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Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
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Largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.
Largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.

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Today in 1930: Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto by comparing this photographic plate from January 23, 1930 with two others taken that same month: http://s.si.edu/2lzYl76
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Today in 1971: Apollo 14 touched down on the Moon in the Fra Mauro highlands, which was the intended landing site for Apollo 13: http://s.si.edu/2kGn0WI

Image: NASA
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Today in 1976: Concorde entered commercial service as two flights took off at the same time: Air France AF085 from Paris to Rio de Janeiro and British Airways BA300 from London to Bahrain. Our Concorde, on display at our Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, flew that first Air France commercial Concorde flight to Rio: http://s.si.edu/2jBUenu
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Today in 1911: Eugene Burton Ely made the first successful landing and take-off from a naval vessel. In this photo, Ely guides his Curtiss Model D biplane for an imminent landing on a platform constructed on the stern of the USS Pennsylvania, anchored in San Francisco Bay, CA.

While Ely had flown from the deck of the USS Birmingham the previous November, this was the first successful landing of an airplane on a ship. Paired with a take-off from the USS Pennsylvania later that same day, the achievement marked the beginning of naval aviation. More from our story archive: http://s.si.edu/2fPDdF8
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Today in 2009: US Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson River after birds struck and disabled the engines of the Airbus A320 moments after takeoff. All crew and passengers were safely evacuated. In 2010, the flight crew of US Airways Flight 1549 was awarded The National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Current Achievement.

Image Caption: Crew of US Airways Flight 1549 (left to right): Flight Attendant Sheila Dail, First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III, Flight Attendant Donna Dent, and Flight Attendant Doreen Welsh.
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Today in 1968: The Surveyor 7 spacecraft, last lunar lander in the Surveyor program, landed on the Moon. The Surveyor series was designed to carry out soft landings on the Moon and provide data about its surface and possible atmosphere. See an engineering model, S-10, used for thermal control tests on display at our Museum in Washington, DC: http://s.si.edu/2ieKNeV

NASA is building a brand new rocket for the future of human spaceflight. The Space Launch System (SLS) will take astronauts beyond the low-Earth orbit of the International Space Station. Astronaut Christina Koch helps us examine the SLS rocket in more detail: http://s.si.edu/2i4Wxk2


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Today in 1958: Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, burned up on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere after spending three months in orbit.

This is the last surviving piece of Sputnik - the arming pin. Removed just prior to launch, it prevented contact between the batteries and transmitters. A pin mounted on the launch vehicle served the same purpose until the satellite separated from the launcher in orbit. Only then did Sputnik begin to transmit its distinctive "beep, beep, beep" heard round the world.

See it and our replica of Sputnik on display at our Museum in Washington, DC. More about Sputnik: http://s.si.edu/sputnik 
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Today in 1968: Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to view the Earth from lunar orbit. They took this iconic Earthrise photo.

Explore objects in our collection from the Apollo 8 mission: http://s.si.edu/2iqSwDL

Image Credit: NASA
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Last night, we moved the Apollo 11 Command Module "Columbia" from our Museum in Washington, DC. You can see it from the overlook to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at our Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA as we work to prepare it for our upcoming exhibition, "Destination Moon."

Image Credit: Anthony Wallace, Supervisory Museum Specialist
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