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Space

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Thu, March 5 2015

Celebrating "Star Trek," Remembering Nimoy

News of Lenoard Nimoy’s passing was felt far and wide at the National Air and Space Museum. It may come as no surprise that many members of our staff—the same folks who have dedicated their careers to inspiring and educating the public about aerospace history—are also huge Star Trek fans. As we remember Nimoy’s legacy, we can’t help but recall our own experiences meeting the man and celebrating the series. In 1992, the Museum opened a temporary exhibition on Star Trek and cast and crew of the beloved show descended upon the Museum throughout its run. Two staff members, past and present, reflect on that experience.  

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Panel with "Star Trek" Cast
Fri, February 6 2015

The Armstrong Purse: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Artifacts

At the National Air and Space Museum, as elsewhere around the world, we were enormously saddened when we learned that Neil Alden Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, had died of complications associated with heart surgery in August 2012. Not long afterwards his family contacted the Museum about artifacts he left in his home office in Ohio. In November, Museum curators Margaret Weitekamp (social and cultural history of space exploration), Alex Spencer (personal aeronautical equipment), and I (as Apollo curator) traveled to Cincinnati and were warmly greeted by his widow, Carol.

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Temporary Stowage Bag
Fri, January 30 2015

Remembering Milton W. Rosen

Milton Rosen was a pioneer of American rocketry development.

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Milton W. Rosen
Tue, January 27 2015

Five Things I Learned While Curating Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity

At the height of the summer of 2013, when I was getting ready to go on maternity leave to have my second child, I found myself as the only curator signed on to an anniversary exhibition celebrating the first spacewalks done in 1965...Feeling a bit under qualified and overcommitted, I went on to find out just what it took to make something notional only 18 months ago into a beautifully vibrant reality. Here are some of the lessons I learned and proudest moments from this experience.

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Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity
Tue, January 20 2015

Opening the Best Package Ever!

It was particularly timely that during the hustle and bustle of the 2014 holidays, I, along with curators Jennifer Levasseur and Cathleen Lewis, had a very special package to open for the very first time.

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Staff Examine OPS Cover
Fri, January 16 2015

To Jupiter and Beyond: Pioneer 10 and 11

A full-size engineering model of the Pioneer 10 /11 spacecraft normally hangs in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the National Air and Space Museum. However, a few weeks ago it was removed and placed in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, while the Milestones gallery undergoes a major renovation in the coming months.

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Pioneer 10 replica
Thu, January 8 2015

Hands and Gloves in Space

There is a common saying that the hands are where the mind meets the world. In space there is no direct contact between the mind and the world. This transaction is mediated by the artificial structures called gloves.

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Armstrong's Glove Dip Forms
Mon, December 8 2014

Keeping Watch on Venus

Venus has almost the same diameter as the Earth and is the next closest planet to the Sun. The similarity ends with the weather report, however. The surface temperature is more than 465 o C (870o F) and atmospheric pressure is 90 times that of Earth. The surface is hidden from view by a dense blanket of clouds, so we must use radar systems to “see” the landscape below.

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Alpha Regio on Venus
Wed, December 3 2014

Orion Test Flight: Back to the Future

If weather permits and no last-minute technical issues arise, NASA’s next-generation crew exploration vehicle launches into space for the first time on December 4*, 2014.

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Orion Rendering
Thu, November 27 2014

Thanksgiving Day in Space

“Pass the turkey, please.” “Do you have room for dessert?” The elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal are passed around in plastic pouches instead of platters and bowls, but the spirit of this holiday in space is the same as at home. Gathered around (or over!) a makeshift table, crewmates have celebrated Thanksgiving on Skylab, the Space Shuttle, the Russian Mir space station, and the International Space Station (ISS).

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Thanksgiving in Space

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