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Mon, August 10 2015

#RebootTheSuit: Your Apollo 11 Stories

One of my earliest memories is of watching the Moon landing on TV with my dad. I was barely four years old, so the whole thing really kind of went over my head. I do remember being upset that "Mr. Dressup" had been pre-empted. Also, I was fascinated by the fact that my dad was practically climbing into the TV, he was so excited! (He was a science teacher—genes that skipped me, sadly!) I learned that day, if people could walk on the Moon, anything was possible.

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Celebrating the Moon Landing
Fri, August 7 2015

How do you put on an Apollo spacesuit?

First, let’s talk about terminology. When we talk about putting on or taking off a spacesuit, we frequently use the terms “donning and doffing.”

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Armstrong's Pre-Flight Spacesuit
Tue, August 4 2015

Nerd Camp

The door was locked, but a swipe of a security access card rewarded us with a satisfying “click.” Someone pushed the double doors open and we stepped into the laboratory. We paused for the briefest instant as my eyes, and those of my fellow campers, were transfixed on the object on the other side of the room: The Starship Enterprise from the original Star Trek series.

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Team Enterprise
Fri, July 31 2015

Were You a Member of the “First Moon Flights” Club?

The Smithsonian would like to add to its national collection a Pan American Airways (Pan Am) “First Moon Flights” Club card as an example of early enthusiasm for space travel.

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Were You a Member of the “First Moon Flights” Club?
Mon, July 20 2015

Reboot the Suit: Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit and Kickstarter

Today is a rather big day for the Museum. Not only are we celebrating the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, but we are also celebrating the launch of something quite new.

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Detail of Armstrong's Suit
Sun, July 19 2015

We All Scream - Even in Space - for Ice Cream

As anyone who has ever braved the hot asphalt to chase down the siren song of an ice cream truck knows, the best cure for a sweltering summer day is ice cream. It’s fortunate then, that the summer heat cannot be felt within the confines of a spacecraft—the International Space Station is always a comfortable 72 degrees. Three hundred and fifty-four kilometers (220 miles) above Earth, ice cream is hard to come by.

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Ice Cream in Space
Fri, July 10 2015

First Mission to Pluto: The Difficult Birth of New Horizons

As we await the exciting results of New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto on July 14, it is all too easy to think that this mission was inevitable: the capstone to NASA’s spectacular exploration of all the planets (and ex-planets) of the solar system since the 1960s. Yet, it proved extraordinarily difficult to sustain a Pluto project.

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New Horizons Full-Scale Model
Wed, July 8 2015

Apollo-Soyuz Commemorative Cigarettes 

Next week marks the 40th anniversary of an important moment in space history, when astronauts and cosmonauts greeted each other warmly in their docked Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft while orbiting above the Earth.

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Apollo Soyuz Commemorative Cigarettes
Sat, June 27 2015

Buck Rogers Spaceship Toy

" the twenty-fifth CEN-TURYYY!" This enthusiastic refrain from a deep-voiced announcer is how the popular 1930s radio show featuring space hero Buck Rogers began. It was followed by the roar of a spaceship blasting off, simulated by the sound of an air conditioning vent. Many of you have probably never heard of Buck Rogers, but he was a household name in the 1930s and ‘40s. Rogers was the very first science fiction comic strip hero. The character, at first named Anthony Rogers, was introduced in the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in August 1928. In a story titled, Armageddon 2419 A.D., written by Philip Nowlan, Rogers was a 29-year-old World War I veteran who took a job inspecting mines for radioactive gases.

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Buck Rogers Police Patrol Ship
Fri, June 5 2015

Star Trek Considered Harmful

When the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall opens in the summer of 2016, one of its central artifacts will be the Star Trek starship Enterprise studio model, used to film the original television series. As a member of the curatorial team that has been working on this exciting revision of the Milestones Hall, I have been immersed in the culture and lore of that artifact, as I have sought to place it in the context of the Lunar Module, Spirit of St Louis, Bell X-1, and other iconic artifacts that will populate the space. What follows are some observations.  

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Star Trek Considered Harmful

Star Trek starship Enterprise Studio Model