Air & Space Museum

50th anniversary of first spacewalks

Air and Space

Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy (pictured) and Tom Marshburn (out of frame) completed a spacewalk on May 11, 2013, to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first spacewalks in 1965, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC is launching a new exhibition, “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extravehicular Activity.

The exhibit runs from January 8 through June 8, 2015 and includes artifacts, personal accounts and photographs, including the impressive images shared here.

The first spacewalks were taken by Aleksei Leonov (on March 18, 1965) and Edward White (June 3, 1965) in the spring of 1965 and, since then, more than 200 astronauts and cosmonauts have logged more than 1,000 hours walking and working outside spacecraft.

According to a NASA story on spacewalking, when ordered to climb back inside the Gemini spacecraft in 1965, Ed White, America’s first spacewalker said it was “the saddest moment of my life.”

White had spent more than half an hour floating freely in space.

NASA reports that some astronauts liken walking in space to being underwater. And astronaut John Herrington, veteran of three spacewalks totaling almost 20 on the STS-113 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, pointed out that the simulated trained he received didn’t prepare him for the smell of space. Astronauts say the burnt metal smell of space lingers on spacesuits after they come inside.

space walking

The gloves were constructed of an outer shell of Chromel-R fabric with thermal insulation to provide protection while handling extremely hot or cold objects. The blue fingertips were made of silicone rubber to provide sensitivity. Credit: National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution

According to the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, “EVA changed the nature of human spaceflight. It made possible walking on the Moon, servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, and building the International Space Station [and] remains crucial to our ongoing presence in space.”

Squeezing a little more love out of Valentine’s Day

As I write this, there are still a few more hours left to Valentine’s Day here in Seattle, so I’m taking the opportunity to share a few tidbits from the day.

Jacksonville Airport

At Florida’s Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), volunteers continued their tradition of handing out Valentine’s Day carnations to arriving and departing passengers.  (They do this on Mother’s Day as well).

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum shared this cute Charles Lindbergh-inspired Valentine:

Charles Lindbergh-themed Valentine

And, although it’s not polite to listen in to other people’s conversations, today while waiting in line at a coffeeshop, I overheard this heartwarming conversation between two men:

He #1: “So where are you taking your wife for Valentine’s Day dinner?”

He #2: “Nowhere. We went out yesterday.”

He #1: “So what? That was yesterday. Today is a new occasion.”

Intrepid Museum exhibit (and free stuff) at LaGuardia Airport

In anticipation of the November 8th re-opening of New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, an exhibit about the famed aircraft carrier is on view now in the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 8, 2008 and includes memorabilia from the Intrepid, replicas of fighter planes that have launched from the aircraft carrier, interactive educational displays, and an “Art in Motion” program that invites travelers to paint a large model airplane.

The opening of the Intrepid Museum exhibit is part of Aviation Week activities hosted by the Food & Shops at LGA’s Central Terminal. Festivities include a week-long sidewalk sale, food sampling, and free airplane-themed balloons and stickers for kids. Through November 20th, travelers can also enter a contest to win one of the exhibited model airplanes as well as tickets to the museum.

About The Intrepid

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum re-opens November 8, 2008 at New York City’s new, park-like Pier 86. The complex includes 30 restored aircraft, the former USS Growler submarine and a Concorde airplane.