Visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
I’ve been to a lot of museums, but very few have been as interesting as the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA. The Air and Space Museum has thousands of aviation and space items on display.
The first thing I saw at the Air and Space Museum was the Sr-71, more commonly known as the Blackbird. The Blackbird is the fastest and highest flying jet in the world. There were only 32 of them built at the cost of over $33,000,000 each. Breaking multiple world records, the Blackbird flew from west to east coast in just under 68 minutes at an average of 2,124.5 mph! Its top speed is mach 3.2 and it set an altitude record flying over 85,000 feet. It cost over $80,000 an hour to run!
The Air and Space Museum doesn't only have planes - it also has missiles. The Republic-Ford JB-2 Loon was a German WWll missile. Found on an island crash site by a Danish Naval Officer, the JB-2 was a successful missile used in the US Air Force. Seventy five thousand missiles were planned for a massive 180 day bombardment on Japan. However, the production of a cheaper missile made it so the bombardment did not happen and the 75,000 missiles were not produced.
One of my favorite things at the museum was the space shuttle Discovery which was moved to the Smithsonian on the 19th of April, 2012. Discovery’s first flight was on August 30, 1984. It went on 39 missions, 31 of which deployed satellites including the famous Hubble space telescope.
One exhibit is sort of creepy. The Boeing B-29 super fortress is the plane that dropped the atomic bombs. It first flew in 1942 and retired in 1960. It is capable of flying at 400 mph. Only one is still in operation and there are a few others in other museums. It was one of the biggest planes in WWll and one of the few aircraft to have advanced technology like a pressurized cabin, electronic fire control system, and remote control machine gun turrets.
This 1946 Airphibean was a plane that could be converted into a car. Designed by Robert Fulton, this car/plane became a certified airplane by the CAA. There were only 4 prototypes ever built! With its aluminum body, 6 cylinder 165 horse power engine, fabric wings, and aircraft sized wheels, this makes for a pretty sweet car!
The Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka was a Japanese suicide bomb. It was only in the Japanese service in 1945. The pilot could make this bomb go 650 mph in a dive. United States sailors nicknamed it Baka for fool or idiot. There were only 852 built. Japanese pilots trained in simulators to prepare to fly this aircraft into its target.
The astronauts’ space suits were pretty cool! These were worn during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. Some of them were used in training and others actually went into outer space!
Going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA is an amazing experience you wouldn't want to miss! Plus, you only have to pay for 15 dollar parking.
Nathanael Nims is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Nathanael Nims