2019 was a big year at the National Air and Space Museum, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and worked hard on our ongoing renovation. We shared stories about these projects and more on the blog this year. Let’s dive into five of the most popular stories of 2019.
Since its opening, and until recent years, our Zeiss Model VIa optical planetarium projector has brought the wonder of the night sky to countless visitors. The Zeiss Company no longer services the over 40 year-old model, and though its stars are as sharp as ever, and its skies deep in their dramatic blackness, its celestial motors have become weary, so it has been retired in favor of an ever-improving digital projection system that offers many advantages to meet modern programming needs. The Albert Einstein Planetarium theater itself is also closing as our multi-year renovation progresses through the Museum, but it will eventually reopen as a fully digital experience. Now that we are saying good-bye to its original projector, the Zeiss Model VIa, the question is, of course, how did it get here
Since the earliest days of flight, air racing has been an exciting motorsports activity. We have in our collection many of the aircraft that made history by winning races and setting records, like Steve Wittman’s Special 20 Buster, which lived two lives in air racing and proved to be an inspiration for an entire class of air racers.
To the best of our knowledge, Flak-Bait is the only World War II bomber of its kind to retain the original insulating fabric panels lining the interior of the forward fuselage. To preserve the original fabric, we performed a number of innovative conservation treatments.
Today we’re talking about a really cool project that brought together one former-Mythbuster, a couple of Smithsonian units, and makers across the country to reimagine an incredible piece of Apollo engineering.
Before returning Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit to display in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, it underwent extensive conservation and a state-of-the-art display case and mannequin was designed to protect it while on display.
The Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait, an iconic artifact of World War II is undergoing artifact treatment in the Museum’s Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. In this first in a series of blogs about the conservation of the aircraft, we explore the preservation of the doped fabric on the rudder.
Pioneering female pilot Jackie Cochran set eight world speed, altitude, and distance records in our Northrop T-38 Talon. In this blog, we talk to a member of our collections team about the process of moving the aircraft's fuselage from Maryland to Virginia in December 2018.
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.