Air and Space Museum

Materials and manufacturing details of the specially made suit of America's first space traveler were extensively analyzed before being prepared for display on a customized mannequin.

The Second Man in Space Had a Wee Wish—That He'd Used the Bathroom Before Blasting Off

Alan B. Shepard's historic Mercury spacesuit undergoes hours of conservation work for its debut when the National Air and Space Museum opens this fall

This fall, visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., can see the glider and other treasures, when the “Early Flight” exhibition opens in the museum's newly transformed west wing.

This Quirky Contraption Lifted 19th-Century Pilots Into the Air for a Short, Exhilarating Glide

The rare Lilienthal glider, one of only a few originals known to exist, is newly conserved and ready for its public debut

In the early days of the Covid crisis, National Zoo officials tied a mask around its popular lion sculpture to emphasize the need to follow safety protocols. Beginning this Friday, masks are optional in all Smithsonian museums and at the Zoo.

Smithsonian Tells Museum and Zoo Visitors Masks Are Now Optional

Face coverings mandate is lifted this Friday, as more museums resume daily visiting hours

The massive aircraft was initially built as part of the Soviet aeronautical program in the 1960s and 70s while the Soviet Union was undergoing a space race with the United States.
 

Ukrainian Officials Say the World's Largest Aircraft, Antonov AN-225, Has Been Destroyed

The plane was undergoing maintenance in an airfield near Kyiv

This Bushnell telescope allowed Sally Ride to gaze at her favorite constellation, Orion, and envision her future as an astronaut. 

Women Who Shaped History

How the Smithsonian Is Honoring Remarkable American Women

From a series of coins to a museum in the making, their groundbreaking achievements gain new visibility

One reader wonders if European modernists thought of the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe as a remarkable artist.
 

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Was Georgia O'Keeffe's Genius Appreciated Outside of America? And More Questions From Our Readers

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida in 2015

A Chunk of a SpaceX Rocket Is Going to Slam Into the Moon

After a chaotic orbit of 7 years, the Falcon 9 booster is predicted to crash into the lunar surface this March

“Bessie Coleman (above: with her Curtiss JN-4 "Jennie" in her custom designed flying suit, ca. 1924) was a real gutsy woman for the era,” says Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. "Anyone else might have quit at any time.”

For Pilot Bessie Coleman, Every 'No' Got Her Closer to 'Yes'

Despite fierce obstacles in her path, the Black female aviator became a hero that would pave the way for generations to come

With every hope that Covid-restrictions will soon give way to happier times ahead, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City plan a bright year of grand new showings

Twenty-Two Smithsonian Shows to See in 2022

Falcon hunting, Watergate, a Kusama mirror room and the new Latino Gallery await

On April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the cargo bay of Space Shuttle Discovery.

A Look Back at Hubble's Interstellar Success

At the launch of the Webb Space Telescope, the legacy of America’s favorite eye in the sky is best remembered with a look at a Smithsonian artifact

"As soon as this idea of aerial application for farming began to take shape, nearly everyone agreed this was the way to go,” says Dorothy Cochrane, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, where one of only two known to exist, is on view.

The Little 'Puffer' That Could, and Did, Change an Industry

The Huff-Daland Duster ushered in the era of agriculture aviation

One reader wonders why more flowers and fruits aren't blue-hued.

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Why Are So Few Flowers and Fruits Blue? And More Questions From Our Readers

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The T-38 Talon that Jacqueline Cochran flew, pictured before its recent restoration.

When Jackie Cochran Flew This Jet, She Broke All Kind of Barriers

The spirited aviator came out of poverty to soar to great heights

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

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