Apollo 11 Mission Has Landed at Museum Of Flight, is Awesome!

Seriously, the Columbia craft is intense.

April 12, 2019

by Gregr

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On July 20, 2019, planet Earth will celebrate the first time humans set foot upon another world. That was 50 years ago! Just in time to celebrate astronauts running around in the moon dirt, the Museum of Flight launches a special collection visiting from the Smithsonian 'Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission.'

There' a lot of cool space stuff in the exhibit including a Saturn V F1 rocket engine, a moon rover (from later missions), space suits, and most impressive the Columbia capsule that played home to the astronauts on their eight-day mission.

In its only West Coast appearance Destination Moon will be on view April 13 to September 2. Lookout for feature special programs throughout the run of the exhibition, plus a weekend festival during the July 20th 50th anniversary celebration!

The F1 engine is many humans tall:

Here's Columbia - an Apollo 11 spacecraft that safely splashed down in the ocean to bring our astronauts home safely. This is the real deal on loan until September.

by Gregr

You'll notice that there's no door on this sucker. It's a hatch that blows off freeing the passengers to plop down into rescue vessels. They brought that hatch along:

Notice Columbia is visible through the porthole (above).

These photos do nothing for the size of these vessels and engines and other space wizardry. I found myself shocked by how much larger Columbia looked in person and that F1 engine is simply staggering.

A few extra cool things at the Museum of Flight
From the space section, check out this sweet moon car featuring chainmail tires! It folds up like the sofabed in grandma's basement held in place by a series of pins. Astronauts would unpack it, pull the pins, then cruise around like on a space beach. Fewer bikinis for sure, but what a great whip!

What we might think of as the SR-71 is actually an MD-21 - one of two jets like it created. The difference is the surveillance drone affixed to the dorsal portion of the plane. To launch it and fire up the drone engine, speeds of 2,000 mph were necessary. Not surprisingly, the other MD-21 was destroyed when something went wrong launching the drone.

I hadn't been to the Museum of Flight in a hot minute so seeing this F/A-18 really shook me. It's a massive piece of kit mounted in a wonderfully aggressive manner. It might not look like it, but in person, this thing is BIG and pretty mean. 



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