VR View of Columbia Reentry

VR Hangar

VR Hangar from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum!

See moments that made air and space history with the VR Hangar from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The Hangar brings some of the Museum’s most important milestone artifacts to life using real 3D-scan data in immersive virtual reality vignettes.


1903 Wright Flyer: The 1903 Wright Flyer was the product of a sophisticated four-year program of research and development conducted by Wilbur and Orville Wright beginning in 1899. After building and testing three full-sized gliders, the Wrights' first powered airplane flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, making a 12-second flight and traveling 120 ft.

  • See the workshop where Wilbur and Orville built the Flyer.
  • Watch their first unsuccessful attempt at Kitty Hawk.
  • Witness the inauguration of the aerial age with the Wrights' first flight.

Double view of the Wright Flyer

Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis: On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the X-1 reached a speed of 700 miles per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Yeager named the airplane Glamorous Glennis in tribute to his wife.

  • See the experimental X-1 in development.
  • Watch as the aircraft is loaded onto a B-29 for air-launch.
  • Witness history’s first transonic flight.

VR double view inside Bell X-1

Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia: The Command Module Columbia was home to a three-person crew that made history during the first lunar landing mission. Columbia launched atop a 363-foot tall Saturn V rocket and remained in lunar orbit while Eagle, the lunar module, landed on the Moon. The Command Module is the only portion of the spacecraft that returned to Earth.

  • See where the astronauts boarded Columbia for their historical journey.
  • Watch the spacecraft in orbit around the Moon.
  • Experience the reentry of Columbia as it safely returns its crew to Earth. 

VR double view of inside the command module.