Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum - National Mall Building

We learned there are actually two air and space museums that encompass the Smithsonian's collection. The National Mall Building (downtown Washington DC) and it's companion museum called the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located near the Washington Dulles International Airport. Combined, these two buildings house the largest collection of space and airplane artifacts in the world.  We only toured the National Mall museum and found it had a good mixture of space history (not just the US), airplanes and rockets. We learned the other museum has the Space Shuttle Discovery, an A1 Blackbird spy plane which is the fastest plane in the world exclusively tested at the Area 51 facility and much much more. 

 Here are some highlight photos from our tour:

A Soviet Intercontinental nuclear rocket

 The actual Spirit of St. Louis plane flown by Charles Lindbergh which was the first nonstop flight from New York City to Paris in 1927

The Gossamer Albatross a human-powered airplane in 1979 successful crossed the English Channel.

One of the first unmanned aircraft developed - precursor to the now Predator Drone

WW I era airplanes

A really cool 3-D size model of our solar system, including the planet's moons. This put the sizes into perspective! Oh, we are the blue sphere.

Prototype of a telecommunication satellite. There were many satellites on display and they all seemed much smaller than you would expect.

The actual airplane that Orville and Wilbur Wright built and flew on December 17, 1903. First flight for human kind.

 One of the Apollo Command Modules - see the actual burn mark due to reentry into the earth's atmosphere...too cool!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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