Saturday, July 28, 2012

Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

When you walk into the main entrance you find yourself on a balcony looking out
on a hanger filled with aeronautical history.  In the distance, in the next hanger
sits the Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103).  I had been to the Smithsonian
Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum before but the arrival of the Discovery
gave me a great excuse to come back for another visit.

On July 13, 1995,  I watched Discovery launch(STS-70) from the press mound at KSC.
It was a great experience I will never forget.

On that mission she deployed a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) which is pictured
above her in the picture below.

As a Florida resident I watched dozens of shuttle launches from a distance, many from
my driveway which is about 120 miles from Kennedy Space Center.
From that distance or even on TV the shuttles looked powerful, even elegant.
Up close it's a much different story, it's hard to believe that Discovery flew at
17,000 miles per hour.  I am very happy that the Smithsonian did not clean Discovery
before putting her on display.  She is filthy.  The signs of an abusive re-entry are visible
all over the orbiter.  On many of the heat tiles you can see linear marks showing
the direction of re-entry.  It's an amazing specimen everyone should see in person.

I found this curious item in a display case next to Discovery.
It's an Apollo timer.  Fans of this blog and my Youtube channel know where this
is headed, that would make a nice GoPro panning unit.

The "Hazy" is a great museum with much to see.  Below are a few snapshots of
a few of my favorite planes and some history making aircraft.
Best thing, it's free. Second best thing, there is empty floor and roof space
which means this museum will be growing.  There is a restoration hanger with several
planes being restored as I write this post.
So, if you visit our nations capital make the drive out to northern Virginia and see
one of the best air and space museums in the country.


  1. Hmm, it looks like I might need to give Qantas a call and get myself over there. I went to Virginia once to see where George Washington lived and loved it. He built this big glass atrium that so impressed us that when I had a big glass room put on the back of my house we called it the GWR - the George Washington Room. That's what it is called to this day. We loved the Smithsonian in Washington DC for the space section (and the woolly mammoth), so it looks like this one will have to go on the to-do list. Thank you for sharing.

  2. The best thing about the Hazy is that it has room to grow unlike the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. It is located near Dulles International Airport, so it could be seen on a long layover.
    Come on over!


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