Air and Space Museum

On October 24, 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf had just begun when two Hellcat pilots U.S. Navy Capt. David McCampbell and his wingman Ens. Roy Rushing spotted a squadron of 60 Japanese aircraft, including bombers escorted by Zeroes (above: a 1943 photograph of Grumman F6F Hellcats in flight).

In One Mission in October 1944, Two F6F Hellcats Shot Down a Record 15 Enemy Aircraft

U.S. Navy Pilots David McCampbell and Roy Rushing made history in a heroic air battle over the Leyte Gulf

The massive 170,000-pound Discovery measures 122 feet long by 58 feet tall with a wingspan of 78 feet.

Following the 1986 and 2003 Shuttle Disasters, 'Discovery' Launched America Back Into Space

This "Champion of the Fleet," a signature Smithsonian artifact, flew 39 space missions and traveled 150 million miles

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for captive apes.

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How Do Gorillas Get Heart Disease? And More Questions From Our Readers

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Smoke pours from the west wing of the Pentagon building September 11, 2001 in Arlington, Virginia, after a plane crashed into the building and set off a huge explosion.

Smithsonian Voices

Smithsonian's Chris Browne Was the Manager at Ronald Reagan National Airport on 9/11

The acting director of the National Air and Space Museum reflects 20 years later on the rapid grounding of air traffic across the US

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Fixed up to look like "Dusty," the Disney animated aircraft that had high-flying aspirations, the Air Tractor AT-301/400A became a hit at air-shows following the success of the first film and its 2014 sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue.

Disney's Dusty Crophopper—the Little Airplane that Could—Comes to the Smithsonian

Iconic Air Tractor aircraft on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center this Saturday

The P-51 Mustang was the darling of the Army Air Forces. Aerodynamically agile and acrobatic, the aircraft was fast and furious in its effectiveness in downing enemy aircraft.

The P-51 Mustang Was the Quintessential Aircraft of the World War II Era

In duels over Eastern Europe, the agile fighter scored kill after kill

Robert McCurdy, Untitled, Jeffrey P. Bezos, 2019, oil on canvas

Jeff Bezos Gifts Historic $200 Million to the Smithsonian

The Amazon founder's gift—the largest since the Institution was created in 1846—will support the Air and Space Museum renovation and a new education center

The Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a Schwalbe, meaning Swallow, held in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum was captured in 1945 by a special U.S. Army Air Force team led by Col. Harold Watson. The Americans and British, who were also developing jet aircraft, used captured Swallows to enhance their own programs.

The Day Germany's First Jet Fighter Soared Into History

Allied pilots were surprised by the aircraft's speed and armament; but it was a case of too little too late

“The shape of the Spitfire's wing and all of the compound curves on the airplane made it beautiful,” says the Smithsonian's Alex Spencer, curator of British and European military aircraft at the National Air and Space Museum.

Remembering the Supermarine Spitfire, Iconic Fighter Plane of World War II

'Spit' pilots flew their first combat missions over Dunkirk during the Battle of France

In a bloody brawl, Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus battle to the finish in the much-loved new dinosaur hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Will Reopen in June

Discover tips for visiting the T-Rex, the Hope Diamond and more, when 10 Smithsonian museums reopen this summer

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter arrived on Mars on February 18, 2021.

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Why Did NASA Test a Helicopter on Mars?

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“Despite taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars introduced generations of fans here on Earth to outer space as a setting for adventure and exploration,” says the museum's Margaret Weitekamp.

Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Lands at the National Air and Space Museum

Udvar-Hazy visitors can watch conservators give the film prop a careful exam before it goes on view in 2022

In 1891, Samuel P. Langley began experiments with large, tandem-winged models powered by small steam and gasoline engines that he called aerodromes. After several failures with designs that were too fragile and under-powered to sustain themselves, Langley had his first genuine success on May 6, 1896.

This Odd Early Flying Machine Made History but Didn't Have the Right Stuff

Aerodrome No. 5 had to be launched by catapult on the Potomac River on May 6, 1896, but it flew unpiloted 3,300 feet

Reopening July 24, 2020, the Smithsonian's 300,000 square-foot Udvar-Hazy Center includes singular, memorable and colossal items of air and space history.

Twelve Must-Sees When the Smithsonian Reopens Udvar-Hazy Center May 5

The massive showcase facility offers plenty of space for social distance along with plenty of air and space travel history

Michael Collins' NASA astronaut portrait.

Smithsonian Voices

Remembering Michael Collins

As the third director of the National Air and Space Museum, the former astronaut campaigned for a museum on the Mall in time for the nation’s bicentennial

Beginning next month, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person.When the Zoo opens on May 21, visitors will be able to meet baby panda cub Xiao Qi Ji in person. But fair warning—he might be napping.

Smithsonian Announces the Zoo and Seven Museums Open in May

You'll finally be able to see the baby panda in person; here's our comprehensive list of what's on view and tips for visiting

Some designers promote fashion lines based on kente cloth from Ghana.

When Is Kente Cloth Worn and More Questions From Our Readers

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This view of Gemini VII from VI-A in December 1965 shows the spacecraft’s orbital configuration.

Smithsonian Voices

How Neil Armstrong Avoided Near-Disaster to Make the First Space Docking

Smithsonian curator Michael Neufeld recounts the harrowing details of when Gemini Vlll astronauts faced the first life-threatening, in-flight emergency

The Perseverance captured this image of itself and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter days before its maiden flight.

Smithsonian Voices

What to Expect When Ingenuity Takes Flight This Week on Mars

Nicknamed 'Ginny,' the Mars helicopter is set to take off from the surface of the Red Planet no earlier than April 14

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