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Saturday, June 27th, 2009
 A bit off-subject, but air & space has always been a fascination for me.  Finally at my advanced age, I made it to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Wash. DC.   Having my son along was a wonderful bonus.  I am a little bitty kid at heart, but it was fun seeing these things through a kid's eyes as well......and I think my son was fascinated by my comments.   I was a freshman in high school when Sputnik went into orbit.  Today, it's hard to convey the shock everyone felt at the time.........almost a national panic which resulted in huge pressure for the government to "do something", to spend huge sums of money on science education, and finally prompting President Kennedy's call for a moon landing goal.    
 
The images don't convey the size of many of these objects.  The Voyager spacecraft was much larger than I pictured it in my mind......the dish is at least 12 feet across......the entire spacecraft is about 40 feet from end to end.   Pioneer, the Viking lander (the size of a car) are larger than they look in the photos.  The lunar module is huge!!!
 
Many of the objects actually flew in space.....and the others are not models, but duplicates which could have been working machines.
 
The museum includes great displays from robotic space craft missions, simulators, movies, etc.   It is hard to decide where to look first.  There is history in every direction.
 
Not pictured but cool:
 
Bell X1:                     1st plane to exceed Mach 1, Chuck Yeager
X15:                          reach 60 miles altitude, Scott Crossfield
Wright flyer:               actually flown by the Wright Bros.
Spirit of St. Louis:       Charles Lindburgh's plane
Bell XP59A                 1st US jet aircraft (ultra secret project begun in 1941)
Messerschmitt BF 109  WW II
British Spitfire             WW II
P51 Mustang               WW II
Lunar rover vehicle
Eugene Cernan's space suit, worn on the moon
 
IF YOU ARE A "SPACE BUFF", THE AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM IS AN ABSOLUTE "MUST SEE"!
 
 


Image Gallery For This Session
Apollo Soyuz Apollo 11
Explorer first US satellite Friendship 7 Mercury Glen
HST duplicate less solar panels Herschel 36 inch
Lunar Module Mars rover
Pioneer spacecraft Soyuz earth return capsule
Sputnik 1957 Surveyor moon lander
Viking Mars lander Voyager spacecraft
   

Apollo-Soyuz.jpg
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