U.S. Air and Space Museum launches 40th
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[July 02, 2016]
By Kouichi Shirayanagi
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Smithsonian's
National Air and Space Museum late on Friday kicks off its 40th
anniversary festivities with a first-ever overnight celebration, long
enough for the International Space Station to orbit the Earth nearly
The festival at the world's largest publicly displayed collection
of historic aircraft and spacecraft will also officially open the
newly renovated "Milestones of Flight" hall.
It houses the Apollo 11 command module Columbia, which achieved
President John F. Kennedy's goal of delivering a crew to the moon.
The Bell X-1 that Chuck Yeager flew faster than the speed of sound
and the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 flown by John Glenn, the first
American to orbit Earth, are also on view.
The event will include members of the Wright Brothers family and a
12-hour overnight film festival.
"This is the Mecca of space exploration. You can see both sides of
space exploration here, including the Russian side," said Max
Kaiserman, 28, of Philadelphia.
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The museum includes a model of the Soviet Union's Vostok 3KA
capsule, which transported Yuri Gagarin into space.
The museum also houses the original model of the star ship
Enterprise, from the hit 1960s television show, Star Trek.
The museum's main site and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in
Chantilly, Virginia, outside Washington, attract 8.5 million
visitors annually. Spokeswoman Alison Mitchell said it is the most
visited museum in the United States.
(Reporting by Kouichi Shirayanagi, Editing by Richard Cowan and Dan
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