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Sun, April 17 2016

Well, is it Flak Bait or Flak-Bait?

As the curator for the Museum’s Martin B-26B Marauder, I’ve become obsessed with the proper way to designate the name given to it by its first pilot Jim Farrell in August 1943. It...

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Well, is it Flak Bait or Flak-Bait?

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Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait"
Wed, March 16 2016

Robert Goddard and the First Liquid-Propellant Rocket

Ninety years ago today, on March 16, 1926, Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) launched the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket. His rickety contraption, with its combustion chamber and nozzle on top, burned for 20 seconds before consuming enough liquid oxygen and gasoline to lift itself off the launch rack. The rocket took off from a snowy field outside Worcester, Massachusetts, reaching a height of about 12.5 meters (41 feet) and a distance of 56 meters (184 feet). It was smashed on impact. Goddard, his wife Esther, and a couple of assistants from Clark University, where he was a physics professor, were the only witnesses.

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Goddard 1926 Rocket
Wed, March 9 2016

How We Saw the Moon: Top Ten Apollo Images

On February 26, 2016, we opened our latest exhibition of imagery, A New Moon Rises, in our Art Gallery.

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Surveyor III Precision Landing
Thu, February 11 2016

Apollo 11: The Writings on the Wall

Last year I wrote about the Armstrong purse, discovered by Neil Armstrong’s widow, Carol, in their home shortly after Neil’s death in 2012. That stowage bag of small (but historically significant) items from the first lunar landing was a reminder that the story of Apollo 11 continues to be told as new details emerge in unexpected places. Recently, we have again been reminded that a curator’s work is never done. During the course of a project to produce a detailed 3D model of the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, we were able to observe and record some hand-written notes and markings in areas of the spacecraft that have been hidden from view for more than 40 years.

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Calendar inside the Apollo 11 Command Module
Mon, February 8 2016

The Monkey Who Nearly Flew Around the World

Happy Chinese New Year! To celebrate the Year of the Monkey we wanted to share one special monkey from our collection. Maggie, a stuffed spider monkey, has an especially interesting story.

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"Maggie"
Thu, January 28 2016

USS Enterprise Conservation Begins Phase II

Stardate 1601.28: After a year of extensive research, conservation work on the original studio model of the USS Enterprise is now underway in the Museum’s spacedock.

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Enterprise Model Components
Tue, December 8 2015

David Klein’s TWA Travel Posters

In the 1950s and ’60s, when commercial air travel was still considered glamorous, Trans World Airlines (TWA) was one of the world’s premier passenger carriers.

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David Klein’s TWA Travel Posters
Fri, December 4 2015

A Surprise Call From Space

It’s not a typical afternoon at work when you answer the phone and hear, "Hey, Dr. Neal. It's Kjell Lindgren calling from the International Space Station." Thus began a 15-minute surprise call from the ISS Expedition 44-45 NASA astronaut. Lindgren just wanted to say that he had with him the Museum flag and Gemini IV patch that he borrowed to take in his personal preference kit. He had unpacked them and shot some photos in the cupola for us. "I'm looking forward to bringing those back to you once I get back from my mission," he said.

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NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren
Fri, November 27 2015

Comparing Alan Eustace’s Spacesuit with Neil Armstrong’s

Our conservation team had the pleasure of hosting Alan Eustace, former Google executive, engineer, and stratospheric explorer, this month in the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory. Eustace and his StratEx team are well known for their three world records including one for the highest altitude jump at 41,422 meters (135,899 feet) in 2014. The adventurer was in town giving a lecture about his historic jump and to donate to the Museum the suit, life support, and balloon equipment module he used during the jump.

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Alan Eustace Visits the Conservation Labratory
Tue, October 27 2015

Bridge of Spies: An Opportunity to Bust Myths about the U-2 and the Capture of Gary Powers

I recently attended a screening of Bridge of Spies, a new movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. Purportedly, Bridge of Spies was inspired by events surrounding the 1962 exchange of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and graduate student Frederick Pryor for Soviet spy Rudolph Abel. The movie event was sponsored by Virginia’s Cold War Museum which was co-founded by Francis Gary Powers, Jr., who was also in attendance and served on a Q&A panel after the film.

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Lockheed U-2B in Flight

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