The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located in Sterling, Virginia, is an impressive museum. The Smithsonian Institution’s Aviation and Space Exploration Museum is dedicated to the history of aviation and space exploration. The museum houses a large collection of aircraft and spacecraft, as well as other aviation-related memorabilia. The Udvar-Hazy Center is a must-see for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone who is fascinated by the wonders of flight.
The museum is named after Hungarian-American businessman and aviation pioneer Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, who founded International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). Udvar-Hazy was a major supporter of the Smithsonian Institution, donating $65 million to the building of the facility that bears his name. The museum opened in December 2003 and has since grown to become one of the most popular Smithsonian institutions.
The Udvar-Hazy Center is located near Washington Dulles International Airport, which is appropriate given the museum’s emphasis on aviation. The museum’s collection is housed in two massive hangars totaling 760,000 square feet in size. The hangars house an amazing collection of aircraft and spacecraft, ranging from early biplanes to modern jets and space shuttles.
The Space Shuttle Discovery, which is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, is one of the Udvar-Hazy Center’s highlights. The space shuttle, which flew 39 missions between 1984 and 2011, is a sight to behold. Visitors can walk beneath the shuttle and admire its size and complexity. Other spacecraft on display at the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar include the Gemini VII spacecraft, the Apollo 11 command module, and the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Boeing Aviation Hangar, which houses a variety of aircraft, is another highlight of the Udvar-Hazy Center. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at speeds of over 3,500 miles per hour, is one of the most impressive. Other iconic aircraft on display at the Boeing Aviation Hangar include the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the Boeing 367-80 (or “Dash 80”), and the Boeing 707.
The Udvar-Hazy Center also features a number of interactive exhibits that give visitors hands-on experience with aviation technology. The How Things Fly exhibit, for example, includes a variety of activities that demonstrate flight principles such as lift, drag, and thrust. Visitors can learn how planes stay aloft by experimenting with model airplanes, wind tunnels, and other devices.
In addition, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. Guided tours, workshops, and summer camps are among the programs available. Throughout the year, the Udvar-Hazy Center also hosts a variety of special events, such as lectures, film screenings, and festivals.
Overall, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is a magnificent structure that honors the history and wonder of flight. The museum’s vast collection of aircraft and spacecraft is truly impressive, and the interactive exhibits and educational programs make it accessible to visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a die-hard aviation fan or just curious about the history of flight, the Udvar-Hazy Center is a must-see.