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Acting Director: Chris Browne
Number of Artifacts/Specimens: 2,800 aviation, 1,065 space and 44 art
Visitors (2019): 1.3 million
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport is the companion facility to the museum in Washington, D.C. Construction began in October 2000, and the center opened in December 2003. It provides enough space for the National Air and Space Museum to display thousands of aviation and space artifacts that cannot be exhibited in the Washington museum. The two sites together showcase the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.
The center was named in honor of its major donor—Steven F. Udvar-Hazy—and features the large Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. In the aviation hangar, aircraft are displayed on three levels. Visitors walk among aircraft and small artifacts in display cases located on the floor and view aircraft hanging from the arched ceiling on elevated skywalks. Among the aviation artifacts on display are the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world; the Boeing Dash 80, the prototype of the 707; the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay; and the deHavilland Chipmunk aerobatic airplane.
Dominating the space hangar is space shuttle Discovery, which is surrounded by satellites and other spacecraft suspended from the rafters and on the floor, and smaller items from the history of spaceflight in display cases. Besides Discovery, visitors can see the Apollo Mobile Quarantine Facility, a Redstone missile, the Mobile Maneuvering Unit, the Mars Pathfinder Lander, a human-size NASA android and the Gemini VII capsule.
Many objects in both hangars are on display in a museum setting for the first time.
Other features of the Center include the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, the Airbus IMAX Theater and the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, where visitors can watch museum specialists at work restoring artifacts.
Boeing Aviation Hangar
Aerobatic Flight—The station features aircraft used for precision maneuvers for competitions and air show performances. Highlights include the Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker, the Monocoupe 110 Special Little Butch and Loudenslager Laser 200 Beautiful Obsession.
Business Aviation—Business aircrafts are used by companies to increase traveling flexibility and decrease time spent in airports. This exhibition features a Lear Jet 23 and the Grumman G-21 Goose.
Cold War Aviation—This station features aircraft used for aerial reconnaissance. Planes on display include Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the Bell H-13J and the Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star.
Commercial Aviation—This station features the evolution of commercial aviation from the start of the 20th century to today and includes the Concorde, the first supersonic airliner from Air France, and the Boeing 367-80 Stratoliner.
General Aviation—This station features aircraft from general aviation— planes not flown by commercial carriers or the military. Highlights include the Piper J-3 Cub, the Grumman G-22 Gulfhawk II and the Arrow Sport A2-60.
Interwar Military Aviation—Many one-of-a-kind and sole-surviving aircrafts developed between the first and second World Wars are on display. The evolution of this type of aircraft can be seen through the Boeing P-26A Peashooter, Loening OA-1A San Francisco and the Curtis F9C-2 Sparrowhawk.
Korea and Vietnam Aviation—Highlights include the McDonnell F-4S Phantom, the Grumman A-6E Intruder, the North American F-86A Sabre, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 and the Bell UH-1H Iroquois Smokey III.
Modern Military Aviation—This station explores the evolution of aviation technology and the nature of air warfare. It highlights the Lockheed Martin X-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
Pre-1920 Aviation—This station highlights the transformation of the aircraft from an exciting new invention to a machine of practical utility and features some early designs: the Caudron G.4, the Langley Aerodome A, the Nieuport 28C 1 and the SPAD XVI.
Sport Aviation—Sport Aviation refers to any non-commercial, non-business and non-military flight. These aircraft are often homebuilt and can come in the form of hang gliders, fly gliders, sailplanes and others that date to the earliest days of aviation. Highlights in this station include the Grob 102 Standard Astir III, the Monnett Moni, the Bowlus du Pont I-S-2100 Senior Albatross Falcon and the Arlington Sisu 1A.
Ultralight Aircraft—Ultralight aircrafts gained popularity after 1975, when John K. Moody demonstrated their ability to take off with running takeoffs and landings on level ground. This station features the Cosmos Phase II Ultralight, the Ultraflight Lazair SS EC and the American Aerolights Double Eagle.
Vertical Flight—This station explores the evolution of rotary-wing aircraft and their invaluable, essential role in the military. Highlights include the Bell XV-15 TRRA (Tilt Rotor Research Aircraft), the Bell 47B and the Autogiro Company of America AC-35.
World War II Aviation—This station follows the evolution of aircraft used in World War II as demands on technology and efficiency increased. Featured aircraft include the Boeing B-29 Enola Gay, the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and the Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightning.
World War II German Aviation—This station explores the rise and fall of German aviation in World War II. Highlights include the Arado Ar 234 B Blitz (Lightning), the Dornier Do 335A-1 Pfeil (Arrow) and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190-F.
James S. McDonnell Space Hangar
Applications Satellites—This station explores how satellites have evolved to fit both national security and civilian needs. It highlights the Corona Film Return Capsule, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, the Relay 1 Communications Satellite, the Agena-B Upper stage and the Sirius FM-4 Broadcasting Satellite.
Human Spaceflight—This station highlights the evolution of humans in spacecraft. Highlights include the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Manned Maneuvering Unit, the Mercury Capsule 15B Freedom 7 and the Mobile Quarantine Facility.
Rockets and Missiles—Rockets and missiles transformed in the 1900s to launch human explorers, satellites, telescopes and robotic spacecrafts into space. Some highlights include the Redstone Missile, the Loon Missile, the Goddard 1935 A-Series Rocket and the Henschel Hs 293.
Space Science—This station showcases vehicles that traveled in Earth’s upper atmosphere or beyond. Highlights from the collection include the Mars Pathfinder Lander and Sojourner Rover, the Spartan 201 Satellite and the Vega Solar System Probe Bus and Landing Apparatus.
About the Museum
The National Air and Space Museum’s Mall building is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, off of Route 28 near Washington Dulles International Airport. Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center before 4 p.m. Both facilities are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Closed Dec. 25.) Both the museum in Washington, D.C., and the Udvar-Hazy Center often observe extended hours during the spring and summer, check the website for details.
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