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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 18, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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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 flight" gallery.
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they're part of the original collection here in fact, and we were provided those during the period where we were destroying those launch vehicles in both russia and here. >> we have another call from steve in new york. steve, go ahead, please. >> caller: hello, general? is anybody on the other end there? >> yes, we are. we can hear you. >> caller: hello? >> go ahead, steve. hello. >> caller: you know, when columbus sailed for america, he didn't know it at the time, but queen isabella funded his expedition. and they were looking for known treasure, a shorter way to the orient to get spices, and he collided with the american continent by accident. and we know for a certainty that
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there on the moon and on mars there's not a blade of grass, there's not a glass of water, there's not a breath of fresh air. so, you know, you risk life and limb to go to a better ace. but we have that right here on earth. why would we want to go there, moon or mars? can someone explain that to me? >> thank you for the call. >> well, you mentioned that columbus did not go to where he thought he was going, so he was unsuccessful in his originally planned trip. but look at the side benefits that came from that exploration. and that's essentially what we're doing in space, because we don't know what's there or necessarily what the benefits might be, although there are many of these planets and asteroids that are rich with minerals and things that we need. and so, they could be mined
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eventually, once we get the techniques. but exploration brings with it the unexpected, but it's necessary because we'll never know what's going on in these other places unless we actually adventure to them. so yeah, that's always an argument, why do we spend this money to do that and things like going to the moon are important because that's a stepping off point to go to other places, if we ever can get the support to do such things. so exploration's part of the american spirit. >> this is an obvious question, but as you look around here and you see the space suits that astronauts wore and you can really see how the technology changed and evolved from the 1950s to the 1990s to today, what is your takeaway as you see those technological changes? >> that's the other thing. people come in here and say what are the benefits we get from space? and they're standing there with their digital phone, their digital watch, they've got a gps that got them here. we've seen tremendous progress,
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but there are some interesting facts about this in that our moon suits, for example, were made for short-term, very rough wear. and they're not holding up very well on the long term. so we've had to do some serious conservation on them. and one of the things we had recently was a kickstarter success program where we got funding to redo not only neil armstrong's suit, but also allen shepard's. >> let's talk numbers, but let's get the numbers on the screen again. 202-784-8900 if you live in the eastern or central time zones and 202-784-8901 for the mountain and pacific time zones. we're here with general jack dailey, inside the air and space muse museum, the most popular museum, part of the smithsonian in washington, d.c., and a busy weekend with the july 4th holiday. let's talk about your numbers. how many people work here? what is your operating budget? >> we have 242 -- [ inaudible ] part-time. they're what we call the
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explainers, college and high school students who work here and are funded by general electric aviation. but the important thing is we have 650 volunteers, and they really are the ones that make this place operate. it's actually a fantastic experience to just -- their enthusiasm and their knowledge that they bring to this place is really the key to our success. the numbers we work on are about $32 million a year in operational costs, and we raise about half of that ourselves. the half that we get from the federal government pays for the federal employees' salaries. there is no money in there for operations. so any program that we have here, we have to get sponsorship from the outside. >> and some of the sounds that people might hear, the imax theater is right next to us. >> yes. >> one of the changes from 1976. but if you were here in 1976 when gerald ford dedicated this museum and now here today, has it changed significantly, or is
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it quite similar? >> it's very similar in that the building hasn't changed and the artifacts haven't changed that much. there have been additions, hubble, for example, is a good example, and also the "columbia" capsule. but many of these galleries have been here since our opening, and that's one of the reasons why this, we're calling it transformation of the galleries that we're in. that's the $250 million that's going to be raised privately. we'll use that money to transform these galleries into a new approach to telling of the same story. >> the work will begin when? it will be concluded at what point? and will start of the museum stay open? >> i'd like to start with that last part. we're going to stay open the entire time. that's a very important point, because when we start this construction, it's going to look like we're being completely demolished because of the cladding and coming off of the sides and so forth, but we are going to stay open, because people have made plans to come here for years, and we don't
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want to disappoint them. we're going to keep the major icons of the collection available so that they can see it when they come in. and we're under way now. we're actually at a 35% design on the building revitalization, and it will take about 6 1/2 years once we get into full operation. >> we're also joined by our radio listeners on c-span radio, and we're talking to general jack dailey inside the national air and space museum, and we have a call from dean in arkansas. thanks for being with us on c-span3's american history tv. go ahead. >> caller: hey, how are y'all doing? >> we're fine. go ahead, dean. thank you. >> caller: all right, listen, i have a commemorative coin from the tuskegee airmen. i befriended a gentleman by the name of -- i'm sorry, it's a chicago dodo chapter. and i've got a picture that he
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sent me with a letter from him. and i'm just trying to figure out where i can put it that would honor him, in some museum. >> okay. dean, thanks for the call. and for that or for anyone that has artifacts, what advice do you give them? >> well, of course, we are interested in any artifacts that people may have, but we also have a storage sensitivity because we have more than we can display. the smithsonian has 136 million artifacts, and less than 10% of those are on display. so, that's a factor. a coin is not a major consideration in terms of space, but it may be something that we already have and we don't take duplicates. but in your case, we do have a tuskegee airmen display here, but on the 24th of september, the smithsonian national museum
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of african-american history and culture will open, and they will have -- we just hung a steerman flown by the tuskegee airmen over there which we had been holding for them. so, those are two locations you might want to consider in terms of getting maximum exposure for your coin. >> no room for a space shuttle here, which is one of the reasons why you have the national air and space museum at the dulles airport. how did that all come about? >> well, only 10% of our collection would fit in this building. we had another 10% on loan around the world, but we had 80% in storage. and of course, we did have the "enterprise," but that was not until the search started as to where to put the annex to this building. and so, when the shuttle "enterprise" was delivered to dulles, that kind of set the stage for the future for us. >> vick is joining us from california. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, general. i have gone to the air force museum in pensacola, and my
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favorite deal at pensacola was the two rooms where they recovered the sbd and the f-4 out of lake michigan. do you have any plans of having a display similar to that at your measure zeem? >> we have a restoration hangar at the steven f. wood center at dulles where we actually restore aircraft. right now we have flack beta b-26 that flew more missions than any other bomber in world war ii. but the marine corps museum just restored their sbd in our restoration hangar and now is on display down at the rink museum in quantico. so we won't be putting out a display of an aircraft needing restoration because we have ongoing restorations right now where people can actually watch the process. >> i'm going to go back to something you said earlier. so, it opened in july 1976.
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the first month a million visitors. at the dedication ceremony, president ford called americans a willingness, even an eagerness to reach for the unknown. and so, my question, why are we so fascinated with flight? >> with flight or with -- >> with aviation, with this museum, with space. >> well, i think it's exploration, you know, it's the frontier, and it still is. so, there's always been a -- if you look through our history -- in fact, one of our new exhibits in this building is going to be called "speed," and it shows our obsession with going faster in all modes of transportation. and so you know, if you think about the wright flier in 1903, maybe maximum speed of 90 or 100 knots, and then 66 years later walking on the moon, that -- >> and that's what president ford made that reference. >> exactly. >> that in the lifetime of president ford and people in that time, they had seen the
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full span, the full arc. >> but look, if you think of any other occupation or industry or endeavor that has a learning and performance curve that can match that, you can't find one. i mean, it's just absolutely amazing. and the benefits. you know, look at the world travel, for example. we can fly cross country in a couple of hours where it used to take three months to start back in the old days. it even took two or three days when we first started doing it by air because they flew by day and then took the train at night, then flew by day and took the train. so the range, speed, payload and the capabilities, and safety, safety is really a major portion of this entire program. >> we are going to keep you for a few more minutes, and then we're going to show our audience some of the artifacts and exhibits here at the museum. but branch is joining us from
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oregon. go ahead, branch. you're on the air. >> caller: oh, awesome. very nice to meet you, general. my question for you is a two-part question. one, how many exhibits are actually on display? and what is your favorite exhibit? >> we have 22 galleries. and i am not going to give you a number, but i'll say it's more than 160 actual artifacts. i'm talking about large artifacts. if we count the metals and patches and some of the smaller things, it gets into the thousands, actually. so, and i mentioned earlier, we've got a boeing f-4/b-4 that my father flew back in 1934, and that -- i mean, the exact airplane that we have on display. so, that's clearly my favorite. >> i'm going to have you look up there and just tell me what that is. >> that's a v-1 buzz bomb, the one that was used to bomb london and other places.
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and then, of course, the b-2 is right next to it. so, we're showing the evolution of rocket-powered devices, and that was a pulse jet, they call it. that's why i call it a buzz bomb, because it'd be on, off, on, off. they weren't very accurate, so the way they controlled where they landed was how much fuel they put in them. so they went over and ran out of gas and then dropped wherever they happened to be. >> state-of-the-art back then in the 1940s? >> not only that, but i'll tell you, if you look at the development of american rocket engines, they didn't deviate very much from this in our very beginnings. >> you had how many missions in vietnam over the years? >> 450. >> and what do you remember? >> remember? well, you know, i was a professional marine. and when vietnam started, my duty was to go fight. and so, i actually consider
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myself fortunate to have been able to fly in that many because not everybody got to stay in the squadron as long as i did. >> we have pat joining us from maryland. pat, go ahead, please. >> caller: general dailey, it's really a pleasure to be able to speak with you, sir, and i'm so impressed with the museum every time i visited, the wide array of exhibits. it's amazing. and you cover everything. i'd like you to talk, sir, a little bit about the controversy, who is the first to fly? samuel langley's air dream is there at the annex, and of course, we see the wright flier. so, i'd just like you to take a stand -- who is the first to fly? >> the wright -- >> you're on the record. >> the wright brothers were the first to fly. and we'd be willing to debate that with anyone. there are other claims that have been made. and by the way, all of those others that have been made we have investigated thoroughly, and the evidence is not there to
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substantiate those claims. we have two researchers here on our staff, dr. tom crouch and dr. peter jacob. they are the world's leading authorities on the wright brothers. but they are very conscientious in trying to make sure we know the right answers on these. we're very careful to make sure that when we say something, we can prove it. and in this case, we can. if i could just say one other thing. >> absolutely. >> because this is kind of important. when the wright brothers were successful over their flight, they get a patent that essentially said if you fly a manned, powered, controlled device, then you've violated our patent. well, glen curtis did that very thing very quickly after they had flown successfully. and so, they sued him. so, litigation was a very early part of aviation. and one of the things that came out of this was, the smithsonian
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was also competing. dr. langley, who was essentially the chief scientist of the united states, eight days prior to the wright brothers' success tried to fly his air drome off a house boat here in the potomac. it went directly into the water and "the press review" said it had the flying qualities of a handful of mortar. but later, after dr. langley had died, his deputy, talked to glen curtis and said, you know, if we could get this airplane to fly, then we could declare dr. langley as the father of aviation. so curtis who now had a lawsuit on him saying that would clear him of that problem, he put 52 modifications on the airplane, including a bigger motor, which had 52 horsepower compared to the 12 horsepower the wrights used, and he bounced it down the potomac on pontoons and they said, hooray, langley's the
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father of aviation. well, orville was so upset that he gave his wright flier to the museum of science in london. and it was not until 1937 or so when we formally apologized and said, you're right, the wright brothers are the fathers of aviation. the war started, and so the icon of our collection spent the war in a tunnel outside of london, and we didn't get it back until after the war. so, you know, it's kind of interesting to see how some of these things have come around, but the wright flier was the first airplane to fly, and we can prove it. >> and how significant was david mccullough's book on the wright brothers in terms of the research and identifying what they did and what they meant for america's, and the world's flight? >> well, he's a fine writer. and maybe the most important part of that is that his books are widely sold and read. and so, the word gets out to the public through that means. he did a lot of research with
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dr. crouch and dr. jacob and actually references them freely in his book. so yes. you know, that's one of the things about this whole place is getting the information to people to spark that interest where they want to know more. so this question is one we welcome, because if we can get -- okay, let's try to figure this out, let somebody come in and try to prove something different on this. so, we're anxious to hear from folks. >> it's clear this still excites you after all these years. >> it really does, yes. >> let's hear from wayne, who's joining us from massachusetts with general jack dailey. >> caller: good evening, general, and semper fi from a former marine, 2nd marine, 2nd recon battalion on camp le june, north carolina, sir. >> hoo-rah. >> caller: i have a question. last year, the movie about gary powers being shot down in his u2 spy plane was a big hit with tom
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hanks. i understand the remains of that spy plane are still in the soviet, the former soviet union. what are the possibilities of getting that from the russians so that it can be implemented into the program there at the museum? >> wayne, thank you. >> yeah, of course, we have a u2 on display here in this build g building. but i'm not familiar with any efforts to recover the wreckage, but that would have been part of a state department negotiation afterwards. and of course, it was an embarrassment to the country because we had denied that we were overflying russia at that time. so as i say, i know of no plans, and i'm not sure that -- by the way, we couldn't take it if we got it, because we don't have room for it. >> let's go to bill, our last call from new york. go ahead, bill. >> caller: hello, general
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dailey. thank you for taking my call. i just wanted to ask you something. my dad used to work for grummans in the '60s and was actually an engineer on the lem. do you have any artifacts from the lem, and also semper fi, general dailey. >> it's great to have all these marines on the line tonight. i'm not sure i understand the -- do we have additional artifacts from the lem? is that the question? >> xakts exaexactly. >> of course, the ones that went to the moon are still there. because the program was cut short, it was the reason why we had this equipment available to us. but this one that we have on display now is configured as identically as the one that went with "apollo 11." so, we do have other artifacts associated with lems, but everything we have on this one is installed -- in fact, this is the most complete display that we've ever had on this particular artifact. it's been on display here now
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for 40 years, but now an individual who was actually involved with the original configuration of the lem for "apollo 11" came in and did the work on this. so we're very pleased with this exhibit now and its authenticity. >> if you could look ahead 40 years tonight, what will this facility look like? >> well, i'll tell you one thing, it would look a lot better than it does today because it would have all new stone and all new exhibits. and they would now be starting to get a little long in the tooth, perhaps, and we'd be looking for more money to redo the whole place. >> general jack dailey, thank you for being with us. we have a busy night. we appreciate it. the individual who runs this facility, the most popular museum in the smithsonian. thanks for your time. >> could i put in a plug? >> absolutely. >> at 8:30 tonight eastern daylight time, we're going to have an opening ceremony for our new exhibit, the "boeing milestones of flight" hall, right next door to where we are now, and it's open to the public. we're going to stay open all night. so, if you haven't got anything
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else to do tonight, even if you do, come on down, because the weather's clearing here. we're going to do it outside. we're going to have a grand time. >> and c-span american history tv is carrying it live. we're going to show you around. thanks again for being with us. >> sure. >> we're going to show you around this terrific facility, this museum, and some of the artifacts, one of a kind items only here at the air and space museum. >> behind me you see the wright flier, the world's first airplane. on the morning of december 17th, 1903, at 10:35 a.m., orville wright at the controls takes flight for 120 feet. that is the first time a man has entered into the air in a powered flying machine. at the end of the day, after four flights where orville and wilbur alternate, the fourth flight with wilbur at the controls, 852 feet, 30 miles per hour at an altitude of 30 feet. and they usher in this aerial
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age, the age of aviation. and how they came to create that moment is very important, because not only do the wright brothers invent the airplane, but they invent aeronautical engineering, the processes that are needed to create actual flying machines. so beginning in 1889, wilbur and orville wright, they are unmarried. they own a bicycle shop, they run a printing business. they are yankee mechanics. they know tools and they know mechanical devices, and they take that interest in applying to printing presses, to bicycles, and they apply it to solving a problem of building a flying machine. so, in 1899, they write the smithsonian institution, and they ask for all the literature on flight. and they learn about these predecessors like george cayley, the father of avl navigation, samuel langley, who's going to be the secretary of the smithsonian and going to be a competitor. they learn about octave chanute,
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who is all the knowledge between europe and the united states. but what sets the wright brothers apart is that they break the problem down. we have to look at an airplane as a system of systems, looking at propulsion, structures, control and aerodynamics, the science of flight. and so, between 1899 and 1902, they start flying gliders. they start with kites. they had their gliders. and by 1902, they have a controllable glider in which they've made this new fundamental contribution called wing-warping. rather than using your weight to shift the balance of the actual glider, they actually have a mechanical system where they can twist the wings. how they come to that conclusion is that the brothers always complemented each other as intellectuals. so, they argued, how are we going to control this airway? how are we going to make it move in the air and not just move in a straight line? and one day in the bicycle shop,
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wilbur is talking to a customer and he has an intertube box for a bicycle tire and he's twisting it as he's talking to this individual. and he sees in his mind's eye -- and the wright brothers are all about nonverbal thinking, the mind's eye, envisioning what the actual dimension, you know, the three-dimensional technology is. and he says, well, if we start twisting the wings of our glider, we can control it. you lift one wing up, the other goes down, it will turn. and so, that's how they come one these new ideas about what the airplane is. they create the world's first working wind tunnel to actually do the math of previous experimenters like john smeeten, and they find out that he's actually wrong with the co-efficient of lift on the wings and they recalculate it and apply it to their work, so they design wings capable of creating lift. so, by 1902, they have a working glider where they're flying for up to, you know, almost 30 seconds from the dunes of kitty hawk, north carolina, the kill
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devil hills, in which they've traveled there because it's the one spot in america that has consistent winds as well as isolation so they can work in peace without distraction. so, through 1902 and 1903, they add the last big part of their airplane. so, they've done the wings, the aerodynamics. they've done the structure, which has been influenced by octave chanute and the praest truss that you see on railroad bridges in the 19th century. then you look at the control system, the wing warping, so the last ingredient is the propulsion system. and they acknowledge it's going to be reciprocating piston engine. so orville and charlie taylor, their mechanic in the bike shop, create a horizontal force on their 12-horsepower engine. and they know they need that much power to generate the thrust of the propellers. and that's another very specific choice the wright brothers make, is going to have propellers on their new flying machine. so, how do propellers work? they figure they can go to
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existing data on ship propellers, and that doesn't give them any answers. so the same sort of intellectual give-and-take, the brothers are nashing at each other, they're really going at it. and they realize that a propeller is a rotating wing in a helical path. and so, they take their wind tunnel data, they adapt it to the designing of a propeller and design two propellers capable of producing up to 67% to 70% thrust out of that 12-horsepower engine. you see two propellers on the wings, pusher configuration is what it's called. and they wanted the propellers to turn in opposite direction, so counterrotating. so, taking their knowledge of working in a workshop, you twist the belt from the power system going from the roof, you can see one of the chains twisted on the drive system of the flyer, what they called our flyer. and so, that last thing, the
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propulsion system, enables the brothers to go to kitty hawk in the late fall, early winter of 1903, where they start readying their flying program. they have a crash. they're down for a couple of days. but it's december 17th, 1903, that they actually fly this airplane that you see behind me. and it's that moment, that reaching of that actual getting into the air under the power and looking at all the technology here in terms of you have your aluminum engine, you have spruce propellers and spruce structural members, you have metal fittings, and you have the fabric, pride of the west, according to the brand. so, that all comes together in the system of the airplane that they create. so, after those four flights, baig a big wind comes up at kitty hawk and the flyer tumbles, demolishes. but they consider it a success. they pack it up and go back to dayton where they're from, and
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they send a telegram to their father, success four flights, and they make this announcement. that's the quiet way of saying that the aerial age has emerged. by 1905, in an improved flier, wilbur and orville are flying up to half an hour for long distances and figureates above hudson prairie, just outside of dayton, ohio. so, the 03 flyer, as it's going to be called, is forgotten. and it sits in crates, it goes through a flood. and where all the crates have been soaked with water and mud. and then orville is starting to reassemble the airplane and put it on different displays through the 1920s. and in 1926, it goes to england where it's at the science museum. and during world war ii, it's actually stored west of london during the blitz, during the attacks on england. but it comes to 1948, when orville with great fanfare donates the wright flyer to the
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smithsonian institution, and it's been on public display, whether it's at the old arts and industries building in the classic tin shed that existed for many years, and with the opening of the national air and space museum in 1976, the wright flyer went on display. and in 2003 in the centennial of the wright brothers' first flight, this gallery was open to tell that story of the making of the first airplane, and with it, aeronautical engineering. what you see here is the original airplane, the wright flyer. but it has been restored and things have been changed over the years. so, the fabric that you see there is not the original fabric from 1903, but it's actually been applied in the same sewing methods and construction as the 1903 airplane. so, orville removed the fabric, and they made the airplane look better for when it went to england. but in the 1980s, this airplane underwent a restoration. so the spruce structural
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members, the engine, one of the propellers, that's all original. over in the corner of the gallery is one of the original propellers you'll see, because when the airplane took its tumble, it cracked and split that and broke that propeller. we've just left the wright brothers and the invention of the air of age gallery, and now we're in "legend memory and the great war in the air," the world war i gallery. and the plane behind me is a spad 13. and in many ways, this is what the configuration of the french and the rest of the aeronautical community takes what the wright brothers create in 1903, and they make it their own. so this is a 1917 design, and it's the highest performance french fighter of world war i. and what that means is that it can go 130 miles per hour, so 100 miles an hour faster than a wright flyer, but it's also just a large strut-and-wire braced
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airplane, just like the wright flyer. but it's now in what would be called the tractor configuration, where the engine and propeller are in the front. there's a central fuselage. and take note of that french word, fuselage, with two biplane wings, an emp naj of the horizontal and vertical stabili stabilizer, and you have airline alerons. so, there are french and others flying airplanes, but the french really run with it, and they take a lead as well as other nations. but in looking at this airplane, it's the epitome 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 desi designer louis becheroau.
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he's designed air fighters, the spad7 is known for combat over france and the western front during world war i, but it's the spad 13 that enters service in may of 1917 that reflects the epitome of french, high-performance, fighter design. it has very thin air fulz like the wright flyer, and that allows it to go very fast. and it's fabric covered. but it's that engine, the hispano sweeza 220-horsepower v-8 engine that's the core of that. so, you see the radiator shutters and it looks like it's a round engine, but there's actually a v-8 engine underneath that cowling. and by cowling, there's a tight-fitting, metal covering over the engine, and it makes it all streamlined, allows the air to flow over it more efficiently. so, mark birkett of the spanno swezo company, the translation, spanish swiss, has developed a series of automobile engines in
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the prewar era. he adapts this to the aeronautical world by taking two of the engines and makes it into a v-8. and what's 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 passages in 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, 220 horsepower with these engines by the time they're introduced in the spad-13. there's always a technological push-pull over the western front in world war i in which the germans have an advantage with their thick air fold tubular still fuselaged aircraft like the one in this gallery, but the spad-13 is the french answer to that airplane. and it's not as maneuverable, but it has the speed, it can dive away. and so, they are going to take
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this airplane and develop new group fighter tactics in response to the german group fighter tactics. and so, this first generation of significant, high-scoring french aces fly these airplanes in the french squadrons. and so, this becomes the, as the highest performance airplane, it has two 30-caliber machine guns firing through the propeller, and the ability for these airplanes 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. that means you can mount a machine gun right in front of the pilot with a sight, 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
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or one machine gun, it actually turns off the machine gun. and then as the propeller blade is passed, the propeller would turn back on. 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 frontline-ready american fighter for the conflict. and this particular spad-13 that you see here, that is in american air service markings. it was built, one of the manufacturers contracted to make spads. there were 840 spads made total. and the 22nd aero squadron was assigned this airplane. and a young pilot named ray brooks painted the name of his fiancee's college on there, smith college, and he had three previous airplanes, so it's smith iv. and he goes into combat with this airplane. he scores one aerial kill, and this particular spad-13.
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some other pilots in the same squadron shoot down at least five more. and so, this spad-13 flew with the first generation of american combat pilots. now, ray brooks flies it. you know, he names this airplane after his fiancee's school. and most people would name their airplane after their girlfriends themselves, but he actually made a conscious decision. he didn't want to have this airplane damaged, sitting at the end of the field and having the mechanic saying, well, ruthie's damaged, we've got to fix her. he wanted to actually keep her out of that situation. and so, he names it after her college. smith iv is in its 1918 camouflage, but you also see along the fuselage and wings of smith iv 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.
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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 just goes through the fabric, it just passes through the other side. so all it needs to be is patched, and that's what the job of the mechanic would be, is just to patch that to restore the integrity, and they'd 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. 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
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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, the ryan nvp spirit of st. louis. this airplane in may 1927 flew the 3,600 miles in 33 1/2 hours from new york to paris. flown by charles lindbergh, who was an unknown male pilot. his goal was to win the ortege prize of $25,000 for the first nonstop flight from new york to paris.
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orteng was a hotel entrepreneur and he wanted to join husbais fr country, france, with the united states. and so, that was the impetus of this flight. but what it represents in the history of aviation is part of the telling of the airplane and this transformation of the airplane from what the wright brothers created and how it transitions over the '20s and '30s to what we call the modern airplane. and so, lindbergh was an unknown air male pilot in 1926 who, as flying from the st. louis to chicago air route, flying the mail, was thinking about is this possible? and building upon that idea, he gets financiers from st. louis, people, you know, he trained them to fly, you know, 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 happens is he ends up in san diego with ryan airlines, and he meets donald hall, their chief engineer, and they design
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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. so, working with don hall through the spring of 1927, lindbergh creates this airplane. and so, we see this. it's a high-wing mono plane. it's a wood wing that's externally braced to the fuselage. and it has underneath its fabric in the fuselage tubular steel framework. that's an innovation that emerges in world war i, especially from the fulker 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
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strut-and-wire brace construction, but you know it works. and so, and then it's also the basic design of this ryan airplane called the m-2 they base this airplane on. and so, 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 makes that gamble because he says, the lighter the airplane, the more simpler, i can control it. and so, this is an airplane built for endurance, you know. 450 gallons of gasoline, which doubles the weight to almost 4,000, 5,000 pounds. and so, he has to learn how to handle this airplane. and so, when it's finished in april 1927, the first thing he does is he breaks a san diego-to-st. louis transcontinental speed record. he visits his backers and flies on to new york, which is the jumping off point to this flight to paris. and so, this is where lindbergh's choices really come
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into play in which you don't see a canopy on this airplane. you see a door in the side. he actually 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 to look out the window in 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 to death or catching him on fire and burning him alive. and so, he's making these choices. but look forward of the fuel tank area where it says "spirit of st. louis," and you see the radial engine. that's a wright j-5 whirlwind, which is a cornerstone technology of what's going to become the aeronautical revolution, the creation of modern airplanes, is that 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
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cooled as the air flow goes over them. but it's a reliable engine. it stays, you know, it stays running for 33 hours. he knows that. it's a conscious choice. so, 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, creates thrust for one operating regime, but it has one innovation in it that the standard steel propeller company novartis and is ready by the time lindbergh, who in his memoir says i want a metal propeller for the "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
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rings, change the pitch for whatever setting you want it to be, so they can get you off the ground with the heavyweight 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 didn't ha have a compass and method called dead reckoning, where he would use the stars to plot his path. he's going to fly the circumpolar 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, and he's going to make his way to paris. he does that over the course of a day and a half, and he lands
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at lebrege 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 technologi technologist, the person who worked with don hall to create this airplane, enters into this legendary status as probably the supreme aviator of the world, especially the united states, in which he becomes a household name, in which the growth in 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, you know, expands the idea of an aviation 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 that means lindbergh and the spirit together and their flight. and so, this pop culture phenomena that lindbergh becomes is a result of this flight, and it's this era-defining moment in
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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 to 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 his long-distance flying there as well. and when you look at 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
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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 ten 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, that's the original metal. so it is once again one of those one of a kind original artifacts that makes the smithsonian aviation material 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
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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, transportation and mail carrier to the jet age of the 1950s through 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 kinney is joining us, the curator. just saw you a moment ago in that taped piece. talk to us about the spirit of st. louis. and some interesting things you found in the last year or so. >> a true milestone of flight. charles lindbergh makes that epic transatlantic flight in may 1927 and it's always been a signature artifact of the
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smithsonian, since the building opened in 1976. so this opportunity to redo this gallery, the 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 flags from the tour of europe as well as latin america and the markings of the unit. so you see these people making 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. your own background, why are you so interested in this area? >> i've always been interested in aviation history. growing up it was all about old airplanes. and i found an opportunity to study history and it was a passion that i had that i was able to cultivate and study and work hard and i ended up at the smithsonian. >> i'm going to ask you what is probably an impossible question. was there a turning point or turning points in america's aviation history? >> we have to look at two eras,
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the era of the propeller driven airplane up to world war ii. lindbergh is a turning point, really showing that aviation is possible. after that the invention of the jet engine. you see the moment to increase the popularity of jet air travel and almost anyone can travel anywhere in the world today as a result of that. >> you get a new display, no plane, new flight plan, where does it all awe go? how do you find space for it all? >> that's always the challenge, the large artifacts, the airplanes, the spacecraft take up a lot of space. we have the national mall building, almost 100 big artifacts here. we have the center out near dulles international airport. and we have a lot of items on loan or in storage. it's always a challenge. but the history of the flight is always developing and evolving.
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we have to think, what's the next big object we're going to collect. >> our guest here is jeremy kinney, the curator. we're coming to you today because of the importance of today 40 years ago. >> the opening of the national air and space museum on the mall. this is the first time that a major museum has been dedicated to the story of air and space. it's an immensely popular activity for people visiting to come to the air and space museum. >> do you have a favorite exhibit? >> for me a favorite exhibit is the one i'm currently working on. the pioneers of flight gallery, my favorite because of the
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curtis r3c air racer. but i'm working on the new speed gallery opening in a few years as part of our transformation. >> we can't see it right now but 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. we've grown and changed. that is part of the story of aviation as well, isn't it? >> yes, collecting data. there's always a race. there was a race in the 1920s and '30s between europe and the united states. in the cold war you have technology being driven by the need for information and the technology being driven to compete. who is going to get to the moon first. >> and what about computer technology? >> that's going along for the ride. that's a byproduct of the need to push the technology to reach these new challenges. and in many ways with the miniaturization that you need
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influences the development of computer technology. >> wayne is joining us from georgia. thanks for being with us. go ahead, please. >> caller: thank you, sir. happy july 4th. i was wondering if the movie with jimmy stewart was anything like the actual flight of charles lindbergh. >> the billy wilder film which is based on lindbergh's auto biography 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 hollywood effects. 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 through 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 true and part of the
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story. a very accurate film. jimmy stewart was a big fan of charles lindbergh and wanted to be in the film. in many ways the accuracy is there because they're passionate about the story of charles lindbergh. >> around the corner a display of amedalia earhart, the wright brothers, charles lindbergh but there are others not so well known. who are they? >> aviation is a story of people and communities. and so looking at we have these big names, amelia earhart, charles lindbergh, jimmy dolittle. but you have the engineers that come out. the curtis racer that you saw on the tour, we knew that jimmy doolittle flew it. but silas is an unknown person from the '20s and '30s but was considered the best pilot in america when he flew that plane but he died young, probably two years later in a crash.
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so he disappears from history when he would have been as famous and well-known as doolittle. >> we began our conversation talking about america by air. 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 and commercial aviation is there. it's the great distances of the american continent. you know, the 48 states, trying to connect the continent by air drives a lot of the technology in terms of the long distance reliability, the aptitude, the speed. that really shapes the technology and becomes a major industry connected between the people who carry mail and cargo and passengers and the people who make the airplanes and that really drives the technology. it really puts the united states on the ground floor of this world aviation industry where the united states is a pre-eminent member of the community. >> born and raised in north carolina where did you go to college and where did you learn about all of this?
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>> i went to greensboro college but i went to auburn university for my graduate degrees. that is a place you could go and study at the graduate level. for me that facilitated my desire to learn more about aviation. i had professors who cultivated that and that enabled me to come to the other center, the smithsonian national and air and space museum where i was a curator since 2000. >> if history is the story of the united states and this is the story of aviation, what is the story here at the museum? >> the story of the air and space museum is to share with 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
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stimulate passion for technology. so this is a history of science and technology museum. it's directly connected to american history, european history and all of those levels are interconnected. but the story of how man overcame the challenge of getting into the air is the primary story of the museum. >> 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, the lunar module, what do you think when you see the young people look in inspiration and awe? >> i really like to see the connection between visitors and artifacts whether you have a parent and a grandparent or a child showing their parents and 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. these connections that visitors have, whether it's the wright brothers, the idea of two brothers inventing the technology, the idea of military aviation in world war ii, so
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many americans have the connection to today as well as commercial aviation, everyone flies, these connections are really exciting to see how people connect with those technologies and see the first of the people who are important in the stories being represented in this museum. >> how often do you see a military pilot or a commercial pilot who says, i used to be in one of those. >> a lot. we see that a lot. it's those personal connections that are astounding for me. i came up through an interest in aviation but i really didn't have the personal connection. you say wow, these people flew these objects, they had a connection, operated them. that's amazing to see them. >> do you fly yourself? >> i do not. i saw history as my opportunity to learn about history. i have some other hobbies that i do. >> let's go to mike joining us from delaware. we're live on c-span3's history tv in washington, d.c. 40 years old this weekend. go ahead. >> caller: very interesting.
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i was there 15 on 20 years ago. i need to get another trip back there. in any event, kind of a two-part question, how do new artifacts get into the museum. do you folks go and look for things or do people on the outside want to donate that kind of a thing? and also, i guess, what's on the drawing board now? maybe by way of example you could 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. first new artifacts. >> it's a great question. it's a story of how the people connect with the museum in their own personal ways. primarily the way the museum has gotten their artifacts is transfers from the national government as well as individuals contacting us. can be a cold call, an e-mail from the website, another curator or staff member. people contact us in a variety of ways to offer their stories to the museum.
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once a curator identifies the object, we take it to the collections committee, we fill out the paperwork, we have to 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. we discuss and argue for the artifacts. an example of an artifact that's coming on the horizon for us, one of the collections i curate is the air racing. there's a nemesis nxt that we're having come in the fall that's going to go on display. it's the world's fastest airplane that's built from a kit, 400 miles per hour. so it tells the story of individual initiative, high-technology and especially it's produced by an air racing team and pilot and designer. these are the stories that we want to share with the american public and the rest of the world
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and it's a way that we have to fully vet and justify the technology, the artifacts coming into the museum. >> are there other museums like this elsewhere in the world? >> there are other national museums in the u.s. and the rest of the world. we have our national military museums, the national museum of air force, national museum of aviation, seattle museum of flight. but you have a national museums outside of paris. the imperial war museum, the science museum, the rf museum in england. you have these museums that are looking at aviation especially from the national stories of the country that they're in and they have some pretty impressive artifacts as well if their collection. >> we're talking about the renovations that will be under way over the next six to seven years. when we come back in 2022 or 2023, what's going to change? >> it's going to be a completely changed museum.
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over 020 major exhibitions. the idea is to really reinterpret, represent the history of flight. and to do that in ways that really stimulate early 21st century audiences. and so looking at military aviation a different way, looking at the development of civilian and commercial aviation, looking at space, the idea of where the planets, what's the idea of earth in our story of human kind. so it's going to be very bold but the idea is to present a new take on aerospace history. as our current generation of curators. we're excited. >> let's hear from kevin who is joining us from north carolina. go ahead with your question or comment. kevin? >> caller: yes, sir. i was wondering about maybe the static display about the b 36
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and the 47 because they're so large and your space constraints. do you have any plans of having kind of like a small display of the history of those airplanes? >> so kevin was asking about the b -- the consolidated b 36 bomber and the boeing b 47 which are two very important cold war bombers. we don't have examples of those in the collection. the national museum of the air force does as well as other air force museums. we due to size constraints and the fact that they're covered in other museums, we don't have any plans to do anything with those aircraft but you may never know. we may have offered one that we can't pass up. but at this time we haven't collected one for our collection. >> we have a caller from michigan. mike, go ahead, please. mike, go ahead, in michigan.
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we'll try one more time for mike in michigan if you're there. how many people work with you as a curator? >> it's a team. we have curators, we have a dozen in the aeronautics and space history, some work in conservation, preservation, end -- educators, designers. about 150 employees i think total on the staff and they all interact in some way. one thing that we've really expanded is this idea of outreach. we've been doing our s.t.e.m. 30 programs, a lot of ways to reach outside the museum to connect with visitors from around the world. >> let's hear from dan who is joining us from kentucky. go ahead with your question. >> caller: yes. this is a two-part question.
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i was wondering about what was the fastest the sr71 was ever flown and who flew it. >> a little bit of feedback but the fastest it was flown, do you know? >> so as i heard the question is was the sr 71, the fastest? it is the fastest airplane with air breathing j.j.s. the air breathing engine is the key. the fastest man carrying object is the mock 4 airplane. but the sr71 itself, for example the one we have in our collection, it's a 2,000-mile-per-hour airplane, goes up to 3,000. and its delivery flight to the air and space museum in the early 1990s, it broke an
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transcontinental speed record in under two hours. this is a fast plane. one interesting thing is that we don't really connect people specifically with that airplane. but we have pilots who flew sr71s that give tours of our museum, such as buzz carpenter. these are the pilots that flew them in the late 20th century as the strategic reconnaissance pilots. >> logan in florida, you're next. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi. i wanted to know what the relationship between scott crossfield and chuck yeager was during the age of trying to break the sound barrier. >> logan, how old are you, by the way? >> caller: huh? >> how old are you, logan? >> caller: i'm 9. >> you're interested in aviation? >> caller: yes. >> thank you for the call. maybe a future curator.
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>> thank you for your question. chuck yeager is the first man to fly the speed of sound. you can see here in the milestones. scott crossfield is the pilot who flew for north american. we know him best through looking at the fx 16. but the first pilot to fly the f x-15. but in the early '50s it's chuck yeager and scott crossfield dueling on these mock 1, mock 2 records. so they're competitors. and that's one of the interesting and dynamic things about pilots, especially in the 1950s. they're hyper competitive. they want to see who is the best and really outdo each other. they're a great example of that. >> if people are interested in studying aviation history, obviously you have done your research, where are some of the leading institutions in this country?
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>> in a lot of ways you can go to a focused program like auburn had or you could go to any first rate graduate school. and you can study history and as part of your theme you can put aviation into the story. so we've had through your fellowship program we've had students from yale, princeton, the other ivy league schools. so you can tailor your history program at the graduate level to fit what you want. in terms of how you want to study it. but it falls down to your own initiative, what you're writing about and how lucky you are in terms of getting the original idea out there. >> send us a tweet at c-span history. this is from one viewer on the spirit of st. louis. the question is before 1976, before the building open, where was it stored? so the spirit of st. louis came to the smithsonian in 1928 and it was stored on display in the arts and industries building where it was hanging over the
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traditional oak and glass cases, other objects, not just aviation artifacts. it was there more or less over the years. but in a lot of ways, this building was intended to put the spirit of st. louis in that very important spot in the milestones flight gallery to display it. >> i'm going to have you think about this as we listen to dave from new york. but what questions, what things are unanswered in terms of aviation history. think about that. let's go to dave in new york. go ahead, please. >> caller: just had a question, two questions actually. 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. the second question is what is on your most wanted list as far as things you want to collect? >> those are great questions. thank you. the first question, have objects
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degraded, you know, in the museum since it opened. >> yes. that's the short answer. and it's just the objects get old and they do break down. and so in terms of -- we take these opportunities like the boeing milestones of flight gallery to reassess and address things that have been happening to the artifacts. the spirit of st. louis is a great example. we've had things that we've taken out that the museum standards of 1970 weren't up to par with the museum standards today. it's constantly evolving, a constant battle to keep the artifacts and safe and stable. >> and yet no shortage of visitors. >> that's correct. no shortage of visitors. >> going to your home state of north carolina, ted is next. go ahead, please. >> caller: first i want to express my appreciation. i was just at the indoctrination of the first coast guard aircraft out there, the helicopter. i happened to be one of those guys who used to fly it.
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it was really 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, new orleans rescue, things of that sort. >> we're at the u.s. coast guard aviation centennial this year. it's an exciting opportunity for us to display the helicopter. so i think as we expand our idea about what constitutes aviation history and especially military history, we will look at how we could incorporate stories like the coast guard in them. i can't speak to if we have any plans beyond what we've done this summer. but that's always a dynamic topic. and i have to say that some of our staff members are former coasties and they'll take any chance they can to talk about it. >> chris from massachusetts,
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you're next. tom, thank for being with us. >> caller: jeremy, hello. it's pristine, so beautiful. that aircraft was so influential on american aviation, the b-47, a lot of the writings were incorporated from the 234 to the b 47. my question i wanted to ask about, was the 163. does the museum have one? >> yes, the 163 comet is a rocket guider and there's one on display in its original condition at the hazy center. you can head out there and see it anytime you like. >> next call is jeff in nevada. thank you for being with us. we're talking to jeremy kenny,
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the curator here at the national air and space museum in washington, d.c. >> caller: first i would like to say that you probably have the best job on the planet. and my congratulation to you for acquiring it. with the renovation that's coming up here, you say it's going to be what, 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 that way visitors can see exhibits, experience the air 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 the success of stages. this will be a phased renovation. there will always be something open. >> jay is next joining us from pennsylvania. go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: i wanted to know
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about the bell x1 and the man that broke the speed record for sound and how fast was it going. >> so the bell x1 is the airplane that first breaks the speed of sound. he's an ace. flown by chuck yeager. and he become as test pilot in the high desert of california, what becomes edwards air force base. the x 15, i talked about this as this idea, this partnership between the u.s. air force, the national advisory committee for aeronautics today, nasa and bel air craft. the whole premise of the aircraft is to investigation the super sonic regime. yaeger flies mock 1, breaking the mythical sound barrier and initiates the thinking and the
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ideas of what becomes the jet age of the '50s and '60s. >> what are your questions? what are the unknowns? what answers are you looking for? >> 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'll pass that after the flight of wright brothers. many people said the story has been told, it's a mature technology. nowhere else you can go with that. what's fascinating to me is what are the next steps and how will that be traced as an historical evolution today. are we watching the first super sonic jet taking 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? how are we going to track that that? are we seeing the technologies and the ideas being formulated now. that's a big question for me. >> what about private
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billionaire entrepreneur missions to space? >> that's a major impetus, especially with space x and all of that. but yeah, it was to stimulate aviation and promote harmony. so these ideas of entrepreneurs providing funding or building companies with new innovation is part of the idea of pushing the envelope of technology. >> john is next in massachusetts. go ahead, please. >> caller: hello? >> yes, john. go ahead. >> caller: i was at the air and space museum a few weeks ago, actually both of them. i was very impressed with what was there. 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.
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>> it's a great question because world war ii is this major story in aviation that people just draws people to it. the current gallery today, it's the original gallery from 1976 and it was made by people who flew fighter airplanes in world war i, i mean, people who were in world war ii. so the reference there is that people know what they're seeing. so now we're 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 world war ii and provide a larger contextual story. the goal is to present for new visitors and here's the scary thing. this gallery open opens in 2023. 2039 is the 100th anniversary of world war ii. we're thinking about preparing
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for that. we want to do this story right. we want to tell the stories of people, technologies, events in a way that really gauges all levels of visitors, ages, backgrounds, wherever they come from in the world. >> rick, you get the last call in the segment, from wisconsin. good evening. >> caller: my name is rick, 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 of the artifacts that you have. and my question is do you think that there are many items missing from your display, and 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 it actually lists the objects that we have, discusses why they're important and also
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says what we need, what are the new objects that we -- what we would take. so it can range from a complete airplane like a boeing b 17 from world war ii to part of an airplane, such as a drop tank. so a b 51 mustang used drop tanks to fly to europe in world war ii, a critical element in this story. we do not have a drop tank. we're looking for one. those are the kinds of objects we want to improve our displays as well as to record the story of the technology, the people and the events. >> as general daily pointed out earlier, only a small percentage is here. you have more in storage than you're able to show. >> we just have a certain percentage here. but it's quite a few of the artifacts are on loan or in storage. >> jeremy kinney, thank you very much for you time. >> thank you. >> happy 40th birthday. >> thank you very much. >> it's more than aviation, it's also space exploration from moon
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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 and the service module and the lunar module together carried three astronauts, neil armstrong, buzz aldrin and michael colin 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 test flight but the test was canceled as unnecessary. so nasa transferred this lunar
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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 was separated from the command module where michael collins stayed to orbit the moon and it began its descent down to the surface. >> picking up some dust. forward, forward, drifting to the right a little. back right.
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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 and the first steps of human beings on the moon. >> i'm going to step off the lam now. that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
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>> after the crew, the be apollo 11 crew had climbed out, done some exploration close to the lunar module, collected some samples of lunar soil 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 portion, leaving the base on the moon. they ascended back up into lunar orbit, rendevoued with the command module again, exited the lunar module and once they were secure in 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 be able to track what kind of impact it
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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 symbolize a very historic point in time, july 1969 when human beings first set foot on another body in our solar system. and in effect won the space race. 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.
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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 was not going to operate in the atmosphere. it would only operate in the vacuum of space. and it would not be subject to a 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 craft itself, and particularly the crew module or crew cabin was really fairly spartan. it had two windows, 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.
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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 rock 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 the moon and to program them for the descent and the launch was done with fairly primitive computer programs and memory was minuscule compared to the memory we are now. and it's often said that the computing power we hold in our hands every day with our smartphones is vastly more than
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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 devise 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 sky lab. and we're going to look at that because it is one of the original artifacts on display here since before this museum opened. sky lab 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 sky lab that's as tall as i am. but the real sky lab orbital
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workstation behind me dwarfs the model and me. it reaches from the floor up into the sky lights of this building. two stories tall. sky lab was the united states first space station. it was placed in orbit in 1973. and in 1973 and '74, three different nasa astra naught crews spent time on board. 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 sky lab missions was to get some experience in living and working in space. when the apollo program came to an end, there was still some hardware left over. and nasa thought, what can we do with this? we've 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?
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and so the decision reached was to take the third stage of the gigantic saturn 5 rocket that powered the spacecraft away from earth on a trajectory to the moon and turn that into an inhabitable module, a sort of miniature pace 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 white band here. and you can see from the cutaway there that it's two stories on the inside. and those were two floors where the astronauts could actually live. in the mission 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.
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but sky lab was like having a house and it actually had rooms in it. there was a gallery 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 confined to the flight seat in a capsule. and most important, it had an actual bathroom. it had an actual toilet. in all of these previous missions, the little known dirty secret is that the astronauts were using plastic bags to collect their waste.
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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 sheathe 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 little enclosure and they finally decided 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
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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 that was so commodious. and then below their living deck floor there was the remainder of one of their tanks and that became the trash can. there was a hatch and they could put their trash through the hatch and it would go to the lower level. the orbital workshop was the largest part of the sky lab space station. but above it there was an air
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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 use of activity on the sun. and we understood for the first time how dynamic our sun is, how it's just rolling with activity all of the time, spewing out all kinds of matters. it has holes in it, and storms on it. it was an amazing thing to get this new information through the telescopes on sky lab.
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and then here at the top one can see the docking port for the apollo command and service module which was essentially the shuttle craft to bring the astronauts to sky lab 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 window to look out to enjoy the views of the earth, this was a kind of turning point in our space program. sky lab 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
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united states had foreseen an eventual space station. in fact the original plans were to build a space station in earth's 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. sky lab was the first step toward what now has become the international space station. a huge new facility in earth's orbit. now this behemoth behind me is actually the backup sky lab space station. it is flight ready. nasa built two of them in case they wanted to do two sky lab missions or in case there was some hardware problem with the first sky lab orbital workshop.
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we did make a modification to it. ordinarily we don't modify flight ready hardware. but in this case we cut a passage way, two doors into it, and laid down a sort of hallway right through the middle of the living quarter. so people who visit the museum can walk inside sky lab, they can see the living quarters, they can look into the bathroom. they see a mannequin at the table with some food out on the table. the shower is set up there. the exercise bicycle is in plain view. they can see 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 sky lab was occupied in 1973 and '74. the last crew to leave sky lab buttoned it up and put it into sleep mode with a view toward a
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future crew possibly coming back. and then nasa got very busy developing the shuttle. so what happened to sky lab? well gradually over time its 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 so it could still be available for use. but the shuttle wasn't yet ready to fly. so what happened is after the orbit diminished, nasa has to bring it back then in a controlled reentry. so in 1979 sky lab 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.
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but fortunately no one was hit, no one was injured, no property were damaged. now i paused here at sky lab 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 sky lab was one of these featured attractions. 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
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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, there are six wheels. and they're a kind of wheels called rocker wheels that will 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.
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it is equipped with a device to touch up against a rock and determine what chemical elements are in that rock. it had a camera for guidance. it could also hiccup information about the ambient environment of mars. so you can think of marie curie as the first geologist to set foot on mars and go roaming around so they could explore a broader area. this is actually the backup for the pathfinder mission. this one could have gone to mars itself. ten years later after the pathfinder mission, we had another mission that landed a 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.
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but you can see the growth since the first rover. this one is more like the size of a golf cart, perhaps, again with the special wheels so that it can operate well on the uneven terrain. and it's equipped not only with the 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 around. it enabled us here on earth to see where it's going and see what it's seeing. it has various other scientific devices on it. and again, a kind of mars weather station to determine what is the ambient environment like. what is the wind like. what are the temperatures at
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different times during the martian day. what is it like when a dust storm blows up and passes through. so, 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 is still operating, still roaming around on mars, sending back good data. again, long outliving its life. so now we'll have a look at the third rover that's on the surface of mars. and this one landed in 2012 and is still working today. this is a model of curiosity. curiosity has just grabbed public attention because first of all, it's so big.
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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 mars. it's studying planes. it's on the rim of a crater. it's going down into 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.
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and the evidence is in sedimentation on 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 sights that seem to have had an abundance 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 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
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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 pathfinders for us. they're doing the initial reconnaissance of the surface of mars so that if in the future humans actually go there, they'll know a lot more about the terrain and also know a lot more 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 is set a lander on the moon just to determine how strong is the soil.
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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 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.
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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 and to the outer planets. we're now in another golden age of planetary exploration, particularly on mars with curiosity rover so actively exploring there. so we're right in the present moment here when we're with the mars rovers. and i wonder what we might see
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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. we're back live now at the smithsonian national air and space museum where the museum today is celebrating its 40th birthday. it was 40 years ago today that president gerald ford dedicated this museum. in about a half hour, we'll bring you live coverage of the events celebrating that anniversary. in the meantime, we want to hear from you.
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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 at c-span history or join us on facebook at as we move outside to inside, 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. and joining us again is valerie neal. we saw you just a moment ago in the tape portion. you are the curator, the chair of the space history department here at the museum. and 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 buran that mimicked our space shuttle. but it was several years later. they flew one test flight and
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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 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 center near dulles airport. we have the space shuttle "enterprise" for a number of years. the prototype test flight
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vehicle. but when it came to an end we requested a shuttle and we were 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 space exploration? >> well, the space shuttle 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. and 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
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technology. so the philosophy turned from these throwaway 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, people could really begin to live and work off the planet. >> in the display just down the hall, "moving beyond earth," what is your take away? what will people learn and see? >> we hope people learn a couple of things about the space shuttle era. one is that it's harder to get into space and to stay in space and do it economically than anybody ever imagined.
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it turns out the airline wasn't really a good analogy for how to do space flight. and then the other is that people who work within the space flight industry, the space 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're 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 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
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program to the apollo program to the space shuttle program. looking back, all a natural evolution in our space exploration? >> 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, wernher von braun and some of the early space pioneers 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. 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.
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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 a make it much more visitor-friendly, make it much more high-tech, and really put the objects 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-span3 american history tv, it really is a night at the museum. because it's open all night. so if you're in washington, d.c. on this friday, july 1st, come on down and you'll be here for a few more hours. >> i will indeed.
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>> and 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're hoping to have the museum full all night long. >> and you'll 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. >> caller: hi, ms. neal. thanks very much for taking my call. hey, 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 display? thanks. >> well, 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
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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 grab 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 that i know of that are small and early. we are hoping some day to have a more recent one and a much 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 space exploration. why were they such pioneers?
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>> well, the early astronauts were pioneers because space was this great unknown. and people referred to it as the new frontier or the next frontier. but in fact until you get to another planetary body, space is a vacuum. it's filled with harsh radiation. it's a very 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 microgravity environment. they didn't even know such simple things 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 proved and proved to be brave and courageous and bold, they loved


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