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
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.
After 32 years, the gallery will close on December 3 as the Museum embarks on a years-long project to revitalize our infrastructure and transform our exhibitions. What better time to take a look back at the early days of the exhibit and how it came together?
The National Air and Space Museum collection is full of objects that tell the history of air and space exploration. Supervising photographer Jim Preston reflects on one of his favorite objects to photograph—Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit.
The National Air and Space Museum is full of ideas that defy. Ideas that defy any obstacle, ideas that defy our expectations, ideas that literally defy gravity. Follow us as we discover the remarkable, the audacious, the outrageous, the #IdeasThatDefy.
It’s the ship that would boldly go on to make history—the Star Trek starship Enterprise studio model, used in the filming of the iconic television show, which premiered on NBC in September of 1966. Take a closer look at the makings of the starship Enterprise.
It’s become one of the most well-known appendages in pop culture history—Spock’s pointed ears, signaling him as half-Vulcan, and now synonymous with the beloved sci-fi series. The Museum’s conservation team recently treated a replica ear in our collection.
Space Shuttle Enterprise, the first space shuttle orbiter ever built, was once displayed where Discovery is today. Despite both being part of the Space Shuttle program, the two served very different purposes and tell very different stories.
At Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico on December 10, 1954, the Sonic Wind No. 1 rocket sled let loose 40,000 pounds of thrust and propelled United States Air Force flight surgeon Col. John Stapp more than 3,000 feet in a few seconds. The benefits of Stapp’s research are evident every time a driver pulls on a seatbelt or a jet pilot safely ejects from a damaged aircraft.