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National Air and Space Museum(NASM)

About renovation work and closing

With renovation work of the museum which will be carried out for seven years, Apollo-related exhibition "Apollo to the Moon", which has continued for 40 years since the opening of this Air and Space Museum, has been closed at 2018/12/03. Over 200 exhibits will be temporarily stored in the warehouse of the museum's annex "Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center". The other exhibition halls will also be closed in January 2019. However, Lunar module LM-2 will continue to be displayed in the entrance hall, also, in 2019, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, there will be a few special exhibitions, "Destination Moon". And in 2022, "Destination Moon", a permanent exhibition larger than "Apollo to the Moon", will be completed.

Exhibition place of Apollo 11 (CM-107)

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing in 2019, Apollo 11 command module CM-107 received a six-month refreshment from December 2016 to October 2017 at Repair Facility of Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center : Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, annex of Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (NASM). Then, under the event name "Destination Moon", a two-year exhibition tour of the following American museums was held.
DateExhibition facilities
Oct. 14, 2017 - Mar. 18, 2018Space Center Houston (Texas)
Apr. 14, 2018 - Sep. 3, 2018Saint Louis Science Center (Missouri)
Sep. 29, 2018 - Feb. 18, 2019Senator John Heinz History Center (Pennsylvania)
Apr. 13, 2019 - Sep. 2, 2019The Museum of Flight(Seattle)
Sep. 28, 2019 - Feb. 17, 2020Cincinnati Museum Center(Ohio)
(On 14 June 2019, an exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center was added.)
From March 3, 2020, it will be exhibited at James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Eventually, it will be exhibited in the permanent exhibition "Destination Moon", which will be completed in Smithsonian in 2022.

Entrance of Air and Space Museum


The National Air and Space Museum is a member of Smithsonian Institution Museums that spans Washington, DC Mall. It is one of the most popular museums in the Smithsonian's, and it will be full of people during the summer holidays in the afternoon. So we recommend visiting early in the morning.
Walk north from subway "L'ENFANT PLAZA" station and you will find the main entrance just after FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) building. We had to go through the inventory inspection to enter any museum.
Gemini 4 spacecraft

Exhibition rooms

NASM consists of several themed exhibition rooms, Lockheed Martin IMAX theater, Albert Einstein planetarium, and museum shop. The museum shop extends from basement to mezzanine level on three floors. Most popular souvenirs available are space foods and space pens. And there are neck straps original designed by Smithsonian Museums, these designs are different in each museum, and you will want to collect them all I think. In the basement, there are also space and aircraft related big posters of the original design by Smithsonian. Also on display is a huge original model of Spaceship Enterprise, which was used to shoot Star Trek TV series.
At the east end of the museum, there is a snack room where you can eat hamburgers and pizza. It is a very large museum, so it is impossible to see everything in a day. It is necessary to visit many days continuously or to narrow down the theme to see.

Apollo-related exhibits

Apollo-related exhibits are located in the main hall "Milestones of Flight", next to "Space Hall", "Rockety and Space Flight", and on the second floor "Apollo to the Moon".
Just after entering the entrance on the mall side, there is a moon rock that you can touch. It is very small compared to other exhibits, so don't overlook it.

Main hall

The main hall houses highlights of the museum. First, tere is Gemini 4 spacecraft.
Apollo 11 Command Module, Columbia
Astronaut Edward H.White.II, who succeeded in the first space walk in the United States, is about to go outboard. On the other side is Mercury Friendship Seven spacecraft , where Alan B. Shepard, Jr. successfully made America's first manned space flight.
And between Gemini 4 and Friendship Seven, the most prominent place in front of the hall is Apollo 11 Command Module, Columbia , which achieved the first human landing on the moon. So if you compare Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo here, you can notice that the Apollo capsule is exceptionally large. The evolution of the rocket's launch capabilities is reflected in the size of each capsules as it is.
ASTPP : docking of Apollo and Soviet Union Soyuz spacecraft

Space Hall

On the east side of main hall, in the corner of "Space Hall", there are Robert Goddard's rocket, V2 of Von Braun, and Space Station: Skylab, Hubble Space Telescope and so on. You can look inside of Space Station: Skylab. Visitors are forming a line, but it is just passing through, so your turn will come soon.
At the center of this "Space Hall" is Docking of Apollo and Soviet Union Soyuz spacecraft of the Apollo Soyuz Test Program (ASTP). The CSM used for this exhibition is test module: CSM-105AV. The exact same exhibit is also available at Moscow Space Center.
In addition, Soyuz capsule for Japanese journalist Mr. Akiyama , who is the world's first space tourist who paid money (by TV station) for went out in space, is exhibited in this corner. You can see the sign of Mr. Akiyama on the body.
Saturn 1B Main Engine: H-1 Engine

Rocketry and Space Flight

Next to "Space Hall" is a corner of "Rockety and Space Flight". Here you can learn history and mechanics of rockets and engines. Maybe because there are sober exhibits, it is not crowded everytime. Saturn 1B Main Engine: H-1 Engine hangs on the ceiling here. And there is a corner displaying space suits and diving suits. Also on display are spacesuits from Mercury to Shuttle, as well as fighter pilots' pressure suits. Portable Life Support system(PLSS) used by Apollo is also displayed with the inside visible.
Paintings by Norman Rockwell: Suit up of John W. Young and Virgil I. Grissom
And in this corner, an oil painting Suit up of John W. Young and Virgil I. Grissom (original?) By Norman Rockwell is exhibited. Gemini 3 crew, who became the first manned flight on Gemini project, is about to wear a space suit. I think it is a pretty good picture. The face of the astronaut drawn is similar to the person himself.

Apollo to the Moon

The corner of "Apollo to the Moon" on the second floor is the hall of fame of Apollo project. Here you can see cockpit panel of command module, Apollo 11 command module hatch , Command module of Skylab 4 , Lunar Roving Vehicle(LRV) , Guidance and navigation unit mounted on command modules
Cockpit panel of the command module
(A round eyeball-like part on the device is sticking out of command module, on the other side of the hatch, and astronauts survey the stars from here), Fuel cell (Combine oxygen and hydrogen to produce drinking water, cooling water and electricity), Sample Return Container(SRC) carrying moon rocks (It is completely sealed and can carry rocks to the earth with the environment of the moon. This picture is on display at the Mineral Corner of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.),
Space Pen
Furthermore, Space foods, Cradles used to launch chimpanzees on Mercury spacecraft, etc, there are countless Apollo-related artifacts on display. From the ceiling, the Lunar Module's Ascent Stage engine and Descent Stage engine etc. are hanging. Let's walk while looking up at the ceiling sometimes.
The space pen that has become a NASA souvenir standard now, (It is filled with gas, and you can write letters even in weightlessness or facing the ceiling.) The real things of them used in Apollo project are exhibited here.
Lunar Module(LM-2) developed for unmanned flight testing


And, on the east end of the museum, in front of dining room, One Lunar Module is on display. This is Lunar Module 2 (LM-2) developed for unmanned flight testing. Since LM's unmanned flight test was a perfect success on first machine (LM-1: Apollo 5), so LM-2 was not used. The Ascent Stage of this LM-2 was exhibited at the America Pavilion of Japan World Expo held in Osaka in 1970, combined with Descent Stage of vacuum chamber test article: LTA-8.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

In addition to spacecraft, many valuable aircraft are on display at NASM, including Wright Brothers' planes, Charles Lindbergh's Spirits of St. Louis and various fighter planes. For those who are interested in aircraft and space ship, I think it's a place you'll never get bored with.
Furthermore, in December 2003, an annex Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center was opened at Washington Dulles Airport. From space shuttles to Concorde and B-29 bombers, there are 200 aircraft that have not yet been exhibited at NASM. Our expectations grow in the enlargement of the coming Smithsonian Museum.
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