Category Book of Flight

Modern Fighters

TODAYS jet Fighters are among the fastest planes ever built. The F-16 Fighting Falcon, for example, can fly at more than twice the speed of sound. Alodern fighters use “fly by wire” flight. This means physical cables no longer pull on control surfaces su ch as the rudder. Instead, computers send signals along electric wires to motors that move control surfaces.

To increase speed, supersonic fighters today have streamlined bodies with pointed noses and swept-back or arrow-shaped wings. Some have ultra-thin wing edges to reduce drag and cut through air easily at high speeds. To withstand the scorching heat of supersonic speeds, the planes have "skins” of heat-resistant metals such as titanium.

Most fighters intercept and attack other aircraft. They may also attack ground targets. Pilots today locate targets electronically and fire deadly radar-guided or heat-seeking missiles. Modern fighters can cost up to $50 million each! MucJj of the cost is for electronic radar, flight, and navigation systems.


► F-18 Hornet Research Fighter

image152image153image154This F-18 has been modified to test a new feature. Strakes, hinged structures on its nose, open to stabilize the jet as it dives at a steep angle of attack. They give the pilot better handling in an otherwise dangerous maneuver.

Fun Fact: Teamwork



Подпись:A Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

The first "stealth" plane in combat, the F-117A (above and left) flew in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Its shape and special paint scatter radar beams to help it fly undetected. Hunting at night, the Nighthawk fires laser-guided missiles.

►Thunderbirds on Display

F-16 Thunderb! rds, the U. S.Air Force demonstration team, roar into a Diamond formation. A pilot’s view (below) shows how close the jets fly. Such maneuvers showcase both the pilots’precision and skill and the capabilities of the F-16.

4 A-10 Thunderbolt II

Sweeping down from the sky, an A-10 Thunderbolt II dives to attack. Designed to support ground troops, it can fly low and slow to destroy targets such as tanks with guns and missiles. The A-10 served in rescue missions during the GulfWar.

One recent design idea for a reusable spacecraft was the X-33, or VentureStar

Based on the "lifting body," it would lift off in an upright position, orbit, then return to Earth and land belly-down on a runway.

Another design was the X-37. It would be launched into orbit from the space shuttle. It would work in orbit, then return to Earth by its own power.

The X–43 was a plane designed to launch spacecraft into orbit. Known as the “Hyper X, th is plane would fly at "hypersonic" speeds, many times the speed of sound. A “scram-jet engine would allow it to use oxygen from the air to burn fuel, instead of using costly rocket fuel. The Hyper-X could launch craft into space at a tenth the cost of the rocket-propelled space shuttle. In coming years, scientists will continue research to develop new experimental concepts.


4 Hyper-X

In this artist’s concept, the X-*3,or Hyper-X research plane, roars up towa’d the fringes of space. Such planes, resigned to fly many times tne speed of sound, may one day oe usee to launch vehicles into space orbit.


The X-33, or VentureStar, flies in Earth orbit in this artist’s concept. It is one of many ideas for reusable vehicles to lower the cost of space travel. It would take off like a rocket, orbit, and land horizontally, like an arpiare.

Fun Fact: Split-Second Timing

The fastest "air-breathing," wingec aircra’t today, the SR-71 Blackbird, travels in soeeds measured in tens of miles-per-minute. Hypersonic p’a^es like the Hyper-X may travel in speeds of miles-per-second!

Подпись: IZI image256image257► Mother Ship

This art shows how the Hyper-X would be launched, riding on a rocket uncer the wing of a B-52. Dropped at 43,000 feet, the rocket would boost the Hyper-X to

100,0 feet, then fall off. The plane would fly on by its own power.

Testing, Testing

Scientist Vince Rausch holds a model Hyper-X mounted on a rocket in a wind tunnel. Wind-tunnel tests show such a plane could fly to Mach 10 to reach space. In an artist’s concept (right), a Pegasus rocket lifts a Hyper-X on its nose.

* X-37


Подпись: l .. .

In this imaginary scene, the X-37 is ready for launch from the payload bay of a space shuttle, Aoout half the length of the shuttle, this craft would orbit up to 21 days, performing experiments. lt would then return to Earth on its own.


Spy in the Sky

FOR years a top secret, the existence of military spy planes made world headlines in 1960 when one was captured. Francis Gary Powers, American pilot of a U-2 reconnaissance jet, was caught spying1 over the Soviet Union and shot down.

The U-2 was designed in the 1950s, during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. It was a long-winged, glider-like plane with a panoramic camera. Flying at high altitudes, it took photographs to search for Soviet ballistic missiles.

In the 1960s, another spy plane, the Lockheed SR-~1 Blackbird, was introduced. It could fly even higher and laster than the U-2 and photograph 100,000 square miles. The first stealth plane, it had a flattened shape and dark coating that helped it elude radar.

Today, both planes still fly missions to monitor world hot spots. By giving warning of dangerous conflicts, they help world leaders plan strategies.

Plying High

The Lotkheed U-2 is a hfgh – a titude reconnaissance jet. Its 80-foot wingspan^ives it lift to fly o. e’ 73,00C”eet.’t first flew over the Soviet _"’or n :re 19501s to pHotograph missi e activity.

U-2 Camera

image157"7vs U-2 Нусог В came’ayow г the Museum, took retailed ground pictures of Cuba, ike the one at top center in the ‘960s/ney revealed Soviet missiles, which iec to the Cuban Missile Cr sis.

Подпись: * PILOT'S SEAT A maze of dials and controls surrounds the pilot in the SR-71 cockpit. When the craft rips through the sky at full speed, the windscreen gets so hot pilots cannot touch it long, even with heavy gloves. IL Some pilots use the screen to heat food!
Lockheed SR-71

This high-altitude spy plane flies faster than any other aircraft. It set a speed record of 2,193 miles an hour. Like the U-2, it takes reconnaissance photographs. The plane’s shape and dark color earned it the name "Blackbird."

B-2 Stealth Bomber

One of the most technically advanced of all aircraft, the B-2 Stealth Bomber has a flying wing design and sophisticated computer technology. Its shape and dark coating help it penetrate enemy defenses without detection. First test flown in 1989, it served in the conflict in the Balkans.

image158Global Hawk

This experimental unmanned aircraft was developed by the Air Force. Its mission is to give military commanders a high-altitude, long-endurance system to photograph large geographic areas.

Fun Fact: Speedy Spy Plane

The SR-71 can fly at altitudes of 90,000 feet and as fast as Mach 3.3. It has set several speed records, including a flight between Los Angeles, California and Washington, D. C. in just 64 minutes!


JET power, first used in World War II, transformed the world of flight. With superior thrust, jet engines allowed planes to fly longer distances at higher speeds. In 1952, the First commercial jetliner, the British De I lavilland Comet, began service.

The Comet Hew 490 miles an hour, faster than any other passenger plane. Its 44 passen­gers traveled eight miles up in a comfortable pressurized cabin. Quiet jet engines made the ride smooth and relaxing. Yet in 1954, two Comets exploded in midair. The cause w as high-altitude stress on the plane’s metal body.


Подпись: < AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL In the control tower at an airport, air traffic controllers track aircraft on radar screens. Each symbol on the screen indicates a plane's position in its flight path. Controllers communicate with pilots by radio to safely guide each plane. Подпись: ► INSIDE A JUMBO JET Flight attendants serve a meal to passengers on a Pan Am 747 in the 1970s. The new wide body of this jet allowed seating of 10 passengers in a row, up to 373 passengers in total.Today's 747 measures 231 feet holds 416 passengers and 57,000 gallons of fuel!

The next jet airliners were built with strong, pressure-resistant fuselages. I he American Boeing 707, introduced in 1957, was sale, fast, and comlortcible, with 145 seats. In 1969, Boeing built the lirst jumbo jet—the 747. I Ins became the world’s most successful jetliner. With a wide – body f uselage that can seat over 400, it lowered the cost of tur travel. Today, millions of people around the world have flown in the 747.


Подпись: ,MПодпись: ovПодпись:Подпись:Подпись:Подпись:Подпись:Подпись:Подпись: 69image162"

< Boeing 707

Sleek and streamlined, the Boeing /07 was the first II. S.jet transport airliner. It measured 144 feet long, with a wingspan of 130 feet. Flying nearly 600 miles an hour, it cut previous travel time nearly in half.

▼ The President’s Plane

Air force One, a Boeing 747, soars majestically ovei Mount Rushrnore, South Dakota. This plane carries the President of the United States on business around the world. It has a special interior for the President.


The Concorde, developed by the British and French, is the world’s only supersonic jetliner. It first flew in 1969. Able to fly over twice the speed of sound, it could whisk passengers across the Atlantic in three and a half hours. The crash of an Air France Concorde in 2000 resulted in the grounding of all Concordes for safety testing

Подпись: Helicopters
Подпись:image163NLIKE fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters have

whirling rotary wings, called rotors. Helicopters can fly forwards, backwards, sideways, straight up or down, and hover in one spot. The idea of the helicopter is very old. The ancient Chinese had a toy helicopter, called a “flying top.” Early designers, including Sir George Cayley, inventor of the glider, envisioned helicopters. Yet it was not until much later that real helicopters appeared. In 1907, Frenchman Paul Cornu built anti flew a helicopter m the lirst free flight. The double-rotor craft rose five feet olf the ground for 20 seconds.

Spy in the Sky

The f li st practical single-rotor helicopters were invented by Igor Sikorsky in the 1950s. Since then, helicopters have performed many tasks other planes cannot. Because they can take off and land in small spaces and hover, helicopters serve as rescue craft, flying ambulances, lifting vehicles, and traffic observers. Modern helicopters range from small, light craft to heavy military gunships and transports.

Подпись: Vimage166image167"image168Подпись: I


Invented in 1925, the autogiro (top) was a combination of an airplane and a helicopter. It used a propeller to move forward, but a wind-blown rotor for lift. The craft could not hover, but could use its rotor to fly very slowly.

Helicopter Commuter

New York Airways, the "first Helicopter Airline," offered early commuter service in this 15-passenger Vertol 44B helicopter. lt flew day and night between Manhattan La Guardia and Newark Airports. It carried passengers, freight, and mail. The helicopter also flew sightseeing flights.

► Firefighter

A large helicopter calleo an aircrane loads

2,0 gallons of water by a hose from a lake. It will fly to a raging forest fire in California. Crew aboard will use the water to help battle the fire.

Helicopter Rescue Team

A U. S. Coast Guard helicopter hoists rescue swimmer Jason Shepard back aboard after a day of training. Helicopters with trained crew fly in to save people trapped on sinking ships or stranded at sea.

Mission to Mars

MARS, the red planet, has tascinated people lor centuries.

Since the 1960s, many have dreamed of exploring: and perhaps colonizing Mars. Earth’s neighbor in the solar system, Mars lies about 40 million miles away. About hall the size of Earth, it has many features similar to Earth’s. These include mountains, canyons, and polar ice caps. Yet Mars’ air is 100 times thinner than Earth’s and the planet is a freezing desert.

In 1976, two ’iking landers touched down on Mars and in 1997, Pathfinder landed. I hese craft sent back images that showed Mars to be rocky and arid. Yet scientists believe. Mars once had water that may have held microscopic life. In 2001, .Mars Odyssey was launched to orbit Mars. It v ill analyze. Mars’ surface and look for water underground. Such probes may pave the way for human explorers. A human mission to Mars would take about two years. The travelers would explore Mars for months, extracting Oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide atmosphere. They might find fossils, actual proof of other life in the universe.

No one knows what lies in the future. Yet, as the story of flight has shown, tomorrow will be exciting as dreams become reality.


Parachute Landing

In this artist’s concept, a Mars landing module glides down from a spacecraft by parachute. After land ng, the astronauts would explore the planet by a rover vehicle and study its potential for supporting human life.

< Tales Told by Rocks

A mission specialist in geology examines a rock she has picked up on Mars. Scientists exploring the planet will look for clues to possible early life in rocks. If any life forms have existed, the best evidence would be found in fossils.

▼ Taking a Look

Iwo explorers stop their vehicle to get out and look at robot lander craft sent to Mars years before. No plans now exist for a human mission to Mars. Yet experts hope such a mission will take place perhaps in the next 20 years.

Fun Fact: Pure Fiction

In 1898, British author H. G Wells wrote the Worofthe Worlds, з novel about creatures from Mars invading Earth. ln 1938,the story was broadcast on radio. lt was so convincing, many believed the invasion was real1

Fun Fact: Sightseeing on Mars

Visitors to Mars will see remarkable things. Mars has a volcano three times taller than Mount Everest and a huge canyon. It is four times deeper and ten times longer than the Grand Canyon.



[1] Bendix Trophy

One of the top racing prizes, the Bendix Trophy was first awarded in was given to the winner of the Bendix Transcontinental Race between Los Angeles and Cleveland.

[2] It’s a Car, It’s a Plane

Called the "Flying Car," a 1947 Convair Model 118 ConAirCar consisted of a two – seater car and an aircraft frame with a 180 horsepower engine. Designed for convenient personal use, it was meant to fly and drive. Unfortunately, it ran out of gas in flight and crashed.

[3] R-7 Rocket

The 100-foot-high Soviet R-7 rocket which launched Sputnik was the biggest rocket in existence at the time. At liftoff, its five powerful rocket engines generated about 900,000 pounds of thrust, 16 times as much as the V-2.

[4] Apollo 11 Launch

Seconds after ignition, Apollo 11 rises as a tower of flames pours from Saturn V’s engines. In 27. minutes, the first stage boosted the craft 35 miles above Earth, traveling 6,000 miles an hour. Then the second stage fired.

Orking Planes

О DAY, specialized aircraft perform a variety of

important jobs. Planes transport military troops, carry relief cargoes of food and medicine to people in disaster-hit areas, dust crops with chemicals to fight insect pests, fight fires, patrol large areas, and monitor weather conditions. In remote or wilderness regions, rugged bush planes are the only way doctors and other people can reach isolated outposts. In war zones, large transport aircraft move and drop thousands of military troops.

Some planes are small craft designed for fun, sport, and leisure flying. Each

Подпись: A PIPER CUB A flying classic, the Piper Cub J-3 was introduced in 1936.This two-seat light plane is now in the Museum. Cubs were used as trainers for military and private pilots and flown for recreation.The Cub's cruising speed was 80 miles an hour. Подпись: WEATHER AIRCRAFT A Weather Service DC-6 (top) has a long gust prooe and other instruments to gather weather data aloft.This helps forecasters predict weather systems. Above, visitors inspect an Orion P-З hurricane hunter plane, (t flies into the huge whirling storms to pinpoint their position and strength for hurricane forecasters in Miami. Symbo s on the plane's side indicate hurricanes the plane has tracked.

ttPQT inttpntnrc rnnhnup ПРС1ПГП


▼ Bush Plane

A hunter poses with his game and a Noorduyn Norseman float plane he flew on a hunting trip in Canada. Bush planes carry hunters, wilderness explorers, and medical teams to remote spots no other transportation can reach. [2]

Water Bomber

Whoosh! A C-130 Hercules drops a load of water mixed with fire retardant chemicals over a forest fire in California. The versatile C-130 is also widely used as a military transport and cargo plane.

V Parachute Drop

Military paratroopers jump from a C-141B Starlifter during a training mission. The Starlifter transports combat troops over long distances. It delivers both soldiers and supplies and also carries wounded soldiers to hospitals.

л Airlift

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division wait to be airlifted by transport planes at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Military planes can move many thousands of forces quickly to training stations or combat zones.

Odern Record Breakers

N the last few decades, aviators have continued to set new records. In 1977, American cyclist Bryan Allen used leg muscle to pedal the First human-powered aircraft, the Giwamer Connor A pedaling mechanism drove a propeller, powering the craft to 11 miles an hour. Alade of cardboard, aluminum, and plastic, the ultra­light plane weighed 207 pounds, including the pilot! In 1980, Allen pedaled (hwamcrАІЬаІгом over the English Channel.

In 1986, pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager set a milestone aviation record, Hying nonstop around the world without refueling. They made the trip in nine days in the Voyanir. Extra fuel tanks were built in the plane’s long, thin wings.

Finally in 1999, the Brcilliny Orbilcr J, a shiny silver-colored balloon, made the first round-the-world balloon trip. Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard and British co-pilot Brian Jones flew’ for 30,000 miles, crossing mountains, deserts, and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.


image174Gossamer Albatross

In 1980, cyclist Bryan Allen test flies the Gossamer Albatross, a human-powered craft operated by pedaling. Flown by Allen, the Gossamer Albatross won the Kremer Prize for human-powered flight when it crossed the English Channel.

* Brutling Orbiter )

Covered with a skin of silver mylar, the Breitling Orbiter 3 was fi1 ed with helium and hot air. The balloon’s gondola (below) held tanks of propane fuel, oxygen to breathe, and tinycrewquarters. lt is today displayed in the Museum.



For no it war…eery emotional to feel the luck ice had ^ to fly around tbit f, І beautiful world. ” ^ / ,

Of ‘ Щ

—Bertrand Piccard, co-pilot ; ,1

> Around the World in 20 Days

Breitling Orbiter 3 drifts over the Alps on its 30,000-mile journey around the globe in 1999.The long trip also set a balloon flight duration record of 19 days,

21 hours, and 55 minutes.

image175ROCKETS have been around For centuries. The

Chinese used gunpowder rockets as weapons as early as the 13th century. They filled pointed bamboo tubes with gunpowder, sealed one end and lit the other. The explosion created a thrust, or pushing force, that propelled the rocket the opposite way. Rockets were later fired in the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key described their "red glare in the "Star Spangled Banner.”

In the 20th century, scientists developed rockets to explore space. Rocket engines arc the only engines that can operate in the vacuum of space. In space there is no air, and so no oxygen. Rockets carry both fuel and their own oxygen supply, called an oxidizer. Large rockets can also produce tremendous power, enough to escape Fai th s gravity. In 1926, American scientist Dr. Robert Goddard launched the first liquid – propellant rocket. He concluded that a rocket could be more efficiently propelled by liquid fuel. In World War II, Germany built powerful rocket weapons. Then in 1957, the Soviet Union stunned the world by using a rocket to launch the first Earth-orbiting satellite, Sputnik.

+ < V-2’Vengeance Weapon"

One of Germany’s most frightening weapons, a V-2 rocket roars into the sky during World War II. The first long-range ballistic missile, it carried 2,000 pounds of explosives. Over 3,000 were fired at Britain and other targets.

H Ready for Launch

Germans prepare a V-2 for launching. Small by modern standards, the V-2 was 46 feet tall. The forerunner of later rockets, it could race 150 miles in five minutes and destroy whole city blocks.

Inside the V-2

The V-2 got its powerful thrust by burning alcohol using liquid oxygen. These were mixed and ignited in a combustion chamber, creating hot gases. As they expanded they burst from the rocket’s nozzle, forcing it upward. The V-2’s explosives were carried in its nose.

Подпись: iN^useimage177


On October 4,1957, a Soviet launched the first satellite. Sputnik ("Traveling Companion").A metal ball 23 inches across, it orbited Earth, sending "beep, beep" radio signals. A re Sputnik hangs in the Museum. [3]

Goddard щ Rocket

In 1941, Dr. Robert Goddard (top picture, left) examines one of his most advanced rockets as his assistants watch. This S^22-foot-high test rocket was fueled with gasoline and liquid oxygen. lt is today displayed in the National Air and Space Museum.

A 1935 A-3 Rocket

Three of Dr. Goddard’s assistants lift his liquid-fueled A-34ocket to fit it into a launch tower in Roswell, New Mexico. In the secluded southwest desert, Goddard tested many of his inventions.

Robert H. Goddard (1882-191,5)

Dr. Robert H. Goddard, inventor of the first flying liquid-propellant rocket, stands beside his creation. On March 16,1926, the Massachusetts physics professor launched the rocket from his aunt’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. Fueled with liquid oxygen and gasoline, it shot up 41 feet in 27: seconds oddard envisioned multi-stage rockets and using rockets to reach the Moon.

He is considered the father of American rocketry.


Подпись:THE space age began with the launch of Sputnik in 1957. In 1959, the United States began testing a new aircraft. Sleek, streamlined, and rocket- powered, the North American X-15 was the fastest, highest-flying airplane ever built. Its purpose was to fly to the end of the atmosphere and up into the edge of space. It gathered information that was later of great use to engineers planning a U. S. space program.

The X-15 was made of a strong heat-resistant metal alloy to endure the heat of hypersonic (many times faster than sound) speeds. It was able to withstand 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The X-15 flew to an incredible 354,200 feet, over 67 miles high, and reached a speed о f 4,520 miles an hour, or Mach 6.7. The pilot used air controls in the atmosphere and fired rocket thrusters to maneuver in space. I low did he know which controls to use? Test pilot Scott Crossfield said, “When one didn’t work, I simply used the other.”

► H2-F3 Lifting Body

image180Another experimental vehicle was a wingless aircraft called a "lifting body." Launched in mid-air from a B-52, the craft could fly about 17 miles high a: nearfy 1,240 miles an hour. This Northrop M2-F3 now hangs in the Museum.

Подпись: ■ *Подпись:Подпись:image181"Подпись: * SKY SIGNATURE Rocketing toward the Sun, the X-15 leaves a long plume of condensed vapor, a contrail, in the sky. Back on the ground (above), the X-15 gets a checkup as its B-52 mother plane flies overhead.The X-15 was the first plane to fly past Mach 6. Подпись: ■image182

* Astronaut Wings

Five pilots who flew the X-15 went so high they were awarded astronaut wings for space travel. Space is considered to begin at an altitude of 50 miles. The X-15 flew to over 67 miles.

►North American X-15

In 1967, this rocket-powered research plane reached the threshold of space. It flew to 354,200 feet, a record for winged craft that still stands. One of the three X-15s built now hangs in the National Air and Space Museum.

Mercury and Gemini

BY the 1960s, the United States was competing with the Soviet Union lor supremacy in a “Space Race.” Both nations launched rockets j carrying animals — dogs and monkeys —to test space flight on living things.

On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union moved ahead in the race by putting the first man into orbit. He was cosmonaut, or "sailor of the cosmos,” Yuri Gagarin. The United States responded with its piloted Alercury spacecraft. The first one, on May 5, 1961, carried astronaut, or "star sailor,” Alan Shepard on a 15-minute flight that did not go into orbit. On February 20, 1962, Mercury’s Friencbhip 7 blasted into orbit wi th John Glenn.

The next step was Gemini, a two-person spacecraft program. Gemini astronauts practiced docking with other spacecraft and other skills that would be needed lor a mission to the. Moon. Now the race to the Moon was on!

Подпись: ►JOHNGLENN(1921- ) On February 20,1962, John Glenn (right) became the first American to orbit the Earth. He was shot into space in the Mercury Friendship 7, and circled the Earth three times. When the spacecraft's automatic controls malfunctioned. Glenn manually flew the ship and kept it on course. He was the first person to do so. Glenn kept flight notes in the notebook at right. After his career as an astronaut, Glenn served as a U.S. senator from Ohio. In 1998, he again flew in space aboard the space shuttle.
Подпись: I


< Gehihi Firsts

A hundred miles above the Earth,

Gemini 4 astronaut Ed White takes the first U. S. spacewalk June 3,1965. It lasted 23 minutes. On December 15,1965, Gemini 6 edges to within a fpw feet of Gemini 7 in the first rendezvous of piloted U. S.spacecraft.

T Snug fu

Inside the tiny cabin of Freedom 7, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard lies in a couch surrounded by instruments. The first U. S. piloted spacecraft, it was just big enough for one person to squeeze into.

image187"image188Подпись: v LET'S Go! Baker, a squirrel monkey, sits on a model Jupiter rocket. In 1959, she rode in a real Jupiter rocket 300 miles high at 10,000 miles an hour. She returned to Earth alive, paving the way for human space flight. Подпись:image189"HREE, two, one—we have liftoff!” With these words, rocket engines explode with a deafening roar, spewing out columns of fire and gas. Smoke billows into the sky and the ground shakes as the mighty engines thrust the rocket into the sky and send it hurtling toward space.

On these pages you can see rockets of

(many sizes and shapes developed during the

Space Age. They were built for many purposes. Some were used as missiles, or weapons.

Others were used as launching vehicles to send communications or weather satellites into space. And some have launched spacecraft with animals and human beings into space.

The Saturn V rockets were the largest, most powerful ever built. They were used to launch the Apollo missions to the Moon. Each Saturn V rocket had three stages. Stacked all together, the rocket stood nearly as tall as a 40 story building! Il weighed over 3,000 tons, most of that nearly 2,950 tons ol rocket fuel. [4]

Mercury and Gemini

► Space Shuttle

[railing clouds of steam and fire, the space shuttle Endeavour thunders into the sky. The shuttle’s twin rocket boosters along with its main engines lift the ship up toward Earth orbit.


Fun Fact: Power to Burn


The energy produced by Saturn V’s first staqe engines alone was about 160 million horsepower, roughly the same as that created by 86 Hoover Dams!





IN 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that America would land a man on the Aloon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade. On July 16, 1969, the first craft scheduled for a Aloon landing, Apollo 1 1, lifted off. On the craft were astronauts Neil Armstrong, Alichael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin.

The spacecraft had three parts: The command module carried the astronauts to and from the Aloon. The size of a large automobile, it was where the astronauts ate, slept, and worked.

The service module contained fuel and power equipment. The combined command and service module unit was called Columbia. I he lunar module, called the Eagle,, was the vehicle to land two astronauts on the Aloon.

After breaking away from earth’s gravity, Apollo 1 1 set a course for the Aloon. Michael Collins separated Columbia from the Eagle, then maneuvered around to dock with Eagle in position for the Aloon landing. It took three days of traveling to reach the Moon. An amazing event in history was about to happen.


Onboard Computer

This computer, in the Museum’s collection, controlled many systems on tne Apollo 11 spacecraft, including its movements fn space. Sometimes the astronauts switched to manual controls to steer the craft if they saw unexpected obstacles in the way.

► Ready for Launch

In this scene, experts gather at an early launch control center at Cape Canaveral, Florica, for the launch of an early Saturn rocket. Some peer up periscopes to check the rocket. Today, a control center at Kennedy Space Center in Florida monitors launches. After liftoff, Mission Control in Houston, Texas takes over monitoring the spacecraft.

* Log Book

Apollo 11 astronauts took this log book along on their historic mission to the Moon. It gives instructions for tasks they performed in fi ght, indud ng photographing clouds and other objects for scientists on Eanh to study.


^ ..



> –


Fun Fact: Space Meals


Talk about fast food! The Apollo 11 astronauts ate freeze-dried meals that were lightweight and easily stored in sealed packets. A typical meal? Dried chicken and rice, biscuit cubes, and juice. The astronauts squirted water into the bags of dry foods to eat them.




* Orbit Нар

After launch, Apollo 11 orbited around the Earth as the astronauts carefully positioned the craft for the lunar journey. Then, the ship blasted free of Earth orbit, and set course for the Moon. This map plots the path of Apollo 11 as it traveled around the Earth.

► Mission Ратсш

Embroidered mission patches show the names of astronauts on each mission and a picture symbolizing each flight. Missions include, from top: Apollo 7, Apollo 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 10,and Apollo 11.

One Small Step

ON July 19, 1969, Apollo 11 reached lunar orbit. The next day Alichael Collins piloted Columbia in I orbit around the Aloon as the other two! astronauts crawled into the lunar module Eagle. Neil Armstrong fired Eagle’s descent engine.

Th en he gently landed Eagle s spiderlike legs on the Moon’s surface. In words broadcast to parth, he announced to. Mission Control in I Iouston. Texas: "The Eagle has landed.”

Dressed in a space suit, Armstrong opened Eagle’s hatch and stepped down onto the Aloon. The first human to explore a new world, he described his step as a "giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin soon followed. A TV camera showed the amazing event to viewers on Earth. The two astronauts spent 2 hours on the Aloon s surface. They planted an American flag, collected Moon rocks, took photographs and scientific measurements, and received a telephone call from President Richard Nixon. Finally, they returned to the Eagle. Alter 21 hours and 36 minutes on the Aloon, they lifted off to dock with Columbia for the journey home.

< Greetings From Earth

During their historic visit to the Moon, Apollo 11 astronauts left this aluminum plaque behind. Its message of peace was signed by all three astronauts and by • U. S. President Richard M. Nixon.

► Moon Visitor

The second man on the Moon, astronaut Buzz Aldrin climbs down the ladder of the lunar module Eagle to the lunar surface. He and astronaut Neil Armstrong explored the Moon’s surface and collected lunar rock and soil samples.

Fun Fact: Feeling Light

image197"The Moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of Earth’s. This allowed the astronauts on the Moon to jump high easily. If you jumped lightly on the Moon, it would feel like bouncing on a trampoline.



Apollo ii Crew

Astronauts of Apollo 11 made the first successful landing on the Moon. From left: Neil Armstrong, flight commander, Michael Collins, pilot of the command module Columbia, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., co-pilot of the lunar module Eagle.

У Splashdown

After reentering Earth’s atmosphere, protected from the fiery heat by their spacecraft’s heat shield, the astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Navy divers arrived by helicopter to rescue them.

image201"FTER Apollo 11, five more Apollo missions landed on the Moon. The last three missions brought along a special car, called the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Known as the Lunar Rover, or "Moon buggy,” this battery-powered car helped the astronauts drive for miles over ihe Moon to collect rock and soil samples and explore its dusty surface.

The Rover had a TV camera so people on Earth could see what the astronauts saw. Viewers discovered an amazing variety of terrain, including lunar plains, canyons, anti craters.

The astronauts worked outside for several hours a day, exploring, doing scientific experiments, and collecting samples.

All together, the Apollo astronauts collected 855 pounds of rock in many dillerent sizes. One discovery was a rock found to be over four billions years old. Called the "genesis rock, ” it was thought to be part of the Moon’s original crust. Such geological clues helped scientists unlock many secrets ol the Moon’s past.

т Lunar Rover

Подпись: ▼ TAKING SAMPLES Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean holds a special metal sample container filled with lunar soil. His visor reflects astronaut Pete Conrad, who took the picture.The samples the Apollo astronauts brought back helped scientists learn about the history of both the Moon and the solar system.

image204The Lunar Rover was made of lightweight metal, mainly aluminum. It hail wire mesh tires to grip the dusty lunar surface. The battery- powered car had a TV camera, umbrella-shaped antenna, and tool rack. lt could travel 7 miles an hour. In it, the astronauts explored many miles from base.

One Small Step

One Small Step

* Rock Hunt

Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke looks for samples at Station 1,an exploration site.

At left, a famous makeshift golf club was swung by Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard just before he left the Moon. The Moon’s gravity, one-sixth that of Earth’s, helped him hit two balls 200 and 400 yards.




OLLO 17 was the last mission to visit the Moon. At the end of the mission in 1972, the astronauts left behind a plaque. It signaled the end of the human Moon explorations. When the astronauts climbed into their lunar module and left lor home, they had completed a great adventure and an important job.

Подпись:image207image208A total ol 12 men landed on the Moon. They gathered a vast store of knowledge. From rock and soil samples, scientists learned about the Moon’s formation, history, and chemistry. They discovered that iMoon minerals are similar to Earth’s but many have heavier iron and titanium content. They found the Moon has a very thin atmosphere of helium, hydrogen, argon, and neon. They also found that the Moon has a magnetic. field.

Considered one of the greatest scientific achievements of human history, Apollo established the United States as the world leader in space technology. It also began an exciting new era of exploring the frontiers of space.

Подпись:Подпись:Подпись:Fun Fact: Long Way From Home

The Moon’s distance from Earth is about

239,0 miles. Apollo 11 took a total of four days to get to the Moon, traveling at speeds of up to 24,182 miles an hour.


Racing for the Skies


H E years between World War I and World War 11 are often called the Golden Age of Aviation. During this time people believed anything was possible. Designers worked constantly to build better performing planes. Fliers pushed the limits of flying. They set new records for distance, speed, duration, and altitude. In this period, many famous air races were established. Pilots competed for trophies, prize money, and the glory of conquering the skies.

Подпись: \KThe National Air Races in the United States drew huge crowds in the 1930s. Famous races included the 50-mile speed race for the Thompson Trophy and the long-distance, cross-country race for the Bend і Ц Trophy.

The Schneider Trophy race, a competition for seaplanes, was held from 1913 to 1938. France won the first Schneider Trophy in 1913 with an average speed ol 46 miles an hour. In 1931, a British plane won. Its average speed—340 miles an hour — shows how far airplanes had come.


< Wiley Post (1899-1935)

Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world in 1933. He also set early altitude records and designed the first pressure suit. Here, Post wears an early design of his suit, adapted from a deep-sea diver’s outfit. It supplied oxygen from a tube to the helmet and allowed Post to reach heights of nearly 55,000 feet. He proved that flying in the jet stream, a high, fast-flowing river of air, could increase a plane’s speed. Post died in a crash in 1935 with his friend, humorist Will Rogers.

Fun Fact: Powder Puff Derby


In 1929, the first U. S. women’s air race, the Women’s Air Derby, was held. It was a cross-country race. Humorist Will Rogers called it the"Powder Puff Derby." Among 23 fliers in the derby was Amelia Earhart.




I is// s/ lIHi TIOM COS TEST

і» « 1 [1]i m ■« % – fumr)


Saturday. September 12

southern railway


■ Wf

Racing Souvenirs

Mementos from the Museum collection recall the era of early air races. They include a poster for the 1932 National Air Races, an advertisement for the 1928 Schneider Trophy seaplane race, and a ticket to the 1929 National Air Races.

Fun Fact: Pylon Polishing

In the 1920s, racing pilots began flying as close as possible around pylons, the tall checkered markers, without crashing into them. This skill, called "Pylon Polishing,"thrilled fans.


Wihhie Mae

Wiley Post set two round-the-world records in his Lockheed Vega, Winnie Moe. lhis painting shows the Winnie Мое carrying Post and a navigator over the Volga River in 1931. They circled the globe in 8 days and 15 hours. In 1933, Post flew the 15,596-mile trip solo in 7 days and 19 hours.

► James H. "Jimmy” Dooumt


A famous flier of the Golden Age, Army Lieutenant Jimmy Doolittle served in World War I as a flight instructor. In 1929, he became the first pilot to fly "blind," using only instruments to take off, fly, and land. A top racing pilot, Doolittle won the 1925 Schneider Trophy in a U. S.Army float plane (above). In 1931, he won the Bendix transcontinental air race.

The next year, Doolittle set a world record of 294 miles an hour when he flew a Gee Bee race plane and won the Thompson Trophy.