L812 Spring 2019 Virtual Tour of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Space Artifacts Collection
Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Mar. 27–Apr.17
Instructor: Mark Weinstein
The two Washington area Smithsonian Air and Space Museums, the original on the Mall and newer Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, are national treasures. The Smithsonian gets the “pick of the litter” of the NASA and military service artifacts after they have completed their operational missions. The Air and Space Museum's artifact collection has a large number of unique spacecraft; several are the only ones left on Earth. As the collection has been split to provide a space story at both locations, this virtual tour will present a unique composite story. Of particular note, in January 2019 the Smithsonian began an eight-year building and collection revitalization program on the Mall. This virtual tour will show artifacts that will be out of sight in storage during these eight years. The tour will cover (1) manned spacecraft used to get to the moon, the space shuttle and the International Space Station, (2) the largest collection of satellites on Earth, (3) missiles used as weapons, (4) craft used to probe into our solar system and beyond and our craft on Mars, and (5) launch support equipment. The artifacts include the Space Shuttle Discovery, Dr. Robert Goddard’s early rockets, and many items used in the moon flights.
Mark Weinstein is a retired electrical engineer and an 11-year docent at both Smithsonian Air and Space Museums. He started building models when he was 10 and continued his avid interest in aviation and intelligence through a career in the active and reserve US Air Force, and then as part of the military-industrial complex. He has been an OLLI member for 11 years.