National Air and Space Museum Dulles

Casual notes on our visit to National Air and Space Museum at Dulles (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)

Tower and Buildings of Dulles National Air and Space Museum
  • Impressive futuristic look, esp. control tower 165 ft above the ground
    • 360 degree view; Seeing from Blue Ridge (Shenandoah) to DC
    • Mock up of flight controllers work stations on floor below
  • Cost. $15 parking; entry $10/each; simulator ride $6/each; Food – captive at McD’s $7/each; Imax $6.50/each
  • The hangers are awesome. Filled with so many planes from lighter-than-air to Wright brothers through WWI and each decade thereafter, with a space shuttle and a stealth Blackbird
    • Metal walkways 25′ about the floor on both sides of both hangers, giving additional angles to see
    • Rockets, some smaller independent ones as well as armaments
    • Airplane engines through all the years
  • Medallions, commemoratives, and cultural artifacts celebrating triumphs in aviation. Lots of “Lucky Lindy” stuff
  • Aspen wanted to be inside at night when all the other people were gone. I suspect he’s seen “Night at the Museum” more than once
  • Imax. We saw Hubble video. 45 min
    • Especially enjoyed was one astronaut fixing a taco in space and not having to worry when he stopped with the taco unwrapped. Things just kept on floating, not falling, for the seconds he attended to another task
    • The images of a forming star system out of a swirling disc of black particles had El Greco overtones.
    • The photograph trip from Earth locale to the stars of Orion’s Belt held a pleasant surprise.
    • Hubble vast image library allows it to recalculate the stars’ relative positions as our imagery flight proceeds towards Orion’s Belt. You see the shape of the Belt change. Very nifty.
  • Simulator of trip to Space Station. 5 min, in a closed vehicle which had movement and shaking control to add the 3D video.
    • On the whole, the 3D visual effects were pathetic. Polar Express Imax was 100 better in that regard.
    • I really enjoyed the external approach to the International Space Station. The girding iron network, the Russian Soyuz bedroom community, the new inflatable/expandable living quarters.
    • You could see how close things were, complicating the arrival to a docking pod
Science

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