Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trip to Washington DC - Day Five

Today we started at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  It was fun to walk through and see our money being made!  At the end we bought a souvenir - a sheet of 32 real, uncut bills to frame and hang on our wall in remembrance of our trip to the Bureau.

This was the first time our kids had seen a million dollars!

After leaving the Bureau of Engraving and Printing we walked next door to the Holocaust Museum.  On the way we passed these drinking fountains where our kids had a little fun...

The Holocaust Museum was a very sobering experience (as I'm sure you can imagine).  It was very well done in that there were half walls obscuring pictures of things that were too harsh for young children to see.  The first thing we did was actually meant for young children.  It was called "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story".  Our children were very touched as they saw the holocaust through the eyes of Daniel.  It presented the history of the Holocaust in ways children could understand.  It was very well done and our children enjoyed the exhibit.  It really made them appreciate the country we live in and the freedoms we enjoy.  They felt bad for the children who endured the Holocaust.  At the end they were able to write notes to Daniel about how they felt about what they had seen.

After the children's exhibit we went through the Permanent Exhibit.  This was more interesting to myself, Mark, Bryan, and Morgan.  I think Colton and Kyle were getting a little tired by the end.  This exhibit had a lot of pictures and reading, but wasn't interactive like the children's exhibit.  Bryan and Morgan had read about the holocaust in school, so this just brought it all to life.  They were very somber as they viewed the many sides of this catastrophe.

From here we walked over to get lunch near the Air and Space Museum (our next stop).  We ate at Vie de France.  It was a great bakery/restaurant.  We went from there to another highlight of our trip - the Air and Space Museum!  We LOVED this place!!  All kinds of historical aircraft were hanging from the ceiling or sitting all over this huge museum.  It was MAGNIFICENT!  All of us were completely enthralled and could have spent all day here.  Here is just a taste of what we saw...

This is the Mercury Friendship 7.  It was the first U.S. manned orbital flight in which John Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.  He circled the Earth three times and the flight lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes.  It landed in the Atlantic Ocean near Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

While Viking 1 and 2 were on Mars, this third vehicle was used on Earth to simulate their behavior and test their responses to radio commands.  Earlier, it had been used to demonstrate that the landers could survive the stresses they would encounter during the mission.

 This exhibit area had all kinds of hands on stuff for kids to learn about air and space.  It was so fun!  We were in this area for over an hour and had to pull our kids away just so we could see all the rest of this massive museum.

This plane Bryan is showing us is the Lockheed U-2.  It was developed in the mid-1950's and was designed for high altitude photoreconnaissance.  Equipped with an 80-foot wingspan to aid in achieving maximum altitude, the U-2 at first could fly over the Soviet Union unharassed by Russian jets and antiaircraft missiles which were unable to match its performance.  In 1960, however, the U-2 was brought down during a reconnaissance mission in Soviet air space.  Since that time, U-2's have played a vital role in reconnaissance of the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba in 1962, verification of nuclear testing in China, reconnaissance in Vietnam and the Middle East, and civil disaster assessment and environmental monitoring.

The U.S. Army brought captured V-2 missile parts to White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, for its Project Hermes missile development program, managed by General Electric.  Wernher von Braun and his team were housed at nearby Fort Bliss, Texas.  They advised General Electric personnel in the reassembly, testing, firing, and evaluation of the missiles.

The first firings, in 1946, used all-German components.  Later, modified American-made components were substituted to gain practical experience and to improve the basic missile design.

 Skylab was a manned space station launched into Earth orbit by the United States in 1973.  Separate crews of three astronauts occupied it during three missions: Skylab 2, Skylab 3, and Skylab 4.  The Skylab 1 mission was the unmanned launch of the space station itself.

The Skylab Orbital Workshop, the main component of Skylab, was a converted third stage of the enormous Saturn V Moon rocket.  It was intended to provide a temporary presence in space.  Skylab demonstrated that people could live and work productively in space for extended periods of time.  The final mission lasted almost three months.

Skylab was abandoned in 1974 and reentered Earth's atmosphere in 1979.  Most of it burned up during reentry, but some pieces landed in Australia and the southern Indian Ocean.

The Hubble Space Telescope is the largest astronomical telescope ever sent into space.  It was launched in 1990 from Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-31 mission.  From its vantage point high above Earth's obscuring atmosphere, the telescope is providing astronomers with fascinating new information on the state of the universe.

Hubble is more that telescope; it is an observatory equipped for many functions.  It can be serviced and upgraded with interchangeable parts delivered by the Shuttle and installed by astronauts in space.

This full-size test vehicle was used from 1972 to 1985 at the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Sunnyvale, California, during the development of the Hubble Space Telescope.  It resembles the actual telescope in size and basic structure, but it is not intended for use in space.  The test telescope was used to develop handling equipment and checkout procedures.  It was also subjected to heat, cold, noise and vibration test, and became a test bed to lay out wiring harnesses and evaluate features for servicing in orbit.

 The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: Joint Mission In Space
In July 1975 two manned spacecraft were launched into Earth orbit - one from Kazakstan, the other from Florida.  Their rendezvous in orbit fulfilled a 1972 agreement between the Soviet union and the United States to participate in a joint venture in space.

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project marked a brief thaw in the Cold War and the first time that the two rivals cooperated in a manned space mission.  Engineering teams from both sides collaborated in the development of a docking module to link the spacecraft.  Control centers in Moscow and Houston exercised joint duties through a cooperative exchange of tracking data and communications.  The crews visited each other's spacecraft, shared meals, and worked on various tasks during several days together in space.

 "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle had landed" (U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, on the Moon, 1969).

The exploration of the Moon, our nearest celestial neighbor, was one of the greatest challenges ever.

During the 1960's and 1970's, the United States conducted a varied program of lunar exploration, starting with robotic scouts and culminating in the Apollo manned landings.  Fifteen robotic spacecraft transmitted detailed images of the Moon, probed the strength and composition of the lunar surface, and searched for landing sites for human explorers.

Beginning in July 1969, 12 astronauts explored portions of the airless, dusty moonscape.  The last Apollo manned landing mission ended in December 1972.

When astronauts had to land in the ocean they were equipped with these sorts of supplies...yikes!!

 This is the North American X-15, the world's fastest and highest flying aircraft.  It is a rocket-powered research aircraft and bridged the gap between manned flight in the atmosphere and space flight.  After its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain hypersonic velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four to six times the speed of sound) and to operate at altitudes well above 100,000 feet.

The X-15 was designed to explore the problems of flight at very high speeds and altitudes.  It was carried to an altitude of 40,000 feet under the wing of a Boeing B-52 bomber.  During one test, it attained an altitude of over 67 miles, flying so high that it functioned more as a spacecraft than an airplane.  In 1967 it reached Mach 6.72 (4,534 miles per hour).

Calbraith Perry Rodgers and the Wright EX Vin Fiz: in 1911 in the Vin Fiz, Calbraith Perry Rodgers became the first person to cross the United States from coast to coast by airplane - a trip that took 49 days.

 Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis - First Nonstop Solo Transatlantic Flight:

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis 3,610 miles between Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, and Paris, France, in 33 hours, 30 minutes.  With this flight, Lindbergh won the $25,000 prize offered by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig to the first aviator to fly an aircraft directly across the Atlantic between New York and Paris.  When he landed at Le bourget Field in Paris, Lindbergh became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades.

The aftermath of the flight was the "Lindbergh boom" in aviation; aircraft industry stocks rose in value and interest in flying skyrocketed.  Lindbergh's subsequent U.S. and Central and South American tours in the Spirit demonstrated the potential of the airplane as a safe, reliable mode of transportation.

Amelia Earhart and the Lockheed 5B Vega: In this airplane, Amelia Earhart set wo of her many aviation records.  In 1932 she flew it alone across the Atlantic, then flew it nonstop across the United States - both first for a woman.

Known as "the missile with a man in it", the stubby-winged Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was the first U.S. jet fighter in service to fly Mach 2, twice the speed of sound.  Designed as a high-performance day fighter, the F-104 had excellent acceleration and top speed.  It first flew on February 7, 1954.

While built for the U.S. Air Force, most Starfighters were flown by other countries, particularly Canada, Italy, Germany, and Japan.  Many were built under license overseas.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew this F014A for 19 years as a flying test bed and a chase plane.  It was used to test the reaction controls later used on the North American X-15.  this aircraft was the seventh F-104 built and was transferred to the Museum after its last flight, to Andrews Air Force Base, on August 26, 1075.

What a lot there was to see here!  This was a VERY exciting museum!!

No comments: