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Fri, August 12 2016

The Perseids Light Up the Sky

The annual Perseid meteor shower is at its peak (August 11-13). Meteor showers occur when the Earth’s orbit around the Sun takes us through a debris field, which is often a trail of cosmic dust left behind by a comet.

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Perseid Meteor Shower
Sun, August 7 2016

Jimmy Doolittle: Daredevil Pilot & Fun-Loving Friend

On National Friendship Day, we take time to remember the friends that stand with us through good times and bad. World War II hero James “Jimmy” Doolittle was fun-loving and fearless as a teenager, making himself quite a few friends along the way. Looking back on his friendship with Doolittle, opera singer Lawrence Tibbett recalled some of the ups and downs they shared.

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Jimmy Doolittle
Fri, August 5 2016

The Year Aeronautics Was an Olympic Event

Today, marks the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Modern opening ceremonies are often accompanied by a flyover. In the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany, an actual gold medal was awarded for Aeronautics. Gliding, in which aircraft were catapulted into the air, and aerobatics were demonstration events, with the hopes of becoming full-fledged events in the future.

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Bücker Bu 133 Jungmeister
Thu, August 4 2016

The Art of Air and Space

Throughout the Apollo program, a range of artists were given unrestricted access to NASA’s various facilities in order to collect usable reference materials. Many of these artworks were donated to the Museum and form a valuable lens through which to examine the cultural impact of twentieth century spaceflight and aviation.

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Grissom and Young
Wed, August 3 2016

Peace Through Strength: Two Cold War Weapons

This fall is the 30th anniversary of the Reykjavik Summit, a landmark meeting held in Iceland's capital between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

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Reykjavik Summit
Sat, July 30 2016

Catching Pokémon at the Museum

The National Air and Space Museum’s official app, GO FLIGHT, launched this month on iOS. (Lookout Android users, GO FLIGHT is coming to you soon!) A great feature of the app is its tours. In such a large Museum, the app’s tours and interactive map are a must. ...

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Pokemon Stop
Fri, July 29 2016

Flying the SR-71

The Museum is fortunate that among our corps of docents, or guides, are people with direct experience flying or flying in a number of our aircraft. Among those docents are Buz Carpenter and Phil Soucy who know what its like to sit inside one of the world's fastest aircrafts, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Landing at Dulles
Thu, July 28 2016

Setting Records with the SR-71 Blackbird

Today in 1976, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird broke the world’s record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight at 25,929 meters (85,069 feet). The same day another SR-71 set an absolute speed record of 3,529.6 kilometers per hour (2,193.2 miles per hour), approximately Mach 3.3. As the fastest jet aircraft in the world, the SR-71 has an impressive collection of records and history of service. The Blackbird’s owes its success to the continuum of aircraft that came before it.

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SR-71
Wed, July 27 2016

The Mystery of Grey Spots on Apollo Glove

The last time Neil Armstrong's gloves and helmet were displayed, in 2012, visitors asked us about “grey spots” on the right glove. We're conducting research and examining historical documentation to find out why.

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Armstrong Glove Under UV
Mon, July 25 2016

Exploring Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes: A Towering Red Planet Analog

As the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Mars Day! celebration approaches, we look to a recent research trip taken by a Smithsonian Summer Intern to investigate the similarities between some of Earth’s most amazing dunes and those found on the ruddy surface of Mars.

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Measuring a Megaripple

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