Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Conserving a WWII Black Widow Compressor

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The Museum has been tackling a variety of artifact treatments through its Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF) Triage Project. The goal of the project is to stabilize artifacts as they are moved from the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility to state-of-the-art storage located at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly,   …Continue Reading


Black Wings: The Life of African American Aviation Pioneer William Powell

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When African American pilot, engineer, and entrepreneur William Powell was a young adult, even the skies were segregated. Many would-be African American pilots, such as first licensed African American pilot Bessie Coleman, were forced to go to France for pilot training and licenses issued by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. According to a June 12, 2012 article in   …Continue Reading


USS Enterprise Conservation Begins Phase II

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Stardate 1601.28: After a year of extensive research, conservation work on the original studio model of the USS Enterprise is now underway in the Museum’s spacedock. Our goal is to stabilize the model and return it to its appearance from August of 1967, during the filming of the episode The Trouble with Tribbles, which marked the last   …Continue Reading


Remembering the Challenger Seven

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Since the loss of STS-51L took place 30 years ago on this date in 1986 I thought I would reflect on the lives of the crew that was lost in that tragedy. These seven astronauts—including the specialties of pilot, aerospace engineers, and scientists—died in the destruction of their spacecraft 73 seconds after launch from the   …Continue Reading


Discovering Alan Eustace’s Asymmetrical Gloves

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Every once in a while a curator will receive a new collection of objects that has in it one very special item that begs to have its story told. This recently happened to me when I unpacked Alan Eustace’s stratospheric spacesuit. The former Google executive and engineer, along with his StratEx team, set several records   …Continue Reading