Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Opening the Best Package Ever!

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It was particularly timely that during the hustle and bustle of the 2014 holidays, I, along with curators Jennifer Levasseur and Cathleen Lewis, had a very special package to open for the very first time. We had astronaut Captain Gene Cernan and NASA to thank for the gift. Following his Apollo 17 mission, Capt. Cernan   …Continue Reading


To Jupiter and Beyond: Pioneer 10 and 11

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A full-size engineering model of the Pioneer 10 /11 spacecraft normally hangs in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the National Air and Space Museum. However, a few weeks ago it was removed and placed in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, while the Milestones gallery undergoes   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Paul Garber’s Target Kites

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Paul Garber (1899-1992) is a legend around the National Air and Space Museum, and rightly so. An aviation enthusiast and skillful kite- and model-maker since childhood who once watched Orville Wright fly overhead, he started working at the Smithsonian in 1920, building models and preparing aviation-themed exhibitions. For the next 72 years he dedicated himself   …Continue Reading


Hands and Gloves in Space

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There is a common saying that the hands are where the mind meets the world. In space there is no direct contact between the mind and the world. This transaction is mediated by the artificial structures called gloves. I came to realize the extent of this interference most profoundly several weeks ago when I saw   …Continue Reading


Advising on the Star Trek Starship Enterprise

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Who do you call when you need to know everything there is to know about the Star Trek starship Enterprise? As the curator for that artifact—the original 11-foot model used in filming the Star Trek television program that aired from 1966 until 1969—I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and learning about Star Trek. The   …Continue Reading