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Behind the Scenes

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Tue, November 26 2019

Conducting Planetary Research Here on Earth

Planetary scientist Emily Martin takes you behind the scenes of a recent field work trip to Iceland. 

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Mon, November 4 2019

Farewell to the Zeiss Planetarium Projector

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

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Mon, September 30 2019

The Power of Black and White Photography: Learning to See in Shades of Grey

A museum staff photographer reflects on photographing in black and white and learning to see in shades of grey.

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Fri, September 6 2019

The Many Lives of Buster the Air Racer

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.

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The Many Lives of Buster the Air Racer

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Thu, August 15 2019

Preserving Flak-Bait's Fabric Panels

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.

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Preserving Flak-Bait's Fabric Panels

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Thu, August 8 2019

AirSpace Season 2|Ep.11
What's He Building?

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.  

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AirSpace Season 2|Ep.11
What's He Building?

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Tue, July 16 2019

Conserving a Wearable Legacy

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.

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Fri, May 31 2019

Preserving Flak-Bait: Saving Doped Fabric

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.

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Preserving Flak-Bait: Saving Doped Fabric

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Wed, March 27 2019

Going Subsonic: Moving the T-38 Talon

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.

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Thu, February 7 2019

Virgin Galactic Rocket Motor Joins Air and Space Collection

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.

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