Behind the Scenes

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Tue, September 12 2017

Astronaut Shares How to Get to Space

Can you imagine your teacher being chosen to be a NASA astronaut? Students in Joe Acaba’s secondary math and science classes in Florida can. Acaba was one of 11 candidates selected for the 2004 astronaut class. The process to become an astronaut is one of the most competitive and highly selective processes in the world. Do you think you have what it takes?

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Selfie with Astronaut Joe Acaba
Tue, August 15 2017

Road Trip to Totality

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse is sweeping the nation. All of North America will be able to see at least a partial eclipse, but 14 states across the U.S. will have the unique opportunity to see a total solar eclipse, called the path of totality. There are approximately 12.5 million people living in the path of totality—an occurrence that happens only once where you live every 375 years! On the day of the eclipse, STEM in 30, a TV show we produce at the National Air and Space Museum for middle school students, will be broadcasting live from the path of totality in Liberty, Missouri, starting at 1:30 pm EST.

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Space Acorn
Tue, August 8 2017

Viewing A Solar Eclipse Safely through an Artist’s Eye

In this Van Dyke Brown photographic print from the from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum art collection, Jim Leisy (1950 – 2014) shows us one way to safely view a solar eclipse.  On first glance we see an unidentified person wandering aimlessly in a dreamy atmosphere with a box over their head. As the title Solar Eclipse suggests, the cosmic observer is actually catching a glimpse of the fleeting phenomenon with a pinhole projector.

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Solar Eclipse by Jim Leisy
Fri, August 4 2017

The Tomahawk and U.S. Cruise Missile Technology

For the past 30 years, the Tomahawk hung from the ceiling just a few dozen feet from the German V-1 flying bomb, or “buzz bomb,” that saw action in Europe during World War II. The V-1 and the Tomahawk, variants of which are still in service in the Navy, frame an important episode in the history of missile development in the United States. The recent deinstallation of the Tomahawk provides an opportunity to recount some of the highlights of this fascinating story of technological evolution.

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 Launching a Regulus I
Thu, July 13 2017

Introducing ISS Science: How to Spot the Station

It’s not every day that an astronaut invites you to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to work with and film them training. But that’s exactly what Randy “Komrade” Bresnik did for the STEM in 30 team. In the following months we’ll be sharing his journey with you as he travels to the International Space Station (ISS) on Expeditions 52 and 53.

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Hosts Beth and Marty with Astronaut Bresnik
Sat, July 1 2017

Summer Tips for Visiting the Museum

The weather is getting warmer. Summer is upon us — and that means we will have plenty of visitors eager to explore the soaring planes and spacecraft at the Museum. To make your visit more enjoyable over the July 4th holiday, here are some tips to make your experience a great one:

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Full Moon on July 4th
Fri, June 23 2017

Famous Signatures and Detailed Artwork in the Library

A fan of what he calls “the older stuff,” librarian Phil Edwards shared with me seven of the library’s most prized possessions and lesser-known gems just in time for Museum Week’s Book Day (#BooksMW).

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Ramsy Room Books
Tue, June 20 2017

Our Favorite Sports Stories for #sportsMW

What do baseball, hockey, and football have in common? Hint: It’s more than just the roar of the crowd or competitive all-star athletes. Each sporting event has some connection to aviation and spaceflight—yes, spaceflight. Our intrepid archivist, Elizabeth Borja, has been exploring this connection for years. Whether it’s the testing of spacesuits at a baseball game or the New York Yankees flying on a Douglas DC-4, Borja has uncovered surprising sports stories filed away in the Museum’s Archives. Here are our five, all-time-favorite stories in honor of today’s #MuseumWeek theme: sports (#sportsMW).

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New York Yankees Baseball Team
Fri, June 9 2017

The Saga of Writing in Space

From dashing off a quick note to creating painstaking calligraphy, we often take writing for granted. But in space, where the stakes are high, how does one write? After all, the ink in pens isn’t held down by gravity, so how do you write upside down? 

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Knee Note Pad : Friendship 7
Thu, May 25 2017

A New Way to Search our Technical Files

Until recently, our largest and most-used archival collection, The Technical Reference Files, did not have an online finding aid. As the majority of the Archives Department’s public reference requests (of which we receive over 2,300 a year) can be answered using material in these files, we are delighted to finally enable researchers to search the listings of this valuable collection.

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Example of Technical Files


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