2019 was a big year at the National Air and Space Museum, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and worked hard on our ongoing renovation. We shared stories about these projects and more on the blog this year. Let’s dive into five of the most popular stories of 2019.
Christopher Columbus Kraft Jr. is an appropriate name for a pioneering space explorer. Kraft did not explore space himself, but he made it possible for American astronauts to do so, from Mercury to the Space Shuttle. He was the primary inventor of the mission control concept, and implemented it during Project Mercury and after, including training a cadre of controllers and creating a worldwide tracking network.
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and before he flew on Gemini 8, he was a NASA test pilot. Noted for his engineering excellence and technical capability as a pilot, Armstrong became one of only 12 pilots to fly the ultimate experimental aircraft – the North American X-15.
In this blog celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, we explore how the astronauts listened to music during the mission, what was on their playlists, and musical critiques of the Apollo program.
Only two survived the crash of the Wingfoot Express—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.
As the Museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, we also celebrate some of the unique pieces of memorabilia created to mark that human achievement. In addition to the pins, patches, buttons, medals, matchbooks, sweatshirts, and commemorative plates the Smithsonian holds in the national collection, this unique ladies handbag is one of my favorites.