spacesuit
Wed, July 29 2015

Houston We Don’t Have a Problem: #RebootTheSuit is Funded, Now What?

The Smithsonian’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit was fully backed in just five days!

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Examining Armstrong's Apollo 11 Boots
Sat, July 25 2015

A Triage Treatment for Apollo Biomedical Sensors

Much like medical triage, conservation triage analyzes the risk posed to an object and the hazards associated with not taking immediate action. Triage conservators ask questions such as: Can the object be handled safely by staff and researchers? Will the degradation of the object continue if it is not treated immediately? What treatment can we do, with the resources at hand, to keep this object stable as long as possible?

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Applying Acrylic Resin
Mon, July 20 2015

Reboot the Suit: Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit and Kickstarter

Today is a rather big day for the Museum. Not only are we celebrating the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, but we are also celebrating the launch of something quite new.

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Detail of Armstrong's Suit
Tue, May 12 2015

Did the Brooklyn Dodgers help get us to the Moon?

In his memoir Moon Lander, Grumman project manager Thomas Kelly describes the exhilaration at Grumman for winning the contract to build what became the Lunar Module (LM), followed by trepidation when the design team realized the severe weight restraints they had to work under in order to get two astronauts safely to the lunar surface and back to lunar orbit. At the outset, Grumman and NASA worked with an initial estimate of 30,200 pounds, which was within the limits of the Saturn V’s booster capability; but this began to grow ominously as the work progressed. 

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Armstrong in LM Simulator
Fri, February 6 2015

The Armstrong Purse: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Artifacts

At the National Air and Space Museum, as elsewhere around the world, we were enormously saddened when we learned that Neil Alden Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, had died of complications associated with heart surgery in August 2012. Not long afterwards his family contacted the Museum about artifacts he left in his home office in Ohio. In November, Museum curators Margaret Weitekamp (social and cultural history of space exploration), Alex Spencer (personal aeronautical equipment), and I (as Apollo curator) traveled to Cincinnati and were warmly greeted by his widow, Carol.

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Temporary Stowage Bag
Tue, January 20 2015

Opening the Best Package Ever!

It was particularly timely that during the hustle and bustle of the 2014 holidays, I, along with curators Jennifer Levasseur and Cathleen Lewis, had a very special package to open for the very first time.

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Staff Examine OPS Cover
Thu, January 8 2015

Hands and Gloves in Space

There is a common saying that the hands are where the mind meets the world. In space there is no direct contact between the mind and the world. This transaction is mediated by the artificial structures called gloves.

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Armstrong's Glove Dip Forms
Wed, November 19 2014

Seeing Apollo 12

On November 19, 1969, 45 years ago and three short months after the landing of Apollo 11, Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean landed their lunar module “Intrepid” on the Ocean of Storms, just walking distance from the Surveyor III spacecraft. Their near pinpoint landing showed that Moon landings could continue, and with such accuracy that specific objects could be targeted for research. 

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Charles Conrad Jr. examines Surveyor III (3)