Air and Space Museum in Washington

The Air and Space Museum is located in the very centre of Washington, at the National Mall.  Like the majority of Washington museums, it is part of Smithsonian Institution, so the entrance is free of charge, but donations are welcome.

Something brought from other planets is certainly kept inside these stony cubes 😉

Voyager.  The first non-stop and non-refuelled flight around the world was made on this plane in 1986.

The car of Breitling Orbiter 3 stratospheric balloon.  Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones made in it a non-stop flight around the world in 1999.  It was the first flight like that made in a balloon.

Messerschmitt Me 262—the most powerful German jet fighter during the Second World War.

Lockheed XP-80 Lulu-Belle—prototype for America’s first practical jet aeroplane.

The famous U-2, an ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.  Still in service.

V-1, a German flying bomb of the Second World War.

In the foreground is V-2, the infamous Hitler’s ‘vengeance weapon’.  The first ballistic liquid-fuelled rocket, the first artificial flying machine that transcended the 100 kilometre altitude, a prototype of later after-war rockets.  In the background is the main section of the Skylab orbital station—a reserve exemplar that hasn’t been in space.  A small rocket between V-2 and Skylab is the first American liquid-fuelled rocket WAC Corporal.


Best enemies: to the left is the Soviet SS-20 Saber, to the right is the American MGM-31C Pershing II. Years ago they were deployed from the both sides of the iron curtain, now the are withdrawn from operational status according to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and are standing quite peacefully side by side at a museum 🙂

The Soviet Vostok spacecraft (with the third stage of the launcher) and the American Mercury.  Both models are made in the same scale so one can see how different the design is.

Mercury Friendship 7.  In this spacecraft astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth.

I never thought it’s so little space inside a spacecraft (sorry for a wordplay).  The Soviet spaceships were more spacious, but nevertheless.   Try to imagine yourselves on a place of an astronaut.  I hardly can…

And this is Gemini IV.  From this spacecraft, Edward H. White II performed an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), or ‘spacewalk’ on 3 June 1965. It was the first EVA in American history and the second one after the Soviet mission of Aleksei A. Leonov.

Once more Gemini IV

Apollo 11 command module Columbia. It carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, and Michael Collins on their historic voyage to the Moon and back on 16–24 July 1969.

A model of lunar module of Apollo

Hubble space telescope—a full-size test vehicle.

And a model of Apollo docked with the Soviet Soyuz: