VA -- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center -- Exhibit Cases:
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
AIRXC_110205_037.JPG: High Altitude Flying Mittens:
Lt. Apollo Soucek flew a Wright XF3W Apache fighter to a record altitude of 13,160 meters (43,166 feet) on June 4, 1930, over Washington DC. He wore this fur helmet and mittens to survive the slight in the Apache's open cockpit.
AIRXC_110205_047.JPG: 7.7 mm Type 89
Developed in the 1930s, this machine gun was used on flexible mounts on Japanese army aircraft during the Sino-Japanese War and the early years of World War II. It was gas operated and used a flat drum-type magazine that contained 69 rounds.
This articulated robot was built for NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in the 1960s for use in spacesuit development. Its hydraulic and electrical actuators replicated many of the human body's joint motions. Sensors throughout the robot measured forces that a suit might exert on a person, so suit designers could determine the force a person would need to exert to move an arm or leg to turn their head. Using this robot enabled testing that might otherwise have been painful, tedious, or dangerous for a human being.
AIRXC_110205_058.JPG: Mercury Doll:
This small version of a Mercury spacesuit was one of perhaps a dozen made by BF Goodrich Corporation in the early 1960s. They were given to VIPs for goodwill and publicity purposed. It looks almost identical to the suits worn by Mercury astronauts, but it has no interior pressure bladder, and the helmet and boots are much simplified versions of the full-size equipment.
AIRXC_110205_074.JPG: RX2-A Advanced Extra-Vehicular Pressure Suit:
This RX-2-A was another in the series of experimental "hard" suits Litton Industries manufactured for NASA during the early 1960s. It has more sophisticated shoulder joints and a dual-plane closure at the back. It operated at 5 pounds per square inch instead of the 3.7 p.s.i. of the Apollo soft suits.
AIRXC_110205_116.JPG: Phone Booth:
This phone booth shaped like a Mercury spacecraft came from the visitor center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Bird-Adams Company of Doraville, Georgia, manufactured it in the late 1960s. Bird-Adams made novelty phone booths for children's hospitals, amusement parks, zoos, and shopping centers. Although this booth was called the "Gemini Model BA-20," it more closely resembles a Mercury spacecraft.
The coin-operated phone inside, like the pay phone that would have been mounted in the booth originally, has separate slots for quarters, nickels, and dimes.
AIRXC_110205_127.JPG: R2-D2 Collection Box:
This official US Postal Service collection box was one of 400 mailboxes that were dressed as R2-D2, the endearing robot from Star Wars (1977), to celebrate the movie's 30th anniversary in 2007. Beginning on March 16, 2007, R2-D2 mailboxes appeared at select locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Fans of the fantastical space science fiction saga could vote online for their favorite Star Wars stamp or deposit mail in -- and take pictures with -- the R2-D2 collection boxes. Before the box came to the Smithsonian, Star Wars creator George Lucas and Postmaster General John E. Potter signed it.
AIRXC_110205_136.JPG: Wooden Gas Valve, City of New York:
This gas valve is from TSC Lowe's large balloon "City of New York" (later "Great Western"), which was first exhibited in New York city's Central park in 1859. The balloon made its first flight in June 1860 from Philadelphia. It burst during inflation on September 8, 1860. Lowe destroyed the balloon after he was unable to raise the funds to finance a flight across the Atlantic.
AIRXC_110205_144.JPG: Cup and Saucer Recovered from the Hindenburg
AIRXC_110205_167.JPG: Cup and Saucer, Graf Zeppelin:
First flown in 1928, LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was the most successful commercial airship. It completed 590 flights and spent 17,178 hours in the air before being broken up in 1940. Often piloted by Dr. Hugo Eckner, head of the Zeppelin Company, the airship began its career with spectacular slights across the North and South Atlantic, across Siberia, and around the world. From 1932 to 1937, it offered regular summer passenger service to South America. The airship could carry 20 to 24 passengers.
AIRXC_110205_173.JPG: Fabric, Hindenburg
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