Sunday, October 9, 2011

Latest from NASM

Saturday and Sunday we had a few Washington hours for another pilgrimage to the National Air and Space Museum. One week later, Saturday October 8, the entire museum was shut down due to protesters. Why would anyone want to protest this place? This is what the protest was allegedly about, a display of military drone aircraft. How many people travelled thousands of miles to have their museum plans disrupted? We suspect that the demonstrators were unhappy with US policy. There is plenty to be angry about, but such protests belong at the White House.

A room devoted to the Wright Brothers' achievements. NASM is Washington's most popular attraction, a place devoted to our universal fascination with flight. The aircraft and displays here are beyond priceless. Among them are Russian spacecraft and Axis warplanes from WW2. The machines are fascinating, regardless of the policies they were tools of.

This is not a mockup, but a spaceworthy Skylab 2 built to be flown after Skylab 1. Though it makes a fascinating exhibit, what a waste to be not flown in Space. Could we make a similar mistake again? Some say that the Space Shuttle orbiters have many useful flights left, and should not yet be put in museums.

The USS Enterprise from the classic STAR TREK series is presently in the basement of the souvenir shop, among the bargain items. The Enterprise Space Shuttle test vehicle is at the NASM Udvar-Hazy museum near Dulles airport. Space will always be central to humanity's dreams for the future.