When the first person steps foot on Mars, there’s a good chance they’ll have stepped through our doors first. We’re transforming our museum as we inspire the next generation of innovators and explorers. This new video explores why we're so excited about the future of the National Air and Space Museum. Watch now. (Yes, that is Harrison Ford's voice you hear narrating the video.)
Museum Receives SpaceShipTwo Rocket Motor From Virgin Galactic
Last month, Virgin Galactic donated to the Museum RocketMotorTwo, the hybrid engine that powered SpaceShipTwo, called VSS Unity, into space for the first time in December 2018. This historic flight showcased Virgin Galactic’s newest vehicle, capable of carrying up to six passengers into space. RocketMotorTwo will eventually be displayed in the Future of Spaceflight exhibition, scheduled to open in 2024 as part of the Museum’s ongoing renovation. You can see it today on display at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Learn more about RocketMotorTwo.
Raytheon Sponsors Apollo 50 Celebrations
As the nation celebrates the upcoming 50th anniversary of landing a human on the Moon, Raytheon joins Boeing as a sponsor of the National Air and Space Museum's year of programming. The Apollo celebrations will commemorate this milestone anniversary and ignite interest in future space exploration and innovation. With Raytheon’s support, the Museum's Apollo 11 anniversary programs will include Apollo-themed lectures, celebrations on the National Mall, and more. Learn more about our Apollo 50 celebrations.
DO YOU KNOW?
Last year, science writer Maia Winstock donated to the Museum the prototype she created for the LEGO Women at NASA set. The final set features four women: Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Margaret Hamilton, and Nancy Grace Roman. But the original prototype featured five women.
What other woman was included in the prototype, but preferred not to be included in the final version? Answer
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman, and second person, to fly across the Atlantic in her red Lockheed Vega 5C. A recent panorama of the plane’s cockpit provides a new look at Earhart’s iconic “Little Red Bus.” Take a spin around the cockpit as we point out a few significant instruments Earhart used on her flight.
New photography of the Lockheed Vega was made possible through the Air and Space Photo initiative, supported by The Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
Around the World Solo
Fifty-five years ago, on March 19, 1964, Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock departed Columbus, Ohio, in a 1953 Cessna 180 single-engine monoplane, Spirit of Columbus. Twenty-nine days, 11 hours, and 59 minutes later, she landed back in Columbus, the first woman to fly around the world solo. Learn more about this record-setting flight.
Setting Records in Space
Peggy Whitson has spent 665 days in space -- more than any other American astronaut. When she visited the Museum last year, she shared her path to becoming an astronaut, including how the first class of female astronauts inspired her to take her dream of going to space and make it into a goal. Watch now.
Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite World War II aircraft last month. The P-51D Mustang was victorious, beating the Supermarine Spitfire 66% to 44%.
For this month's question, let's take a look at the world of aerobatic flight. Aerobatic pilots Betty Skelton and Patty Wagstaff are two of only a few pilots to master the inverted ribbon cut maneuver. In honor of their accomplishments in aerobatic flight, Skelton’s Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker and Wagstaff’s Extra 260 have both been displayed inverted, as if preparing to do the maneuver. (Extra 260 is currently off display for the Museum’s renovation project.)
If you were attempting this complex maneuver, which aircraft would you want to fly?
During World War II, over a thousand women with civilian pilot's licenses served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Although these women flew military aircraft, they were considered civilians. The WASP flew a total of 60 million miles performing operational flights, towing aerial targets, transporting cargo, smoke laying, and more. The WASP were granted retroactive military status in 1977, and in 2010 were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Learn more about these pioneering women.
In January 1978, NASA selected its first six female astronauts (left to right): Shannon Lucid, Rhea Seddon, Kathryn Sullivan, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, and Sally Ride. Five years later, in June 1983, Sally Ride would become the first American woman to go to space.