In the late 1960s, Poppy Northcutt was a return-to-Earth specialist with TRW, working on a contract with NASA on one of the most exciting adventures of the 20th century: humanity’s quest for the Moon. With computer programming skills and a degree in mathematics, she worked with her team at TRW on the development of the return-to-Earth program. And she became the first woman in Mission Control.
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of two long-distance light plane records by William P. Odom. Those records were set in the Museum’s Beechcraft 35 Bonanza, which is displayed at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. In addition, it is also the 100th anniversary of William Paul Odom’s birth, on October 21, 1919, in Porum, Oklahoma.
Recent research conducted by the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) team indicates that moonquakes on our Moon were caused by active lunar faults -- meaning that the Moon is currently tectonically active and that the moonquakes are a result of the shrinking Moon.
Scientists believe our planet has a metallic inner core, but we can’t exactly crack it open and check. Instead, NASA is sending a mission to an asteroid named Psyche, which appears to be a nickel-iron planetary core a lot like the one at the center of the Earth.
Until recently, a Lockheed U-2, one of the most successful intelligence-gathering aircraft every produced, was on display in the Museum's Looking at Earth gallery. The U-2 was designed by a team led by Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson at the famous Lockheed 'Skunk Works" in Palmdale, California. The jet played a crucial role during the tense years of the Cold War.
May 2, 2019, marks the United States’ Days of Remembrance, the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. Today the National Air and Space Museum remembers Dezsö Becker, a Hungarian aviator who served in World War I and died in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in January 1945.
Geraldyn “Jerrie” Cobb, who died in March 2019, will likely be remembered for her role campaigning for women to be considered as possible space travelers in the beginning of the space age, but the Museum’s upcoming exhibits will also showcase how important she was as an award-winning pilot who flew for years as a missionary in the Amazon.
In May 1919, the U.S. Navy sponsored three Curtiss flying boats—the NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4—each with a crew of six, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Lt. Commander Albert C. Read commanded the NC-4, the only aircraft to succeed in its mission. As we prepare to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NC-4’s historic transatlantic flight, the materials in Read’s collection are available to transcribe in the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center.