Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

To Me, Mr. Nimoy Was Mr. Spock

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All actors create characters. Some of these characters even achieve iconic status. However, what Leonard Nimoy created was legendary. Spock appeals to so many different people in so many different ways. Prior to Star Trek, most television characters were formulaic. Dad wore a hat, mom wore a dress, and the children were all sugar coated.   …Continue Reading


Vance Marchbanks’ Contribution to Public Health Policy on Sickle Cell Disease

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Dr. Vance Marchbanks, Jr. is famous in both the black history and aerospace history communities for his accomplishments as one of the first in his field. He was one of two black MDs to complete the United States Army Air Corps School in Aerospace Medicine at the beginning of World War II. His fame continued   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: WWI U.S. Army Protective Helmet Used by American Rocket Society

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What does a piece of World War I Army surplus have to do with early rocketry? Well, a helmet from the war, painted white for easier visibility, provided protection for American Rocket Society members during rocket testing in the 1930s. One such member was G. Edward Pendray a newspaper reporter and editor, freelance writer, and   …Continue Reading


The Armstrong Purse: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Artifacts

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At the National Air and Space Museum, as elsewhere around the world, we were enormously saddened when we learned that Neil Alden Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, had died of complications associated with heart surgery in August 2012. Not long afterwards his family contacted the Museum about artifacts he left   …Continue Reading


Heinkel Night Fighter He 219: Wing Painting Complete

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Another important step in finishing the Museum’s He 219 Uhu (Owl) night fighter has been completed. Recently, the wing was painted and transported to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, for the aircraft’s final assembly. The painting stage was no easy task, and it required a lot of careful research before the actual work   …Continue Reading