My wife and I got a chance to to get away by ourselves last weekend. My amazing wife has started her own knitwear design company and she had a chance to do a trunk show in Alexandria VA at a great local store called “Fibre Space”. I went along to get some time away with my wife and to have some "me" photography time. I got a chance to walk around a museum that I have longed to go to for a while now, pretty much since I first heard about it. So once I had finished the items that my wife needed I headed over to the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles airport. For those who don’t know what this is it is the extension of the air and space museum that is on the mall. Most of the large items in the collection are housed in the massive Boeing hanger that the museum calls home. In addition to the hanger the museum also has a full scale model of a control tower and a space hanger. To give you some sense of scale for this building, one half has a concord, a 707 and a B29 superfortress along with many smaller planes underneath and around all on the ground. There are also many smaller aircraft suspended over these aircraft. For me the highlight was going to be two items, the first is the SR-71 Blackbird that is on display right in the middle of the hanger and the second would be the shuttle Discovery just behind it in the space hanger.
The SR-71 Blackbird holds many records for high speed manned flight which include the fastest transit of the United States and the fastest transit of the Atlantic Ocean. Both of these times are just under 1 hour. The SR-71 is quite possibly my favorite aircraft ever, the fact that it still looks futuristic and it was created 40 years ago.
Discovery also holds many records in its own right. A lot of the firsts for shuttle missions were completed on Discovery. The ability to stand so close to something that has been in space was very cool to me. The tour guide pointed out the that while some of the tiles on the underside had been replaced due to damage most were still original to the craft. It was interesting to see the heat markings from 39 reentries through atmosphere. Also the size of the craft struck me. When you see it in pictures with the tanks and boosters attached the shuttle itself looks small but by no means is the shuttle small.
Here are some other shots from the rest of the trip.
© Mark Wuttke
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