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Behind the Scenes

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Thu, October 6 2016

Insights from a Planetary Spacesuit Designer

Pablo de León has been in the space business for nearly 20 years, working as a space project manager and spacesuit designer. De León spoke with visitors at the Museum in Washington, DC during our 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month: Innovators in Aviation and Space Heritage Family Day as part of the Smithsonian Latino Center’s ¡Descubra! Meet the Science Expert series.

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Mon, October 3 2016

Life as a Female Fighter Pilot

Throughout her military career, Lt. Col. Christine Mau has helped prove that women can perform, outstandingly, in some of the toughest positions in the United States Air Force. And, as a fighter pilot, she has done so with only a small community of female military pilots.  

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Wed, September 28 2016

The Incredible, Still Shrinking Mercury

Being a member of a science team of a planetary mission is like being a starter on a major league baseball team—you’re in the game. That’s how I felt as a member of the MESSENGER mission to Mercury. During the final months of MESSENGER’s time in orbit, before the fuel on the spacecraft was expended and crashed on Mercury’s surface, a decision had to be made—keep the spacecraft in its nominal mapping orbit as long as possible or let the spacecraft altitude drift lower to get as close to the planet as possible.

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Tue, September 27 2016

Preparing to Restore the “Concrete Plane”

The Museum is proud to have the Ilyushin Il-2 in its collections, as one of the few large artifacts in the Museum's possession associated with the Soviet Air Force in World War II. Once on exhibition, the plane will close a large void in the Museum’s presentation. But before the Shturmovik can enter the workshop, we have to learn as much as possible about the aircraft and its history.

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Fri, September 23 2016

Creating the Klingon Language

STEM in 30 host Beth Wilson talks with the creator of the Klingon language, Marc Okrand, on how to create an alien language. ...

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Tue, September 20 2016

Interview with Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins

At the Museum we’re fortunate to host many of the nation’s aerospace icons. This was certainly the case earlier this year when Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was on hand for our 2016 John H. Glenn Lecture, Spaceflight: Then, Now, Next.

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Wed, September 14 2016

Ask A Curator Day 2016 - Questions and Answers

Ever wondered how we move objects, what's not on display that we'd like to exhibit, or what rocks from the Moon feel like? #AskACurator Day on Twitter is your chance to get those burning questions answered about aviation, spaceflight, planetary science and more. Here is a selection of questions and answers that we will update throughout the day on September 14, 2016.

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Ask A Curator Day 2016 - Questions and Answers

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Tue, September 13 2016

Getting a Head Start on #AskACurator Day

Tomorrow is Ask a Curator Day. From 8:00 am to 4:00 pm take to Twitter and ask us your most burning questions—include @airandspace and #AskACurator in your tweet. We’ll have curators, researchers, archivists, and museum specialists ready to answer your questions. What’s our favorite object? How do we move airplanes? What are we researching? We have answers.

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Mon, September 12 2016

Are You an Air Racing Fan?

This week the 53rdNational Championship Air Races will be taking place just outside Reno, Nevada. Besides the racers and teams that have made the event the world’s fastest motorsport, fans and spectators are an important part of the culture of air racing and we’ve been researching their place in that exciting history. If you’re a Reno air racing fan, we’re asking you to donate your most-loved t-shirt, jacket, hat, or buttons related to the races to our collection.  

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Wed, September 7 2016

Explore the Museum in Klingon

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is one of the galaxy’s most popular tourist destinations, and celebrates infinite diversity in infinite combinations among its visitors. Although we are fairly certain there are no longer undercover Klingon agents on staff, we welcome citizens of the planet Kronos to explore the history of flight on Earth alongside our terrestrial visitors. To help increase Klingon visitorship, we turned to Earth’s premier extraterrestrial linguist and former Smithsonian post-doctoral fellow, Marc Okrand. Okrand developed the Klingon and Vulcan languages for the Star Trek franchise, and was kind enough to translate and record a highlights tour in the Museum’s new app GO FLIGHT.

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Explore the Museum in Klingon

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