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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 18, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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of that strut and wire brace configuration that the wright brothers create, but it's been improved and enhanced. now, a spad 13 is the product of a designer named louis bechereau and he has designed air racers and a very successful series of spad fighters. the spad vii is very important in terms of air combat over france and the western front during world war i. but the spad xiii reflects this epitome of french high performance fighter design. it has very thin air foils like the wright flyer and that allows it to go very fast. and it's fabric covered, but it's that engine, the hispanosuiza, v 8 engine, so it looks like a round engine but there's actually v-8 engine underneath that cowling and by
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cowling, what i mean is that there's a tight figtting metal covering and allows the air to flow over more efficiently. so, mark burket of the spanish swiss company has designed a very important series of automobile engines in the pre-war era. he adapts this to the aeronautical application by taking two of his inline four engines, makes it into a v-8, and what he does that's very unique is instead of having separate cylinders attached to the crank case, he casts a row of cylinders out of a solid piece of aluminum. and he has cooling packagssages those aluminum blocks that allows improved cooling and more power. so instead of a rotary engine, you know, doing 110, 120 horsepower, you're looking at 200 or 220 horsepower with these engines by the time they're introduced in the spad xii. there's always a technological push-pull over the western front in world war i, in which the
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germans have an advantage with their thick air foiled tubular steel fuselaged aircraft like the folker d 7 that you can see in this gallery but the spad 13 is the french answer to that airplane, and it's not asth as maneuverable, uh busy the speed. so they're going to take this airplane and develop new fighter tactics in response to the german fighter tactics so this first generation of high scoring aces fly these in the french air squadron and this becomes -- as the highest performance airplane, it has 230 caliber machine guns firing through the propeller and the ability for these armz to fly fast and dive and climb away and come back and attack, that gives the french fighter squadron an advantage. one of the major technological innovations for fighter aircraft in world war i is the creation of a gun synchronizer system.
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that means you can mount a machine gun right in front of the pilot with a site and as you point the airplane, you can point your machine guns and hit your target. the problem with that is you have a spinning wood propeller in the way, and so the creation of a mechanical linkage set up to a cam on the propeller shaft, as the propeller blade crosses in front of the two machine guns or one machine gun, it actually turns off the machine gun and then as the propeller blade is past, the machine guns are turned back on. now, as 1917 proceeds into 1918 and the entry of the united states into the war, you have american air service pilots coming into the western front, and they're being equipped with french aircraft. there's not a front line ready american fighter for the conflict, and this particular spad xiii that you see here that is in american air service markings, it was built by one of the manufacturers contracted to make spads. there were 8400 spads made total and the 22nd aerosquadron was
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assigned this airplane and a young pilot named ray brooks painted the name of his fiance's college on there, smith college, and he had three previous airplanes, so it's smith the 4th and he goes into combat with this airplane, he scores one aerial kill with this spad xiii. some other pilots in the squadron shoot down at least five more, so this spad xiii flew with the first generation of american combat pilots. now, ray brooks names this airplane after his fiance's school and most people will name their airplane after their girlfriends themselves but he made a conscious decision. he didn't want to have this airplane damaged and people saying ruth's damaged, we got to fix her. he wanted to keep her out of that situation so he names it after a college.
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smith 4th is in its 1918 camouflage. what you also see along the fuselage and wings are these small black squares that have german crosses on them and those represent bullet holes that are shot through the fabric from combat, so those are small little indications of this being a combat airplane and surviving. the squares would have been applied by ground mechanics in the field, because there's no need to completely recover the airplane, and one of the interesting advantages of a strut and wire braced fabric covered airplane is that if the bullet goes through the fabric, it passes through the other side, so all it needs to be is patched and that's what the job of the mechanic would be, to patch that, restore the integrity and keep fighting. now, at the end of world war i, you know, in november of 1918, this airplane is set aside by the army air service and brought back to the united states. as to display what type of aircraft americans flew, which is a high performance french fighter.
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but it's also given to the smithsonian institution where it stays in the collection for decades, and it's not until the 1980s that the airplane is fully restored and put on display in the world war i gallery. and so if you look at this panel right here, you can see fabric from that original airplane right here on display, so the fabric you see here is not original. it's restored fabric. but nonetheless, this is one of four remaining spads in the world and it tells that story of how the wright brothers original airplane was maximized and changed but still essentially the same in terms of the materials and the propulsion system and the systems that make it up. but it was a formidable combat fighter of world war i. and now we're going to look at an era-defining airplane connected to charles lindbergh,
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the spirit of st. louis. this flew the 3600 miles in 33.5 hours from new york to paris, flown by charles lindbergh whose goal was to win the prize for the first nonstop flight from new york to paris. orteig wanted to join his former country, france, with the united states. what this flight represents in the history of aviation is part of the telling of this airplane from what the wright brothers created and how it transitions over the '20s and '30s to what we would call the modern airplane. so, lindbergh was an unknown mail pilot who was thinking about, is this possible? and building upon that idea, he gets financers from st. louis,
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people he trained them to fly, interacted with him in the aviation circles, and he gets the backing to either purchase a long distance airplane or to build one. and what happened is he ends up in san diego with ryan airlines, and he meets donald hall, their chief engineer, and they design a purpose-built transatlantic airplane, the new york to paris, and lindbergh calls it the spirit of st. louis in honor of his backers in st. louis, but this is a product of his vision of what a long distance airplane would be. so, it's not necessarily the most advanced airplane. it represents many of the known ideas about technologies that are reliable and durable with some gambles that he includes in the airplane as well. and so working with don hall, through the spring of 1927, lindbergh creates this airplane. and so, we see this. it's a high wing monoplane. it's a wood wing that's externally braced to the fuselage, and it has underneath
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its fabric in the fuselage, tubular steel framework. and that's an innovation that emerges in world war i, especially from the folker company, and that is a diversion from this wood bracing that we've seen since the wright brothers. but it still uses wires, and it's still a framework like you would see with the internal strut and wire brace construction. but you know it works. and so, it's also the basic design of this ryan airplane called the m 2 they base this airplane on. and so it's -- this aircraft is designed for one thing, flying across the atlantic ocean, with one pilot, which is a gamble. all the other airplanes had multiple crew members as well as multiple engines but lindbergh takes that gamble because he says, the lighter the airplane, the simpler, i can control it. so this is an airplane built for endurance. 450 gallons of gasoline, which doubles the weight. so he has to learn how to handle
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this airplane, so when it's finished in april of 1927, the first thing he does is he breaks a san diego to st. louis transcontinental speed record. he visits his backers, flies on to new york, which is the jumping off point for this flight to paris. and so, this is where lindbergh's choices really come into play, in which you don't see a canopy on this airplane, you see a door in the side. he used a periscope that he would actually deploy so he could see forward when he's taxiing the airplane or he would swivel the tail so he could look out the window or the side because what's in front of him are the oil and main fuel tanks and then the engine. and so that's to get all that in front of him in case he crashes, he's got that all in front of him rather than having a big gasoline tank coming behind him and crushing him to death or catching on fire and burning him alive. but look forward of the fuel tank area where it says, spirit
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of st. louis and you see the radial engine. that's a wright j 5 whirlwind, which is a corner stone of technology of the creation of modern airplanes. it is a radial engine that's cooled by the air traveling over the cylinders, and so you see them sticking out there so that they can be cooled as the air flow goes over them. and then -- but it's a reliable engine. it stays, you know, it stays running for 33 hours, he knows that. he makes a conscious choice. that's an advanced technology that he's embracing. so, tubular steel fuselage, wood wing, externally braced, those are known technologies that work, but the state of the art is that engine and right in front of that engine is an aluminum alloy fixed pitch propeller, and so it's just like a wright brothers propeller, where it's just fixed pitch, it creates thrust for one operating regime, but has this little innovation included in it that the standard steel propeller company innovates and is ready
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by the time lindbergh, who, in his memoir says, i want a metal propeller for this spirit of st. louis and what he means is the standard steel ground adjustable pitch propeller, and what i mean by that is that you can't change the angle of the blades in the air, but if you need to change the pitch on the ground, you can loosen two rings, change the pitch for whatever setting you want it to be. so they can get you off the ground with that heavy weight of the fuel but give you enough cruise efficiency to get across the atlantic. so it's a compromise. in many ways, the airplane overall is a compromise to get lindbergh across the atlantic ocean. so, the flight itself, lindbergh didn't have advanced navigational tools like a gps. he did have a compass, and he had this method called dead reckoning, in which he would use the stars and maps to plot his path. he's going to fly the polar
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routes across instead of flying over the shipping lanes. he's flying a much shorter distance over the curvature of the earth and he just gambles that he's going to fly this route and as soon as he gets to europe, he's going to figure out where he's at. he's going to make his way to paris. he does that over the course of a day and a half and he lands at leberge just north of paris and is met by over 100,000 adoring fans, people cheering him on. and at that moment, the unknown lindbergh, the flight technologist, the person who worked with don hall to create this airplane, enters into this legendry status as the -- probably the supreme aviator of the world, especially in the united states, in which he becomes a household name, in which the growth and the aviation industry is seen as a result of what he's done in this flight, even though it's an indication of things that are moving along, but he really exacerbates and improves and expands the idea of an aviation
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industry. people want to learn to fly as a result of him. by christmas, you could get a copy of the book called "we." and we means lindbergh and the spirit together in their flight, so this pop culture phenomenon that lindbergh becomes is a result of this flight and it's an era-defining moment in which america really turns the page in terms of understanding the power of the airplane, the excitement for that. in the wake of this flight to paris, lindbergh returns with the spirit, and he is going to do a national tour, through 1927, in which hundreds of thousands of americans are going to see him flying, see the spirit. they've read about the flight. now they get to see him come though their hometown. by the end of the year, lindbergh goes on a tour of latin america, in which he's, you know, extending friendly relations with latin america and doing long distance flying there as well, and when you look at
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the front of the spirit, you see the flags of the nations that lindbergh visited during his latin american tour, but you also see some military insignia there, which are from the army and marine units that he interacted with over the course of that tour. upon return of that flight in february and then in the spring of 1928, lindbergh gives the spirit of st. louis to the smithsonian institution. and that artifact stays on display, arts and industries building, the old tin shed, throughout the history of the old national air museum, and then is on display in 1976 with the opening of the national mall building of the national air and space museum, where it's been on display ever since. and so the artifact that you see behind me is the original spirit of st. louis. it's had some conservation work but that's the original fabric and metal.
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one of those one of a kind, original artifacts that makes the smithsonian aviation collection so important and why you need to see it. >> and we are back live outside the smithsonian national air and space museum located along the national mall in washington, d.c. it was on this date 40 years ago that president gerald ford dedicated this museum, the most popular among the smithsonian. and inside, among the displays, america by air from our earliest days of flight aviation with air transportation and mail carriers to the jet age of the 1950s to today, space operations and missiles, it's all here. and i want to share an article that was in the "washington post" earlier this week on the spirit of st. louis, one of the iconic planes that charles lindbergh had. it's been in the news because of some of the findings and notes on the plane when it was refurbished back in 1975, jeremy
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kinny is joining us, the curator. talk about the spirit of st. louis and some interesting things that you found over the last year or so. >> well, you know, the spirit of st. louis is a true milestone of flight. charles lindbergh makes that epic transatlantic flight in 1927 and it's always been a signature artifact of the smithsonian, especially the air and space museum, so this opportunity to redo this gallery, the boeing milestones of flight gallery, looking at this airplane and seeing the elements that are left by the people who made the airplane, the people at ryan airlines in san diego, the actual, you know, flags from the tours of europe as well as latin america, and the squadron markings of those units, so you see these people are making this contact with lindbergh and being part of this great story of aviation in the 1920s. >> you showed us some of the artifacts on display here, but your own background, why are you so interested in this area? >> i've always been interested in aviation history.
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growing up, it was all about old airplanes and i found an opportunity to study history and especially aerospace and aviation assist and it was a passion that i had that i was able to cultivate and grow and study and work hard and i ended up at the smithsonian. >> i'm going to ask you probably an impossible question. was there a turning point or turning points in america's aviation history? >> well, we have to look at two eras. we have the era of the propeller driven airplane up until the end of world war ii. lindbergh is the turning point. he is the person that really shows people that aviation is possible. after that, the invention of the jet engine, you see this moment in which you can increase the distance, increase the popularity of jet airliner travel and almost anyone can travel anywhere in the world today as a result of that. >> so you get a new display, some new argumetifacts, a new p, a new vehicle, flight plan. where does it all go? how do you find space for it all? >> well, that's always a challenge, because, you know, the large artifacts, this museum, the airplanes, the
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airliners, the spacecraft, they take up a lot of space. and so we have our national mall building, we have, you know, almost 100 big artifacts here. we have our steven f. center out near the airport but we have a lot of items on storage and on loan as well but the history of flight in and out the atmosphere of the museum is always developing and evolving so we have to think about what's that next object we're going to collect. >> 202-748-8901 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones, our guest is jeremy kinney who is the curator here at the national air and space museum. we're coming here because of the importance of today 40 years ago. >> that's right. the opening of the national air and space museum on the mall and this is the first time that a major national museum has been dedicated to the air and space, and it's been an immensely
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popular activity for people visiting washington, d.c., to come to the air and space museum. >> do you have a favorite exhibit? >> for me, a favorite exhibit is probably the one i'm most currently working on so the pioneers of flight gallery. my favorite because of that curtis rc 3 object. but i'm working on the speed galley that's going to be oeng in a few years as part of our trfrps of the museum. >> behind me is some early computer technology, i say early, 1960s, early 1970s, as they're trying to intercept some of the technology from space by russia. and it's just fascinating because it's a big, bulky computer and of course we've grown and changed. but that is really part of the story of aviation as well, isn't it? >> yes, collecting data, and there's always a race. i mean, there's a race in the 1920s and '30s between europe and the united states and the cold war, that have dramatic period of history, you have
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technology being driven by the need for information and the technology being driven to compete, who's going to get to the moon first. >> and what about computer technology? >> well, that's going along for the ride. that's a by-product of this need to push the technology to reach these new challenges and computer technology is a reflection of that. and in many ways, the miniaturization that you need for aerospace technology influences the development of computer technology. >> let's get to some calls. wayne is joining us from georgia. >> caller: thank you, sir. happy july 4. i was wondering if the movie with jimmy stewart was anything like the actual flight of charles lindbergh. >> you know, the billy wilder film, which is based on lindbergh's autobiography, the spirit of st. louis, comes out in 1957, is based on that book. and it's a story that follows the book pretty well, but it's also changed for dramatic
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hollywood effect. for example, the fly that you see in the cabin as lindbergh is crossing the atlantic, that's a cinematic invention. but it's also the story of how he goes to those stages, going back and forth between the flight as well as creating the airplane, that back story, especially as a barn stormer and a mail pilot, that is all true. that's part of the story. so it's a very accurate film. and jimmy stewart was a big fan of charles lindbergh, and wanted to be in this film, and so in many ways, the accuracy is there because stewart and wilder were so passionate about the story of charles lindbergh. >> around the corner, a display for amelia earhardt but there are others not so well known. who are sna. >> well, you know, aviation is a story of people, communities. and so in looking at -- we have these big names, amelia earhardt, charles lindbergh, but you have engineers and
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entrepreneurs and so for example, the curtis racer that you guys saw on the tour, we know jimny doolittle flew it but cyrus is an unknown person from the '20s and '30s but he was considered the best pilot in america when he flew that plane. but he died young so he disappeared from history. he died just two years after flying the curtis racer. >> we began our conversation talking about america by air and i wonder if you could take a step back and explain the significance of commercial air transportation to the u.s., to the world, to the economy. >> well, you know, this great connection and story between the united states of commercial aviation is there. it's the great distances of the american continent. you know, the 48 states, trying to connect that continent by the airplane, which driefz a lot of the technology in terms of the long distance reliability, the altitude, the speed. and so this that really shares that technology and becomes a
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major industry that's connected between the people who carry mail and cargo and passengers and the people who make the airplanes, and that really drives the technology. so, it really puts the united states on the ground floor of this world aviation industry, where the united states is a preeminent member of that community. >> born and raised in north carolina, where'd you go to college, and where did you learn about all of this? >> well, i was an undergraduate, i went to greens boro college in the central part of north carolina but i went to auburn university for my graduate degrees and that was a place where you could go and study aerospace history at the graduate level. so for me, that facilitated my desire to learn more about aviation, to study that. i had professors who cultivated that. and that enabled me to come to the other center for aerospace history, the smithsonian national air and space museum where i'm a curator since 2000. >> so history is the story of the united states and this is the story of aviation, what is the story here at this museum? >> the story of the air and space museum is to share with
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visitors from the united states as well as the rest of the world this epic story of how man went into the third dimension. and the idea of creating technology and having the vision to create flying machines that could carry people, could carry weapons, but also trigger the imagination and stimulate passion for technology. so, this is a history of science and technology museum. it's directly connected to the american history, european history, and all those levels are always interconnected. but the story of how man overcame the challenge of getting into the air is the primary story of this museum. >> and as the museum prepares to reopen for an all-night celebration, earlier, as you walk through and see young families and young kids look up in awe at these spacecrafts, this lunar module, that 1940s plane that is above you, what do you think when you see these young people just look in inspiration and awe? >> i like to see the connections between visitors and artifacts, where you have a parent or a
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grandparent or a, you know, a child showing their parents and their grandparents, look at that technology. and look at that capsule, look at that airplane, i read about that in school, i saw that in a movie or i know who this person is. and so these connections that visitors have, whether it's the, you know, the wright brothers, the idea of two brothers inventing the technology, the idea of military aviation in world war ii, which so many americans have that connection to today, as well as commercial aviation, everyone flies. these connections that people have are really exciting to see how people connect with those technologies and see the first of that technology or the people that really were so important in those stories being represented in this museum. >> and how often do you see a military pilot or commercial pilot or somebody says, i used to be in one of those? >> a lot. we see that a lot. and it's that connection, those personal connections that are always astounding for me, which i came up, you know, an interest in aviation, but i didn't have those personal connections, these people flew these objects
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or operated them. that's amazing to see that. >> do you fly yourself? >> i do not. i saw history as my opportunity to learn about aviation and working out. i have some other hobbies. >> let's go to mike joining us from delaware. we're live here on c-span 3's american history tv at the national air and space museum in washington, d.c. >> caller: very interesting. i was there 15, 20 years ago. i need to get another trip back there. in any event, i was curious, kind of a two-part question. how do new artifacts get into the museum? do you folks there go and look for things? or do people in the outside want to donate that kind of a thing? and also, i guess, what's on the drawing board now? do you have, maybe, by way of example, you can answer the question by what do you have on the board now that you're trying to get into the museum? >> mike, thanks for the call. so, first, new artifacts. >> that's a great question because it's really a story of how people connect with the
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museum with their own personal ways and so primarily the way this museum has gotten its artifacts and from transfers from the national government as well as individuals contacting us. so, it can be a cold call on the phone, it could be an e-mail from contacting us on our website. it can be through another curator, another staff member. but people contact us in a variety of ways to offer their stories to the museum and once a curator identifies an object as, we're interested in that, we really want this object, we take it to our collections committee, fill out paperwork, argue for the artifact, and once it passes muster, it can come into the collection but there's a full vetting between curators, collections personnel, conservators, and so we always discuss and really argue for these artifacts and so an example of an artifact that is coming on the horizon for us is one of the collections that i curate is the air racing collection, so there's a small air racer, nemesis nxt that we're having come in the fall
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that's going to go on display and it's the world's fastest airplane that's built from a kit, 400 miles per hour. so it tells that story of individual initiative, high technology, and it's produced by one of the winningest air racing pilots, teams, and designers, so these are the kinds of stories that we want to share with the american public and the rest of the world, and it's the way that we have to always fully vet and justify that technology, those artifacts, coming into the museum. >> are there other museums like this elsewhere in the world? >> there are other national museums, and the u.s. -- and the rest of the world. so we have our national military museums t national museum of the air force, the national museum of naval aviation are contemporaries to us. the seattle museum of flight. but you also have national museums such as the musee de laire outside of paris, the
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raf museum in england, so you have these museums that are looking at aviation, especially from those national stories of the countries that they're in and they have some pretty impressive artifacts as well in their collection. >> we were talking about the renovations that will be underway over the next six to seven years so when we come back in 2022 or 2023, what's going to change? >> it's going to be a completely changed museum. i mean, over 20 major exhibitions. the idea is to really reinterpret, re-present the history of flight and do that in ways that really stimulate early 21st century audiences. and so looking at military aviation in a different way, looking at the development of civilian and commercial aviation, looking at space, looking at the idea of where the planets, what's the idea of earth in our story of human kind. and so it's going to be very bold, but the idea is to really present a new take on air and space history and so we have this -- our current generation
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of curators, design ez, collections people, we are excited about telling those stories. >> let's hear from kevin who's joining us from north carolina. thank you for waiting. go ahead with your question or comment. kevin? >> caller: yes, sir. i was wondering, what kind of a, maybe, a static display about the b-36 and the 47, because they're so large, and your space restraints. do you have any plans of having kind of a -- like a small display about the history of those airplanes? >> so, kevin was asking about the consolidated b-36 bomber and the boeing b-47 stratajet when are two cold war bombers. we don't have those. the national hummuseum of the a force does as well as some other mumz. due to size constraints and the
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fact that they're covered in other national museums where it's a very important air force story, we don't have any plans to do anything with those aircraft, but you never know. we may be offered one that we just can't pass up, but tiat th time, we haven't collected one for our collection. >> mike, go ahead, please. mike in michigan, go ahead. we'll try one more time for mike in michigan. if you're there. how many people work with you as the curator? >> well, you know, it's a team at the air and space museum in terms of we have curators and so we have about a half a dozen curators in both our aeronautics and space history divisions. we have an entire team of collections where they work in conservation, collections prosi processing and reservation and restoration. we have about 150 employees, i think, total and they all
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interact in some way and one thing we've really expanded is this idea of outreach so we've been doing things like a lot of ways of reaching outside the museum to connect with visitors around the world. >> let's hear from dan, who's joining us from kentucky. go ahead with your question. >> caller: yes, sir. i was wondering, actually a two-part question. i was wondering about how -- what was the fastest the sr-71 was ever flown. and what -- who flew it? >> little bit of feedback, but the fastest it was flown, do you know? >> well, so, i heard the question as was the sr-71 the fastest and it's the fastest with air breathing engine so those engines that are installed make it the fastest -- the air breathing engines are very key. the fastest man carrying object besides the space shuttle and rockets from the space age and
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the north american x-15, which we saw on the tour, which is a mok 4 airplane. but the sr-71 itself, it's a 2000-mile-per-hour plane and its delivery flight to the air and space museum, it broke a transcontinental speed record of just over two hours. the one interesting thing about aviation, especially in the late 20th century is we don't really connect people specifically with that airplane, but we have some pilots who flew sr-71s that we know that actually we have as docents that give tours of the museum, such as buzz carpenter. they flew in the late 20th century as those strategic reconnaissance pilots. >> logan in florida, you're next. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi. i wanted to know what the relationship between scott cross
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field and chuck yager was during the age of trying to break the sound barrier. >> logan, how old are you, by the way? >> caller: huh? i'm -- i'm 9. >> and you're interested in aviation? >> caller: yes. >> you're interested in aviation? thank you for the call. >> so -- >> maybe a future curator. >> that's right. and they're always welcome. so, thank you for your question, logan. so, chuck yager was the first man to fly the speed of sound, you can see in the milestones of flight gallery. scott chris field flew for north america, we knew him best through looking at the x 15, the fist pilot to fly the x 15 in 1959, but in the early '50s, they're kind of duelling on these mach 1 and 2 records so they're competitors. and that's one of the very swresing and dynamic things
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about pilots, especially in the 1950s is that they're hypercompetitive. and so they want to see who's the best. and they want to, you know, really outdo each other. and chuck yager and scott cross felder are a great example of that. >> if people are interested in studying aviation history, where are some of the leading institutions in this country? >> well, in a lot of ways, you can go to a focused program like auburn had. or you can go to just any first-rate graduate school. and you can study history and as part of your theme is you can put aviation into the story. so we've had, flu othrough our fellowship program, students from yale, princeton, ivy league schools, major land grant universities, so you can tailor your history program at the graduate level to fit what you want in terms of how you want to study but it falls down to your own initiative, what you're writing about and how lucky you
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are in terms of getting that original idea out there. >> you can sent us a tweet @cspan history. the question is, before 1976, before this building opened, where was it stored? >> the spirit of st. louis came to the smithsonian in 1928 and it was stored in -- on display in the arts and industries building where it was hanging over the traditional oak and glass cases and other objects, not just aviation artifacts. and so it was there, more or less, over the years on display in the arts and industries building, which you can still see today, but that was -- in a lot of ways, this building was intended to put the spirit of st. louis in that very important spot in the milestones of flight gallery to display it. >> think about this for a moment as we listen to dave from new york, but what questions, what things are unanswered in terms of aviation history? but think about that. let's go to dave in new york. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi, jeremy, just had two questions.
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i visited the museum in 1976 and i remember it very well when it first opened. how have the artifacts -- have any of them degraded over the past 40 years? that's my first question. second question is, what is on your most wanted lists as far as things that you want to collect? >> those are great questions. thank you. the first question, have objects degraded, you know, in the museum since it opened? yes. that's the short answer. and it's just that objects get old and they do break down. and so in terms of, we take these opportunities like the boeing mi boeing milestones of flight gallery to address things that have been happening to these artifacts so the spirit of st. louis is a great example, the wright flyer. we've had things on display and taken out and discovered that, oh, the museum standards of the 1970s weren't as up to par with the museum standards of today so we learn a lot of lessons from that so that's always constantly evolving, it's a constant battle
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to keep the artifacts safe and stable. >> and yet no shortage of visitors. >> yes, that's correct. no shortage of visitors. >> we'll go to your home state of north carolina. ted is next. go ahead, please. >> caller: good afternoon. first of all, i want to express my appreciation, i was just at the indock trination of the first coast guard helicopter. i used to fly one so it was neat to watch it. see how it's displayed, you did an outstanding job on that. i was wondering if there's any additional thought about continuing some additional history of the coast guard aviation like hurricane rescues, the new orleans rescue, things of that sort. >> well, i think, you know, we're at the u.s. coast guard aviation centennial this year and it's been an exciting opportunity for us to put on a display of coast guard helicopter, that display case out there, so i think as we expand our idea about what constitutes aviation history and especially military history, we
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will look at how we can incorporate stories like the coast guard in them. i can't speak to if we have any specific plans beyond what we've done this summer, but that's always a dynamic topic and a few of our staff members are former coasties and they'll take any chance they can get to talk about coast guard aviation. they're very proud. >> chris, you're next in massachusetts. >> caller: hi, jeremy. hello. do you hear me? >> go ahead. >> caller: i think that the 34 b that you have in the museum is pristine. that aircraft was so influential on american aviation, i think the b 47, a lot of designs from the wright era, 234 came from were incorporated from the 234 to the b-47. but my question i wanted to ask about was the me 163. does the museum have an me 163? >> yes, now, the me 163 comet is
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a rocket glider and there's one on display in its original condition and you can head out and see it any time you like. >> next call is jeff in nevada. thank you for being with us. we're talking to jeremy kinney. he is the curator at the national air and space human mun washington, d.c. >> caller: well, you probably have the best job on the planet and congratulations to you for acquiring it. with the renovations coming up, you say it's going on to be a five-year thing. are people still going to be able to come into the museum and understand, you know, what you have there as you switch things around? >> the goal for the renovation of the museum is to close it in stages, so there will always be a part of the museum that's open so visitors can still come and see exhibits, experience the air
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and space museum on the national mall, and so there's galleries such as speed, earth, will be opening and closing as we go along through these successive stages so this will be a phased renovation, so there will always be something open. >> jay is next. he's writing us from pennsylvania. go hate with your question or comment. good evening. >> caller: hello. i wanted to know a little bit more about the bell x 1 and man that broke the speed record for sound and how fast was it going? >> so, the bail x 1 is the airplane that first breaks the speed of sound, flown by chuck yager, who is a former b-51 mustang fighter pilot during world war ii, he's an ace, and he becomes a test pilot in the high desert of california, what becomes edwards air force base so the x 1 is the first research airplane. the x 15, i talked about as this partnership between the u.s. air
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force, the national advisory committee for aeronautics, today nasas and the bell aircraft and the whole purpose of that is to investigate the super sonic regime so on october 14, 1947, yager n this airplane, flies 714 miles per hour, which is mach 1 in this aircraft and breaks that mythical sound barrier and helps initiate the thinking and the ideas of what becomes the jet age through the '50s and '60s. >> so what are your questions? what are the unknowns? what answers are you looking for? >> you know, aviation is a very interesting topic to be studying right now because in a lot of ways, you know, we've gone through the hundred years, we're on -- well past that after the flight of the wright brothers and many people said, well, the story's been told, it's a mature technology, there's no where else you can go with that. and so what's fascinating to me is this idea, what are the next steps? and how will that be traced as an historical evolution today? are we watching the first
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hypersonic scram jets taking the flight? are they going to lead to aircraft that will enable you to fly from new york to tokyo in two and a half hours? so, how are we going to track that? are we seeing those technologies, those ideas being formulated now? are we aware of them? so, that's a big question for me. >> and what about private billionaire entrepreneur missions to space? >> you know, that's always been a major impetus in, you know aviation history with like space x and all that. the orteig prize was to stimulate aviation and promote harmony between france and the u.s. so these ideas of entrepreneurs providing funding or providing -- building companies with new innovations is always part of that idea of pushing that envelope of technology. >> few more minutes. john is next in massachusetts. go ahead, please.
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>> caller: hello? >> yes, john, go ahead. >> caller: okay. yeah, i was just at the air and space museum a few weeks ago, actually, both of them, and i was very impressed with everything that was there, and i want to thank everyone for what they've done. my question is, will they be expanding at some point the world war ii section that's there? >> that's a great question, because world war ii is this major story in aviation that people -- just draws people to it. and so the current gallery today is gallery 205, world war ii aviation, and it's an original gallery from 1976, and it was made by people who flew fighter airplanes in world war ii. i mean, people who were in world war ii. and so the reference there is that people know what they're seeing. and so now, we are looking at -- through this transformation of the museum, we're going to do a new world war ii gallery. we're going to combine the sea/air operations dpalry, world
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war ii and we're going to provide a larger contextual story of world war ii, and so the goal is to present for new visitors and here's the scary thing. this gallery opens like in 2023, 2025. 2039 is the 100th anniversary world war ii, so we're thinking about preparing for that. so we really want to do this story right and we want to tell the stories of people, technologies, and events in a way that really engages all levels of visitors, in ages, backgrounds, and wherever they come from in the world. >> rick, you get the last call on this segment from wisconsin. good evening. >> caller: hi, my name is rick and i'm calling from madison, wisconsin. i have two comments to make. the first one is, i really appreciate your show. i think it's great, especially seeing all the artifacts that you have. and my question is, do you think that there are many items missing from your display and
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how many do you think that you have money to purchase over the next few years? >> as part of our professional duties, we have what's called a collections rationale. and that actually lists the objects that we have, discusses why they're important, and also says why we need -- what we need, what are the new objects that we would take. and so it can range from a complete airplane, like a boeing b-17 from world war ii, to a part of an airplane, such as a drop tank. so, a b-51 mustang used drop tanks to fly all the way into europe during world war ii, it's a critical element in the story. we do not have a drop tank. we are looking for one. so those are the kinds of objects we do want to accentuate, improve, as well as to record that story of the technology and the people and the events. >> and as general daly pointed out earlier, only a small percentage is here. you have more in storage than
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you're able to show at museums like this one. >> that's correct. so we have a certain percentage here on the national mall and at the center but quite a few of our artifacts are on loan or in storage. >> thank you very much for your time. happy 40th birthday. >> thank you very much. >> and it's more than just aviation, but it's also space exploration from moon to mars as we continue our tour inside this museum. we'll start our tour right here with the lunar module. the icon for the landing on the moon in july 1969. it actually has a companion spacecraft, the apollo command module. and the command module, its service module and the lunar module together carried three astronauts, neil armstrong, buzz
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aldrin, and michael collins to the moon. the command module also brought them back safely. this lunar module is an actual lunar module that never flew in space. lunar module 2. it was intended to be used in a earth orbital test flight but the test was canceled as unnecessary. and so nasa transferred this lunar module to the national air and space museum. it consists of two parts, the base, which has the legs, and the rocket engine in it. and then the oddly shaped top which is the crew module or crew cabin. and this was attached to the command module for the flight from earth to lunar orbit. and once in lunar orbit, the two crew members who would descend to the surface, armstrong and aldrin climbed into the lunar module. it separated from the command module where michael collins
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stayed to orbit the moon and it began its descent down to the surface. down to the surface. >> we copy you now, eagle. >> drifting to the right a littl little. >> contact light. okay. engine stop. >> we copy you down, eagle. >> the eagle has landed. >> this was a thrilling moment in history and almost everybody who was alive at that moment remembered where they were, whether they were watching it on television in their own homes or if they were standing in an appliance store watching it on a television. people around the world stopped to watch the landing on the moon
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and the first steps of human beings on the moon. >> okay. i'm going to step off the land mount. that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. >> after the crew, the apollo 11 crew had climbed out, done some exploration close to the lunar module, collected some samples of lunar swale and rocks, taken some photographs, placed a u.s. flag on the moon, they went back into the lunar module and this became their vehicle for their trip home. they launched the small top partial leaving the base on the moon. they ascended back up into lunar orbit, rendezvoused with the
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command module again, exited the lunar module. once they were secure inside the command module, reunited with michael collins. the lunar module was detached and it fell back to the moon with an intentional crash on the moon because geologists and seismologists wanted to track what kind of impact it made on the moon. so from a space historian's point of view, these two craft, the apollo command module and the lunar module are the icons of the space race. along with the suits worn by the astronauts on the moon, these symbolized that very historic moment in time, july 1969, when human beings first set foot on another body in our solar system. and in effect, won the space race.
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when children look at this spacecraft, they often say that doesn't look like a spaceship, because we tend to think that spacecraft are always streamlined and maybe they look like rockets more than anything else. but this spacecraft has an interesting design and in many ways it's fairly primitive given the job that it had to do. it didn't need to be streamlined on the outside because it wasn't going to operate in the atmosphere. it would only operate in the vacuum of space. and it would not be subject to strong gravitational field on the moon. so it's actually fairly flimsy in some areas. the legs are obviously strong the mount for the rocket engine is strong, but the draft itself, and particularly the crew module or crew cabin, was really fairly spartan. it had two windows.
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neil armstrong had command of the craft during the final descent to landing. both of them were standing. they were fully suited in their space suit and they pretty much filled that interior volume in that position with those space suits on. it was not really designed for comfort. it was designed for the purpose of landing, giving the crew an exit so they could spend a couple of hours on the surface of the moon and then launching again along with their precious cargo of lunar soil and rocks to bring back home to demonstrate that they had been there and to have those materials for scientists to begin analyzing to better understand the moon. it's also amazing to think that the computing power required in that day to send these craft to
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the moon and to program them for the descent and launch, was done with fairly primitive computer programs and memory was minuscule compared to the memory we have now. it's often said that the computing power we hold in our hands every day with our smartphones is vastly more than it took to send people to the moon and back. it gives you a sense of the ingenuity of the engineers in that day to deaf surprise the solutions to get people to the moon and back safely. so we have seen the iconic artifacts from the heroic age of space flight in the 1960s. our next stop will be skylab and we're going to look at that because it is one of the original artifacts on display here since before this museum
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opened. skylab is so large that it was brought into the museum before the building was closed out. now i'm standing in front of a model of skylab that's as tall as i am, but the real skylab orbital workstation behind me absolutely dwarves the model and me, it reaches from the floor up into the skylights of this building two stories tall. skylab was the united states' first space station. it was placed in orbit in 1973 and in 1973 and '74 three different nasa astronaut crews spent time aboard it. three men at a time. one group was there for one month, another group for two months and the third group for three months. and the whole point of the skylab missions was to get some experience in living and working in space. when the apollo program came to
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an end there was still some hardware left over and nasa thought, what can we do with this? we have developed this tremendous capability to launch spacecraft all the way to the moon, we still have a couple of these powerful rockets on hand, can we repurpose them and do something else? so the decision reached was to take the third stage of the gigantic saturn v rocket that powered the spacecraft away from earth on a trajectory to the moon and turn that into a habitable module, a sort of miniature space station that crews could live in while they were getting this experience of living and working in space. and the actual element that's behind me is the full cylinder that is marked by this wide
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white band here, and you can see from the cut away there that it's two stories on the inside and those were two floors where the astronauts could actually live. in the missions to the moon and the missions in earth orbit they had been in spacecraft that were essentially cockpits. they had no more room in them than a sports car, but skylab was like having a house and it actually had rooms in it. there was a galley ward room where they could prepare food, meet around a table, eat together. they still were eating out of plastic bags and tin cans, but at least it was more home-like and more sociable. they had sleeping quarters, three little bunk areas about the size of closets, but still each member had a private area to retire for some solitary time and some sleep without being
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confined to the flight seat in a capsu capsule. and most important it had an actual bathroom. it had an actual toilet. in all these previous missions the little known dirty secret is that the astronauts were using plastic bags to collect their waste, but finally they had a toilet and they didn't have to deal with the mess of taking care of their bodily functions. it had a sink where they could wash up and could shave, and it even had a shower which was essentially a tunnel-like sheath that an astronaut pulled up around him and then could use water from a sprayer inside that container, but then the trick after the shower was all of the water had to be wiped off, wiped off the body, wiped off the
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little enclosure, and they finally decided it took -- it was more trouble than it was worth. they would just take sponge baths. but there was also room for them to have an exercise bicycle and to have some experiments set up. and then they had a huge attic above the living area where their extra supplies were stored and a lot of the systems elements were there. but it was so big that they could run track around the perimeter of it and do tumbling around the perimeter of it, just running and tumbling across the tops of the lockers. that was for fun, but they actually used that space for serious reasons, too, and they were testing out a jet backpack that might be used on space walks and they were able to operate that in that attic space
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that was so commodious. and then below their living deck floor there was the remainder of one of tfof the propellant tank that became their big trash can and there was a hatch and they could put their trash through the hatch and it would go down to that lower level. the orbital workshop was the largest part of the skylab space station, but above it there was an air lock module that enabled them to go outside and to service this big observatory, the solar observatory, which was a wonderful scientific facility attached to the orbital workshop, and using the instruments, a variety of cameras and detectors on what was called the apollo telescope mount we got our first really detailed views of activity on the sun and we understood for the first time how dynamic our
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sun is, how it's just royaling with activity all the time and spewing out big explosions of matter and it has holes in it and it has storms on it and it was an amazing thing to get this new information through the telescopes on skylab. and then here at the top one can see the docking port for the apollo command in-service module which was essentially the shuttle craft to bring the astronauts to skylab and bring them back home again. this whole thing is 22 feet in diameter and, again, when you think of the ingenuity of turning a stage of a rocket, which is basically a big fuel tank, into a home that people can live in, and you can provide them with plumbing and comfort and room to move around, a
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window to look out to enjoy the views of the earth, this -- this was a kind of turning point in our space program. skylab was the test run for what the next big thing was supposed to be and from the late 1950s and early 1960s on planners in the united states had foreseen an eventual space station. in fact, the original plans were to build a space station in earth orbit first and then go to the moon, but president kennedy reversed that and decided to send the united states to the moon first as part of the cold war competition with the soviet union. so in the back of everybody's mind there was still a space station. skylab was the first step toward what now has become the international space station, a huge new facility in earth
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orbit. now, this behemoth behind me is actually the backup skylab a space station. it is flight ready. nasa built two of them in case they wanted to do two skylab missions or in case there was some hardware problem with the first skylab orbital workshop. we did make a modification to it. ordinarily we don't modify flight ready hardware, but in this case we cut a passageway, two doors into it and laid down a sort of hallway right through the middle of this living quarters so people who visit the museum can walk inside skylab, they can see the living quarters, they can look into the bathroom, they see a mannequin at the label with some food out on the table, the shower is set up there, the exercise bicycle is in plain view, they can see
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the trash air lock right there, and if they look up they can just be wowed by the amount of free space there is. i mentioned that skylab was occupied in 1973 and '74. the last crew to leave skylab buttoned it up and put it into sleep mode with a view toward a future crew possibly coming back. and then nasa got very busy developing the shuttle. so what happened to skylab? well, gradually over time it's orbit began to deteriorate somewhat, it started dropping lower and lower and there was an early plan to use the space shuttle to go up and rendezvous with it and boost it back up to a higher altitude so that it could still be available for use, but the shuttle wasn't yet ready to fly.
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and so what happened is after the orbit diminished nasa had to bring it back then in a controlled reentry and so in 1979 skylab was brought back down, it streaked into earth's atmosphere like a meteor, it broke up over the indian ocean and a few pieces fell in parts of australia and were recovered, but fortunately no one was hit, no one was injured, no property was damaged. now, i paused here at skylab because this was still news in 1976 when this museum opened. people streamed in here literally by the millions that first year. they were thrilled not only to see the old aircraft, but to see the new spacecraft, to see what had been happening in space that they had seen on the news and heard about and skylab was one of these featured attractions.
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well, now we are in the exploring the planets gallery where we really focus on recent events in planetary exploration. this is one of my favorite parts in the museum because this is where we display the three rovers that have been doing major research on the planet mars over the last 20 years. the first rover to land and operate successfully on mars was one identical to this one. it was part of the pathfinder mission of 1996, and a little rover named sojourner was put down on the surface of mars and it operated long beyond its expected lifetime exploring around in the vicinity. as you can see it has six wheels and they are a kind of wheel called rocker wheels that will
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enable it to go over rocks without tipping over. it's about the size of a microwave oven if you imagined a microwave oven having wheels. it has solar panels on top to keep it powered and it was really a little geologist that was put down on the surface of mars to do some of the kinds of investigations that a human geologist would do. it's equipped with a device to -- to touch up against a rock and determine what chemical elements are in that rock. it had a camera for guidance. it could also pick up information about the ambient environment of mars. so you can think of marie kure is the name of this one and sojourner as the first geologist to set foot on mars and to go roaming around so that they could explore a broader area. this is actually the backup for
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the pathfinder mission. this one could have gone to mars itself. ten years later after the pathfinder mission we had another mission that landed somewhat larger rover on mars and this is a model of spirit and opportunity. this is an engineering model, though, and isn't really ready to go to mars, but you can see the growth since the first rover. this one is more like the size of a golf cart perhaps. again, it has the special wheels so that it can operate well on the uneven terrain and it's equipped not only with these solar panels to keep it powered up, but with larger and more sophisticated instruments. it has a robotic arm that extends out. it has almost a head here at the front, at the top of this long neck, and that's where the cameras are for its movement
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around, enabling scientists here on earth to see where it's going and to see what it's seeing. it has various other scientific devices on it. again, a kind of mars weather station to determine what's the ambient environment like? what is the wind like? what are the temperatures at different times during the martian day. what is it like when a dust storm passes through. again, this is a more capable geologist now that's on the surface of mars, but one that is mimicking some of the capabilities that a human being has. spirit and opportunity were launched to mars in the year 2004 and opportunity still operating, still roaming around on mars, sending back good data.
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again, long outliving its life. so now we will have a look at the third rover that's on the surface of mars and this one landed in 2012 and still working today. this is a model of curiosity. curiosity has just grabbed public attention because, first of all, it's so big, it's like having a car on mars, and this is the one that had the very dramatic landing sequence where it was dropped from a crane that was descending from the orbital spacecraft and it was called seven minutes of terror to get it down to the surface of mars without it being damaged, but it was a very successful landing and curiosity has been roaming for kilometers on the surface of
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mars, it's studying plains, it's on the rim of the crater, going down in the crater to have a look at what the surface geology is like there. and the main mission of curiosity is to follow the water. scientists have a lot of evidence that at some point in the past mars had a lot of water and the evidence is in sedimentation on mars and in portions of land that look as if they have been washed over by water, which then evaporated. and so the thrust of the curiosity rover is to investigate sites that seem to have had an abundance of water at some time in the past. once again, this is a surrogate for a human geologist. much larger in scale than the pathfinder and the spirit and
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opportunity rovers. much sturdier structure, a chassis that really is the size of a compact car. again, a suite of cameras and weather station instruments on board. and this one is also a chemistry lab. there are several devices on here that can do analysis of the chemicals in the soil and in the rocks. it's really being a very exciting mission and it has no end in sight. i think the public has become very fond of these rovers because they sense that they are surrogates for us and maybe path finders for us. they are doing the initial reconnaissance of this surface of mars so that if in the future humans actually go there, they will know a lot more about the terrain and also know a lot more
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about sites that might still harbor moisture if not actual water. and this pattern replicates what we did when we went to the moon. we started with missions that first flew past the moon, but one of the next things we did was set a lander on the moon just to determine how strong is the soil? can something land there or will it sink in? if humans are going to land will they be able to walk on the moon? and i think we're quite confident about mars, that humans will be able to move around on the surface of mars very well. the rovers have demonstrated how easy it is to do that. one other thing about the rovers is they don't operate alone and preprogrammed. there are whole teams here on earth that are charting out
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their itineraries and scheduling their activities and when they are working on the mission in their heads they are on mars with the rover. and they even wear watches where they set their watch to martian time. the martian day is 24 hours and 39 minutes so their day is just enough longer than ours that for the people working on earth each day they start work 39 minutes later. the days creep ahead for them. so when this museum opened in 1976 we were wrapping up a golden age of human exploration with the apollo missions to the moon and we were launching into the first golden age of planetary exploration with the missions of the 1970s to mars
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and to the outer planets. we're now in another golden gauge of planetary exploration, particularly on mars, with curiosity rover so actively exploring there. so we are right in the present moment here when we are with the mars rovers and i wonder what we might see here in ten years or 20 years as planetary exploration continues, with great success we hope, and there is much talk about having a human mission to mars by about 2030 or so. if that should happen, that will probably be the stellar attraction in the museum by the time the next major anniversary rolls around.
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we are back live now at the smithsonian national air and space museum where the museum today is celebrating it's 40th birthday. 40 years ago today president gerald ford dedicate this had museum. in a half hour we will bring you live coverage of the events celebrating that anniversary. in the meantime we want to hear from you, our phone lines are open. 202-748-8900 for those in the eastern or central time zones. if you live out west, 202-748-8901. send us a tweet @cspanhistory or join us on facebook at and of course as we move outside toin side one of the displays, and there are so many inside this fabulous museum, is moving beyond earth and an example of the evolution of america's space shuttle program. joining us again is valerie neal. we saw you just a moment ago in
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that taped portion, but you are the curator, the chair of the space history department here at the museum. let's talk about the shuttle program. no other country had something like that. >> well, briefly, the soviet union did. they built a craft called boron that mimicked our space shuttle, but it was several years later. they flew one test, flied, and then retired it. they didn't really have a need for a shuttle craft, but they were very worried about what we might use ours for, and they thought they should have one, too, just in case. but really in the annals of space history the u.s. space shuttle is unique. it's the only operational craft that's reusable, it's the only craft that was the size of a cargo freight hauling truck out on the highway or an air freight carrier. it was much more capable than any other spacecraft has been and very likely any other
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spacecraft ever will be. >> not enough room here for one of the space shuttles, the enterprise, correct, is at the dulles facility? >> well, we now have discovery at our udvar-hazy center near dulles airport, we have the space shuttle enterprise for a number of years, the prototype test flight vehicle but when the space shuttle vehicle came to the end we requested a flown in space shuttle and we're fortunate to receive discovery, the oldest of the space shuttles and we turned enterprise back over to nasa and nasa placed it at the intrepid sea, air and space museum in new york city. so it has a new home there on an aircraft carrier, of all places. >> you study the space shuttle so let's go back into history. how was it developed? why was it developed? and what's its impact on america's spacex plorgs? >> well, the space shuttle
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signaled a turn in america's space program from destination focused program, let's get to the moon and get there before the russians do, let's put humans on the moon. once that was done nasa and the nation reoriented to trying to use space as a place to do useful work, to make space a normal part of what americans do in science and technology. so the philosophy turned from these throw away vehicles that you use one time, very expensive way to going into space, and tried to develop a spacecraft on the model of an airline, a craft that could be flown again and again and again, could carry more passengers and could carry more cargo into space. and so the space shuttle was a vehicle that would then enable the construction of a space station. and with a space station then people could really begin to
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live and work off of the planet. >> in the display which is just down the hall, moving beyond earth, what's your take away? what will people learn and see? >> well, we hope that they learn a couple of things in the moving beyond earth gallery which is about the space shuttle era. one is that it's harder to get into space and to stay into space and to do it economically than anybody ever imagined. it turns out the airline wasn't really a good analogy for how to do spaceflight. and then the other is that people who work within the spaceflight industry, the pace flight endeavor really keep encountering the same challenges over and over again. finding new solutions to them. the space entrepreneurs who are working today are all trying to find a less expensive way to go into space and they are looking at reusable rockets where the rocket itself comes back down and lands so that it can be used again. there also are the same
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questions about what happens to the human body in space and how do you keep a crew healthy and fit and productively employed in space, particularly as the durations get longer and longer. so same questions, new solutions, new challenges. >> the evolution in part behind you from the mercury and gemini program to the apollo program to the space shuttle program. looking back all a natural evolution in our spacex plorgs? >> well, it didn't actually have to happen that way. so it's definitely an evolution, but it could have happened in the reverse. and, in fact, ver ner vwernher imagined the first step being just to get into orbit and to build a space station and to establish a rhythm of life on a space station and then go to the moon and then after the moon then go to mars.
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and president kennedy kind of flipped the order of things and so that's why we started with that sequence of vehicles, but had it not been the cold war, had we not been in this competition with the soviet union it might have been a much different evolution. >> everyone we have talked to here at this museum talks about their job with smiles and enthusiasm and excitement. what's going on here? >> well, it's just a fantastic place to work. it really is. mainly because this museum is beloved by millions of people and so it's a real privilege to work here at a place that people always say is their favorite museum or they always say they envy us, but tonight especially everybody is smiling because we've reached the culmination of a two-year effort to totally renovate our central hall and make it much more visitor friendly, make it much more high tech and really put the objects
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on display with some new shine, some new sparkle, and so everybody is excited about that. it's like a debut party tonight. >> and for those of you watching live on c-span 3 american history tv, it really is a night at the museum because it's open all night. so if you are in washington, d.c. on this friday, july 1st, come on down and you will be here for a few more hours. >> i will indeed. >> fully staffed until tomorrow morning when it opens again for the public, but the public can come overnight. >> as always it's free admission as well. so we are hoping to have the museum full all night long. >> and you will hear more and more people behind me. let's go to mike joining us in virginia. thank you for waiting. go ahead with your question with valerie neal here at the museum. >> thanks for taking my call. i understand that the nro has donated a spy satellite to the museum. what satellite was that and when do you expect that to go on
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display? thanks. i have to say you may have stumped the curator here because i don't know that they've actually donated one yet of the newer versions of spy satellites, but we do have on display here the camera system from the corona, which was one of the earliest spy satellites in the late 1960s and early '70s. it went under a code name of discoverer. but we have that camera on display in the film return bucket as well. we have another satellite called greb and another one called solrad and they also were used for secret purposes masquerading under names that led the public to believe that they were simply scientific satellites. so those are the ones i know of that are small and early. we are hoping some day to have a
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more recent one and much a larger one but to my knowledge that agreement hasn't been reached yet, sorry to disappoint you. >> john glenn, neil armstrong, mike collins the first director of this museum and many who have died as well in search of spacex plorgs. why were they such pioneers? >> well, the early astronauts were pioneers because space was this great unknown and people referred to it as the new frontier or next protein but until you get to another planetary body space is a vacuum filled with harsh radiation, a forbidding and unfriendly place and no one knew quite what was going to happen out there. no one knew at the time if the technology would prove to be safe and reliable. they didn't know if the human body could withstand the difference of being in a
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microgravity environment. they didn't even know such simple things as would you be able to see clearly, would you be able to swallow normally so everything was new and the fact that these test pilots were already moved and -- proof to be brave and kranl ous and bold, they loved flying and they were accustomed to pushing aircraft to their outer limits i think made them heroes, the fact we were in this cold war environment and they became symbolic of americans, they became the knights that were going to do this cold war battle with the other side, with the soviet union. coincidentally they all looked like boy could you tell us, you know, with their crew cuts and their crisp clothing. they just sort of looked like they represented the best of america and all of those things
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together i think made them heroes in the eyes of the public. >> you have been here 25, 26 years, among the astronauts who have come through who have you y yet. >> i've been fortunate to meet a number of the space shuttle astronauts because that's the particular period of time i work in, but just two weeks ago we had michael collins here, first time he has been here in a few years, our original director, and we've met buzz aldrin, neil armstrong, john glenn, scott carpenter, pete conrad used to come here, owen garriott. eileen collins has been here and pam mel roy, the two commanders of the shuttle mission. again, in may we had astronauts who had just returned from the
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international space station. so whenever they come to washington they like to come here, too. many of them spent hours here when they were children and they say that this museum was partly responsible for their love of aviation and their passion to become astronauts. >> let me make the point for those of you listening on c-span radio, watching on c-span 3's american history tv we are live at the national air and space museum in washington, d.c. our next caller is john joining us from new hampshire with valerie neal. go ahead, please. >> good evening. i just want to ask if you're going to show the uss enterprise at all during the program. i know there were people involved in the restoration and i've been looking forward to seeing it. also i want to thank national air and space museum for preserving human history for future generations. i see a lot of stuff i used to work on there. so, again, thank you very much.
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>> thank you. the starship enterprise which actually never flew. >> right. though it appeared to fly. you ask whether we will be showing it here at the museum, certainly, and i assume c-span will be showing it also. it is on display here tonight and will be on display here for the foreseeable future. i mean, possibly forever. i don't think we will renovate this hall again for another 20 years or so, so you have a good chance to see it. it has been very carefully restored to look exactly as it looked in 1969, i think, at the time of the episode of the trouble with tribbles which was a key turning point in the history of that show and the history of that model. it has been very carefully wired up with led lights and three
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times a day on the hours of 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00 the lights are activated and you can enjoy seeing enterprise as it appeared on screen with flashing lights in red and green and white, see all the windows. it's quite a striking sight. hope you will come down and see it. >> what did ron berry have in mind when he developed "star trek" and 40, 45 years later we are still talking about t initially it wasn't that popular. >> exactly, it wasn't that popular to begin with, but it had a very devoted fan club early on, a very devoted audience. he really wanted to do a kind of mythical show set in space, but he wanted to deal with contemporary issues and that's what made it so interesting that almost every story was a kind of
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veiled reference to something that was going on in the world around us, whether it was cold war, antagonisms, the conflict in vietnam, women's rights, racial tensions in the united states, conflicts between science and the humanities, conflicts between liberal and conservative points of view. so he was drawing all his subject matter from the present, but then projecting it out into the future. and that gave people a new lens to look at current affairs. >> we are about 15 minutes away from the ceremony that will take place not far from where we are at outside at 8:30 eastern time. let's go to tim joining us in iowa. thanks for your call. go ahead with your question. >> hello. hello? >> good evening. >> hi. >> hello. good evening. >> good evening.
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i know that the museum only has so much space. how many artifacts are kept in storage and how do you store them? >> oh, that's a great question. all together the museum has about 50,000 artifacts that range in size from full aircraft and spacecraft to small things that you can hold in the palm of your hand, things like mission patches or lapel pins or medals and medallions that people in the military services wear. and we have about -- i believe we have about 20% of our collection on display in the museum here on the mall, another 20% of our collection on display near dulles airport in our second facility, which is called the udvar-hazy center and another 20% that is out on loan in museums around the country and even abroad.
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the objects that are in storage are in two locations right now, one in maryland and one out at the udvar-hazy center near dulles airport. that is state of the art storage, it's beautiful, air conditioned, brand new storage facility where things are packed in boxes and on shelves and in very good climate controlled conditions. the place in maryland has been our storage site since the 1940s and it's in need of being vacated and that's what we are doing, quite gradually, is moving things from maryland to the new facility in virginia. just recently we completed the move of all of our aircraft engines. before that we moved some of the most fragile objects, our leather and fur collection. and you might not think the air and space museum would have much
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fur, but a lot of those early aviation jackets and caps were fur lined. so we're taking categories of objects from the old facility to the new facility and before long we are afraid the new facility will be full again and we will have to build more storage space. >> born in arkansas, where did you study all of this? >> i studied space history by doing it really, not by studying it in college or in graduate school, but i had the good fortune to work with nasa throughout the 1980s and that was the dawn of the space shuttle era and i was working with scientists and engineers who were involved in those early shuttle missions up to the challenger tragedy. so there were six years there of spaceflight, preparing for missions, executing missions. so i really learned space
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history on the job. other than the fact that i was a child in the 1960s and i was fascinated with alan shepherd and john glenn. i remember like everybody who was alive then remembers exactly where i was the night we landed on the moon. >> july 1969. >> exactly. and so it was part of my cultural background but it wasn't at all what i thought i would make my career in and that really became a matter of serendipity of being in the right place at the right time. i'm not an engineer, i'm not a scientist, i'm a historian and a writer. >> you mentioned maryland. our next call appropriately from andrews air force base not too far away. patrick, you are on the air. are you in the air force. >> what do you do at andrews air force base. >> i'm security forces. >> thank you. go ahead with your question. >> all right.
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my question is with the landing of the reusable rockets for spacex does the smithsonian plan on getting any of them and displaying any of them at their of their muse seems? >> i couldn't hear the question, patrick, if you could repeat it one more time. >> there's a lot of noise behind us. >> i said with the landing of the spacex rocket does the smithsonian plan on getting any of those rockets and displaying them at the museum. >> thank you. the spacex rocket. >> yes. as a matter of fact, we have been watching spacex with a great deal of interest and also blue origin, and we have opened a conversation with spacex not yet to acquire an entire rocket, but we are very much interested in acquiring one of the engines that has been used and then as we watch their history, as they move into a more frequent pace of operations and evolve their
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technology we're going to be watching that and i think we will eventually bring something larger into the museum. but right now we think an engine would be a perfect acquisition. >> why mars and will we see that? >> well, mars has been on the horizon for as long as people have been dreaming of spaceflight. i think it's the planet that is most familiar to people, the one that seems most like earth, even though it's very much different from earth, but -- and it's just far enough away to be this beckoning challenge. nasa is gearing up for a mission to mars in terms of the technology they're developing and the astronauts they're recruiting, but they don't yet have an approved mandate to go to mars and that's really a matter of political will on the part of the congress, the president, and the american
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people. i would say for the last decade there has been interest in eventually going to mars, but there has not yet been a successful program that has caught on and gained the political commitment that will be required. it's going to be an expensive endeavor, it probably will need to be done internationally so that the costs can be borne by various economies, various countries, and also just to involve other people, other nations who want to be part of space faring. the international space station is kind of the proof test of whether a major endeavor like that can be carried out internationally. >> well, from your vantage point, you are a historian, you are a researcher, your focus is the space shuttle program, but why space in general? why should we spend the billions of dollars to continue these type of programs? >> well, the arguments for going
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into space and staying in space and spending that money in space are varied and they have to do with intangible reasons as well as very practical reasons. had we not ventured out into space we would not be living the modern life we're living. we are so dependent now on satellites for almost everything we do in the world of communications, navigation, weather forecasting. from the research that scientists are doing in space we have had a number of breakthroughs and benefits that have accrued to our knowledge of the practice of medicine or the understanding of how the body malfunctions. more ast ethically and intangibly it's one of those questions of, well, it's there and we want to go wherever we think we can go. but i think the big misunderstanding is that we're
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spending fortunes going into space or doing things in space. if you look at absolute dollars, that seems like a lot of money, but if you look at the pie chart of how the united states spends its money, its public money, that's not even a sliver on that pie chart. it's such a small amount of everything that we spend for human health and welfare, education, national security and all of the social benefits, social programs we have like social security, medicare, medicaid. so in absolute dollars it sounds like a lot, but out of the whole menu of things that a government can do it's one of the smallest things that the u.s. does. >> donald is next, he is joining us from florida. go ahead, donald. >> this is donald in florida.
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a weapons instructor in the early '60s, i taught nuclear weapons and reentry vehicles, the mark 2 solid copper, mark 3, 4, 5, 6 and that's the end of it. i was wondering if they are any mark numbers or with the nuclear weapons with it. mark 6 has a 9 mega ton nuclear weapon. >> we have a very early reentry vehicle and in fact it's on display here in space hall right behind me. we have a minuteman 3 inter continental ballistic missile on display and we also have a pershing and a -- a pershing intermediate range nuclear missile. >> right over there? is that it right over there? >> the green, yes, the green one with the conical top is our minuteman 3. we have a intermediate range nuclear missile as well. the reentries canisters, the
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reentry vehicles are still on those but they're empty of course. any weapons and the electronics inside those have all been removed. >> karen, you are next, joining us from pennsylvania. good evening. >> hi. good evening. valerie, happy 40th anniversary. >> thank you. >> i just have a simple question. i know when they first opened the hazy center you could get a shuttle from the air and space museum down to this. are they still offering that? >> we are no longer offering a shuttle bus service between the downtown location in washington and the udvar-hazy center, but the metro system has been extended out to reston, virginia, and there's a shuttle bus that you can catch at the end of the line, the silver line metro, or you can catch a shuttle bus at dulles international airport and it makes a quicker trip.
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you are less affected by traffic if you ride the metro and that shuttle bus than if you take a shuttle from downtown washington. so it's easier and it will get easier yet when the silver line is completed all the way out to the airport. >> my final question is somebody who has spent so much time here, what has intrigued you the most? what is most interesting to you on display that the public can see? >> oh, gee, that is a hard question because we have relationships with every object here. i would say that one of the intriguing things to me is on display in our space race area just behind me and we have two slide rules, a slide rule that belonged to werner von braun who was the father of rocket tree here in the united states, the father of the saturn 5 launch vehicle and then a slide rule used by his counterpart in the
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soviet union who was the father of their cold war space race program. and they are exactly the same. they are both made by the same manufacturer in germany. to me those objects that were held in the hands of two very influential men working on opposite sides of the globe, working against each other but using the very same tool to solve the very same problems puts a human face on the space race to me. and i like the human scale objects that give you some sense of who the people are and how they accomplished these tremendous feats. these great vehicles wouldn't have existed without hundreds if not thousands of people using their hands and their brains to bring them into being. >> we need to come back. we have only scratched the surface. valerie neal, thank you very much for your time here at the
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national air and space museum. we appreciate it. >> it's a pleasure. >> general jack daily was the person who began our coverage and he will pick off the 40th anniversary celebration. we will take you back outside. we will also hear from mike collins in a video presentation, former astronaut and first director of this museum as it celebrates its 40th birthday. american history tv airs on c-span 3 every weekend. telling the american story through events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span 3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors, american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives, real america revealing the 20th century through archival films and news reels. the civil war where you hear about the people who shaped the
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civil war and reconstruction and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies and legacies. all this month in prime time and every weekended on american history tv on c-span 3. american history tv continues friday during this congressional recess with a look at some of our american artifacts programs. at 8:00 eastern senate majority leader mip mcconnell takes you on a tour of his suite in the u.s. capitol. then a look at an exhibit of african-americans in congress in the 19th century. also political cartoonist nina allen der and library of congress and city of new york exhibit on the life and work of journalist, social reformer and photographer jacob reese. coming up this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, as the national park service prepares to celebrate it's 100th anniversary we will take a look at the development of
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california's national and state parks. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on real america, the 1935 u.s. interior department film the land of the giants, it documents the efforts of the civilian conservation corps and the daily life in the work camps. >> clearing dense undergrowth from the big redwoods from fire prevention and freer growth provides lumber for any type of construction job which might be desirable. they make everything from heavy bridge timbers to park signs. and sunday morning at 8:00 a panel of scholars examines the musical hamilton, the history that is depicted in the musical and the relationship between academic history and the history portrayed in popular culture. then at 10:00 on road to the exhaust remiwind, incumbent president bill clinton and former kansas kansas senator bob dole face on off in their first debate of the 1996 presidential campaign. >> the bottom line is we are the
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strongest nation in the world, we provide the leadership and will have to continue to provide the leadership but let's do it on our terms when our interests are involved and not when somebody blows a whistle at the united nations. >> i believe the evidence is that our deployments have been successful in haiti, in bosnia. when we moved to kuwait to repel saddam hussein's threatened invasion of kuwait. when i have sent the fleet into the taiwan straits, when we worked hard to end the north korean nuclear threat. i believe the united states is at peace tonight in part because of the discipline, careful, effective deployment of our military resources. >> and at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american artifacts, we will take a tour of arlington house with national park service ranger matthew penrod. built by george washington's step grandson it was the home of robert e. lee who had married into the family. >> he declared this house a federalist house, this was to represent all the beliefs and ideals of george washington and
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that included, once again, the idea that this nation would exist forever. and that no state had a right to leave it. so how ironic is it that that man's daughter would marry robert e. lee, who became the great confederate general, and perhaps the man who came closest than any other man in history to destroying the nation that was created in the american revolution. >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to the smithsonian national air and space museum in washington, d.c., celebrated its 40th anniversary on friday, july 1st. american history tv was there, and next, we'll show you the museum's signature event marking the occasion. speakers include the museum's director, general jack dailey, as well as the first female pilot to be a member of the air
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force thunderbirds. plus, a taped message from "apollo 11" astronaut michael collins. this is just over a half hour. >> you're looking at a live picture inside the smithsonian national air and space museum located on the national mall in washington, d.c. today, july 1st, marking 40 years since president gerald ford was on hand back in 1976 to dedicate this museum. since then, more than 320 million visitors have come here and to the museum's second location, just outside of washington, d.c., near dulles airport. together, more than 8 million visitors come here combined, making these two museums the most popular in the u.s. and we'll be live during the next 2 1/2 hours leading up to our coverage of the museum's 40th anniversary celebration. we'll take a look at some of the one of a kind artifacts here and you can call in and share your
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comments with the curators, the people who acquire and manage the collection. here are the phone numbers for the easter or central time zones -- 201-748-8900. for those in the mountain and pacific time zones -- 202-748-8901. send us a tweet @cspanhistory or join us on facebook at we are joined by general jack dailey. he is the man in charge of this museum. you've been here 17 years. this is a big night for you. >> this is a very big night and one we've been looking forward to for quite a while. >> so, as we stand here in this iconic space, so many people have come through here over the years, 320 million since it opened in 1976. give us the history. why was this designed and developed in the first place? >> the smithsonian has the largest and most diverse collection of air and space artifacts in the world. and the problem, of course, is how to display them, because they're quite large, most of
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them. and the collection was put together by dr. paul garver and general hap arnold after world war ii, which is where the majority of the airplanes were acquired, but there was place to display them. we had them in the industrial building and in what they call a tin shed for years. but this museum was approved in 1947, and it then became a reality in 1976. so it was a long span in there, because there was actually some concern toes whether a museum that dealt with only air and space artifacts would be of interest to the public. that concern was alleviated very quickly, because we got the first million visitors within the first month of the opening. so, and 10 million in that first year. and we've averaged about 9 million since then. >> president gerald ford called this a state-of-the-art building. so let's look at the numbers. it was built back then at a cost
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of $41 million. and now you have embarked on a massive renovation campaign. let's look at the numbers, according to the "washington post." $726 million for the construction and storage. this would be federal government, taxpayer dollars. another $250 million in private funding. so basically, close to $1 billion to refurbish this facility. >> that's correct. it's had a situation where we have discovered some things from an engineering standpoint as we did the analysis to get ready for the renovation that has added to essentially we're going to have to replace everything in the building, all of the air conditioning, plumbing, electricity. that was all planned. but it was not planned to have to replace the stone on the outside. and it's been determined that it is not reusable. >> i noticed coming in, very thin stone, and a lot of it is cracking. >> it is. and that was exactly the problem. it was thinner than it should have been. people didn't know that back in those days, but it's 1 1/4
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inches. the national gallery right across the mall was exactly the same stone. it was 3 inches in width, and theirs is all reusable. so it was, you know, a low-cost alternative back in those days. >> what is going to happen this evening? what can we expect? >> we're going to open the boeing milestones of flight hall, which has been completely redone. and by the way, essentially, that gallery has been here since 1976. now, some of this, because it contains the icons of our collection, it hasn't changed in terms of the content as much, but the displays have been completely revised in terms of the way we deal with the visitors. >> this is not only a museum, but it's also a research facility. you have a team that is looking at artifacts, combing through the material. what do they do? what's their mission? >> well, actually, the collection is the foundation of all of our research. and so, we are the world's
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experts on our collection. and as part of that, there are so many stories and so much inspiration that comes just from the information associated with it that we use it as the foundation for our educational programs where we try to inspire young folks to try things that they think they can't do, and where we point out the way aviation has been a series of people who didn't know how to do what they were going to try, yet they had the determination, the persistence to stay with it. we say we commemorate, educate and inspire. and if we can inspire people to want to know more, and that's one of the important parts of what we're doing with our new approach to dealing with the visitors, is we want to create a relationship where we can stay in touch with them after they leave. and for people who will never come here, to be able to get in touch with us and actually have a dialogue with us. >> a retired marine corps pilot, you spent some time at nasa. you've been here 17 years. are you still as excited today as you were when you came a decade and a half ago?
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>> i have the best job in the world. yes, i certainly am. >> and you say that with a smile. >> and i mean it. everybody -- i have lots of people watching me to see when i'm going to croak so they can apply for this job. >> we got a tweet from david, who says, "where are the moon rocks?" >> the moon rocks, there's only one, and it's in the main gallery, the "milestones of flight" hall. it's right adjacent to the moon landing. and that was moved because it used to be next to the front doors coming in from the north entrance. >> give us a sense of where we're located here at the museum. >> okay. we're in the eastern end of the museum in what's called the space race. we call it the space hall. this has many of the u.s. and russian space artifacts that were used in the space race. we have the apollo soyuz right behind us, the hubble is right behind you. so these are major.
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22,000 pounds, by the way. so, when you think about the fact that these things were put into space, in orbit. this is not the actual hubble. our plan was to recover it and bring it back and then display it here. this is the engineering backup for the hubble mission. so, it's kind of amazing that everything in here is either the real thing that did it or it's the authentic engineering and was going to be the backup vehicle. so, spacecraft that don't come back, of course, we can't display, but we do have -- they're not replicas. they were actually the engineering models developed at the same time as the one that's on orbit. >> and i'm going to have you turn around, because i'm old enough to remember when these splashed down in the pacific ocean. what is this? and how did it return to earth? >> this is the "columbia" command module that was piloted by general michael collins, who was the first director of this museum. >> and he's still alive. >> yes, he was, and he was just here last month.
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and the interesting thing about this is it has not really been opened since 1970. and we found graffiti inside where he had written on the side of it, and so did buzz aldrin and neil armstrong. but first time it was ever recorded. so, he talked about it a little bit and the experiences he had. but this is from "apollo 11." so this was the base camp, so to speak, for the folks that went to the moon. >> and what's amazing is how small it is. >> yes, for three people. >> cramped quarters. >> yes. fortunately, they weren't gone that long, and two of them were out on vacation for part of the trip. >> do you have a favorite exhibit, a favorite spot here at the museum. >> well, i do, yes. we have an airplane down in the sierra gallery called the boeing
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f- f-4/b-4, and my family flew that exact airplane the year i was born, so it has special meaning to me. >> we are inside the national air and space museum. we'll go to phone calls as well. peter is calling. we'll hear from you. peter, good evening. peter, are you there? now we can't hear the call from peter. so, let me go back -- peter? i think peter's here now. go ahead, peter. we can hear you. >> caller: hi. i wanted to know if the museum would introduce any articles from the propulsion -- being in 1960s and if you have anything from that or some of the other programs -- [ inaudible ] >> i think he's on a cell phone, so we heard part of it. talking about nuclear weapons propulsions from the 1960s. >> well, yes, we do have launch vehicles, both the russian and the u.s., in the "milestones of


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