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National Air & Space Museum

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Discovery Arrival

The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) has the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. The Museum has two display facilities: the original building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in northern Virginia. Unfortunately the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland is now closed to the public and many treasurers are not on display.

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, the Udvar-Hazy Center took official possession of the space shuttle Discovery. During the welcome ceremony, Discovery stood nose-to-nose with the shuttle Enterprise, which was later transferred to the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum in New York. One can only speculate why Enterprise was moved to the Intrepid, where it will sit out in the elements and decay, rather that being housed at the National Air Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB. There it would have been properly housed and cared for at Wright-Patterson. So, as you view these pictures of Enterprise, be aware that this is the best condition she will ever be in. Click here for the Discovery celebration ceremony.

The Udvar-Hazy Center will ultimately display 200 airplanes and 135 spacecraft. There are currently over 80 aircraft and dozens of space artifacts on display, with more added monthly. Artifacts are displayed on the floor and at two levels suspended from the ceiling. Unfortunately, it will be years before all the planned aircraft and artifacts are moved to this new facility. If you are interested in a specific aircraft, be sure to check before visiting the facility. I suggest you call rather than just checking their Web site, as their Website is not kept current.