The title of this blog entry is a quote that is attributed to Wilbur Wright. Today we spent the day in a location that is a testament to that fact that man needs knowledge and skill to fly. We spent the day at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It goes without saying that the Air and Space Museum is an incurable place. It contains everything from the Lilienthal Hang Glider through the Space Shuttle Enterprise and many things in-between.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum contains the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. The museum has two locations, the first location is in downtown Washington, D.C. The other location is a couple of hangers at Dulles International Airport called the Udvar-Hazy Center. Many of the larger artifacts are Udvar-Hazy Center.
We arrived at the downtown location just as the afternoon tour was starting and we joined it at the Apollo 11 Command Capsule having missed the talk on the Mercury Freedom 7 (first American in space) and Gemini 4 (first American spacewalk). From there we took a 3 hour tour that took us thru a number of exhibit rooms in the museum. The tour was only supposed to be a hour and half, but it was a small group and the guide was having blast showing us around. This is another case of someone that really loves their job and enjoys sharing his information.
After the tour we watched Cosmic Collisions in the Einstein Planetarium and Hubble 3D in the Smithsonian IMAX Theater. The IMAX presentation was really cool showing film that was shot during the various repair missions along with pictures taken by the Hubble telescope of distant galaxies and stars. We also spent some time wondering thru parts of the Museum some more.
Some of the highlights of the day included seeing the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules that flew in space, Lunar Lander 2, the spacesuit that was worn by Eugene Cernan(last man to walk on the moon), a Minuteman missile, the Spirit of St. Louis, a plane flown by Amelia Earhart, the 1903 Wright Flyer, various early commercial planes, World War II planes, X-15 that set numerous speed records.