James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
West of Aviation Hangar
Some 160 large space and missile artifacts and 500 smaller space history artifacts are on view to illustrate the scope of space exploration history as organized around the following four main themes: rocketry and missiles, human spaceflight, applications satellites, and space science. Highlights include:
- Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA's longest-serving orbiter, which flew 39 missions from 1984 through 2011 and spent 365 days in space
- An unflown Mercury series spacecraft
- Gemini 7 space capsule, flown by Frank Borman and James Lovell on their two-week orbital endurance mission in 1965
- Apollo command module Boilerplate, used by Navy personnel to train for shipboard retrieval procedures
- Spacelab Laboratory Module
- Mobile Quarantine Facility #3, 1 of 4 Airstream trailers built by NASA to isolate astronauts in order to prevent the spread of any lunar-based contagions ("moon germs"); used by the crew of Apollo 11 after their return to Earth
- 63-foot floor-to-ceiling Mercury-Redstone missile
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind Mothership model, used for the filming of the movie of the same name
- A case of popular culture space toys
- Anita, a spider used for web formation experiments aboard Skylab
- Sirius FM-4 digital radio broadcasting satellite (installed October 24, 2012)
Related app from Air & Space magazine: Space Shuttle Era: Stories from 30 Years of Exploration.
Boeing Aviation Hangar
More than 160 aircraft are currently on view to illustrate the scope of aviation history, including military, commercial, business, sports, and pre-1920 aviation and vertical flight (helicopters). Highlights include:
- Spirit of Tuskegee, a PT-13 Stearman biplane used to train Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, went on view October 26, 2011; it is on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Pathfinder Plus, a high-altitude, solar-powered, unmanned experimental aircraft, went on view early March 2007.
- Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, the 1st non-stop solo airplane flown around the world without refueling in 2005 by Steve Fossett (donated to the Smithsonian on May 23, 2006).
- SR-71 Blackbird: This reconnaissance aircraft is the world's fastest flying airplane in the atmosphere (donated to the Smithsonian by the Air Force on March 6, 1990).
- Air France Concorde 205 Fox Alpha: This 27-year-old aircraft flew at Mach 2, twice the speed of sound.
- Enola Gay (Boeing B-29): This bomber helped to end WWII.
- Grumman Goose: This amphibian is Grumman's 1st twin-engine monoplane and its 1st aircraft to enter commercial airline service
- Boeing 307 Stratoliner: This is the 1st airliner to have a pressurized fuselage; 1st flown in 1938.
- Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation: Known as the Connie, this plane, introduced in 1951, shortened transcontinental travel by an astounding 5 hours
- Langley Aerodrome A: This craft represents the failed attempt at human flight by Samuel Pierpont Langley (Secretary of the Smithsonian, 1887-1906)
- Biplanes, gliders (e.g., Bensen B-6 Gyroglider), ultralights, and aerobatic planes (e.g., Little Stinker, flown by Betty Skelton) suspended from the ceiling
- Several helicopters, including a Bell UH-1H "Huey" and the Bell LongRanger Model 206L, Spirit of Texas (spring 2010), in which H. Ross Perot Jr. and Jay Coburn completed the 1st around-the-world helicopter flight, Sept. 1-30, 1982
- Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, the 1st aircraft to fly mail, has been moved from the Mall museum (fall 2009) and is on view here while it is being restored
- Arado AR 234 B-2 Blitz (Lightning), the world's first operational jet bomber and reconnaissance aircraft
- Artifacts of varying sizes (e.g., uniforms, equipment, aircraft models, etc.) on view in a number of glass-fronted cases
- Transformer toys and props from the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which was filmed in part at the museum.
Japanese American Pioneers of the Jet Age
Boeing Aviation Hangar
In 1955, Pan American World Airways -- in an effort to become the pre-eminent carrier for routes over the Pacific -- recruited Japanese American stewardesses as ambassadors to the growing tide of world travelers and established an Asian language base in Honolulu. Photographs and such memorabilia as uniforms, flight bags, and scrapbooks provide a peak at the role of these Japanese America stewardesses.
World War II Prints by Robert Taylor
1st Floor, near Claude Moore Education Center
On view are prints by Robert Taylor that depict World War II.
Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar
View from Visitor Overlook
Watch from the mezzanine as museum specialists reconstruct, repair, and preserve the historic aircraft, spacecraft, and other treasures in the National Air and Space Museum's collection. The Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar is spacious enough to accommodate several aircraft at a time. The Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver is currently being restored. Visit often to watch our progress!