Before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and before he flew on Gemini 8, he was a NASA test pilot. Noted for his engineering excellence and technical capability as a pilot, Armstrong became one of only 12 pilots to fly the ultimate experimental aircraft – the North American X-15.
Geraldyn “Jerrie” Cobb, who died in March 2019, will likely be remembered for her role campaigning for women to be considered as possible space travelers in the beginning of the space age, but the Museum’s upcoming exhibits will also showcase how important she was as an award-winning pilot who flew for years as a missionary in the Amazon.
In May 1919, the U.S. Navy sponsored three Curtiss flying boats—the NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4—each with a crew of six, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Lt. Commander Albert C. Read commanded the NC-4, the only aircraft to succeed in its mission. As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NC-4’s historic transatlantic flight, the materials in Read’s collection are available to transcribe in the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center.
Darryl G. Greenamyer passed away on October 1, 2018. He had a legendary career in aviation as a fighter pilot and test pilot, a championship air racer and record-breaker, and warbird owner and entrepreneur.
Cyrus K. Bettis was a leading US Army Air Service pilot in the 1920s that became the world’s fastest air racer in 1925. In July 2018, members of his family visited the Museum to donate artifacts and archival materials documenting his life near the airplane that he flew and the prizes that he won.
The international community has contributed more to the exploration of space and our understanding of the universe than you might think. From India to Israel, lots of countries are sending missions to Mars, landing on comets, and observing Earth from orbit.