Talk:National Air and Space Museum

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i changed "the only lunar rock sample available to the public" to "one of the only...samples...". there's a moon rock at Space Center Houston, which is the public visitor's center next to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. i'm not positive if there are any more public moon rocks out there, so i didn't specify "one of the two" or anything.

Changed the bell X1 and concorde to clarify[edit]

I changed the Bell X1 line to add "Powered level flight" as dating back to well before Chuck's flight several people have been recorded to go supersonic in dives, not many survived.

(Actually no one is KNOWN to have actually "gone supersonic and survived" before Yeager, much less have it recorded, though different stories do float around about American, British, and German pilots who MIGHT have done so.)

Also added the "Air France" to the Concorde line to clarify this is not the British Airways varient which has several notable diferences.

Also by the way the Concorde displayed is still intact with engines and un-modified. So many others of these now decomissioned aircraft are on display without engines and obvious cut-lines for transportation, to me these are no longer the real thing just a pile of scrap.

Wright Flyer[edit]

Is it really the original one that made the first flight? AFAIK, it was soon after the flights destroyed by strong gusts and only a few parts survived. --Kucharek 12:47, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Orville supervised the rebuild for museum display. I am sure some parts were replaced, and some repaired, and the fabric is probably not original, but for the most part, it is the original aircraft.--Rogerd 03:22, July 28, 2005 (UTC)
I've included a detailed description of the 1985 restoration of the Wright Flyer in the article on that aircraft. Logawi 21:26, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

V2 - First human made object in space?[edit]

I thought I saw on the history channel that some shells from large Artillery pieces in World War I were able to leave the atmospehere. Would one of those be the first human made object in space instead? Mabey lets find out below!

The V-2_rocket article notes a trajectory peak of 80km. Information on the Paris gun of WWI notes a ceiling of 40km (mentioned as "highest prior to the V-2"), and I expect Germany's WWII-era large artillery pieces were similar. The artillery pieces might have been able to reach the V-2's operational ceiling if they could have been angled directly upwards. However, it would appear that the V-2's space claim results from post-war modifications (extra stages and the like) that boosted its ceiling to ~400km (I believe the internationally recognized limit is 100km). Lomn 18:42:04, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

Introductory Paragraph[edit]

The following line seems unnecessary and mis-placed and should not be included in the introductory paragraph:

Sadly, all thrust levels for rocket and jet engines are reported in mass units of kilograms rather than force units of newtons or pounds so the research will likely be flawed by errors in metric conversion.

I'm going to remove it for now. - Cybjorg 05:18, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I suppose I might agree about the inclusion in the introductory paragraph, however, the comment is true. The National Air and Space Museum is supposed to be an educational institution and by failing to properly display a unit as basic as metric thrust it is failing in that mission. It is a national disgrace that metric thrust units are reported throughout the museum in kilograms. One only needs to remember the Mars Polar Lander to understand the importance of accurate metric unit conversion. Anyone who values the exploration of space should join in demanding that the NASM appropriately report metric thrust units in newtons and exposing this error.
Nevertheless, using the Wikipedia as a soapbox to expose and decry NASM's so-called shortcomings is not appropriate. - Cybjorg 05:43, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Not only are there kilograms-force, but unlike pounds-force, they actually have an official definition: 1 kgf = 9.80665 N exactly, ever since the CGPM officially adopted a standard acceleration of gravity for this purpose in 1901, with the value of 980.665 cm/s² in the units common at the time. We often borrow the same standard acceleration to define pounds force, but we don't have to do so. Other values used to define pounds force include 32.16 ft/s², commonly seen in ballistics with a kinetic energy formula given as E = m·v²/450240 where the denominator is the denominator of the ½ (i.e., 2) in the general kinetic energy formula multiplied by 7000 gr/lb and multiplied by 32.16 ft/s².
The only other difference is that the metric system is still fully supported and updated, and the keepers of our standards have been telling us for the last 45 years to stop using kilograms-force. The English units, OTOH, are like old software; nobody will ever bother to tell us to stop using pounds-force without telling us to stop using pounds of any kind. Gene Nygaard 04:17, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I assume this is the dispute referred to at WP:3o? Having taken a look at it, my thoughts are 1)"Sadly" doesn't belong in any article, as it's commentary on the article's contents rather than a part of those contents. 2)The introductory paragraph isn't the best place for that information, if it is to be included. 3)"so the research will likely be flawed by errors in metric conversion" doesn't belong. Like the "sadly", it's commentary. Furthermore, it doesn't even make sense. What errors in SI conversion are there going to be? 1 kilogram-force is equal to 9.8 Newtons, which is easy multiplication, and with the rounding off to 10, is trivial. And though the kilogram's not a unit of force in SI, it is de facto a unit of force. The Literate Engineer 07:20, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for your input, T.L.E. Based on your input, I am going to re-remove the statement in question for now. - Cybjorg 07:58, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm going to re-insert this statement. There is no such thing as a 'kilogram-force'. Absolutely no one in the science or engineering community uses this non-existent unit. SI units are very clear, the unit of force is a newton. As an educational institution the Smithsonian has a responsibility to educate the public. Considering the recent loss of a spacecraft (Mars Polar Lander) specifically because of metric conversion error, this particular error is inexcusable. This 'Literate Engineer' is not a standard reference. I suggest Mark's Handbook of Mechanical Engineering or any one of several ISO SI definitions specifications. I will agree to relocate the sentence and make it a statement of fact. I solicit others to confront the Air and Space Museum on this error.

Even with the editing, it still sounds very much like there is an agenda behind the statement. Wikipedia is hardly the place for soapbox efforts. - Cybjorg 07:27, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

The article is a review of the museum. Reviews present both positive and negative information. It is perfectly fair and appropriate to reveal an error in a museum display. Since F=ma is the basic fact from which the rocket equation is derived, it is a rather serious error to state 'm' when you mean 'F'. By the way, your comments have forced me to think and review and I appreciate that. For example, I above stated Mars Polar Lander, and then upon review of the JPL website corrected it to Mars Climate Orbiter (the 2 spacecraft were developed and launched as a pair). The earliest version of my statement did draw an inference and I agree that only a statement of fact is appropriate. Rocketry is fraught with discussions such as these; check out the Wikipedia discussion page on 'Specific Impulse'.

The issue might bear mentioning, but "it bears a responsibility to use correct SI units" is POV - it goes beyond reporting facts and into matters of opinion. (An opinion with which I strongly agree, but it's still opinion.)
IMHO, this would be better presented as a statement of verifiable facts that don't depend on personal judgements: rather than "it bears a responsibility to use SI", something in the vein of "this usage is at odds with common scientific/engineering practice and has been criticised".
BTW, I regret to say that some people in the science & engineering communities *do* use kg-force. I've encountered it occasionally in my research work, and examples of the usage can be seen here, here, and here. It's inevitable that some people will attempt to convert pounds-force to metric by changing pounds into kilograms, rather than doing the job properly and converting to newtons. --Calair 05:03, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Then, of course, there are the people like User:Cevaughan, who do not realize that pounds, just like kilograms, are primarily units of mass, and the pounds-force like kilograms-force are a recent spinoff, something never well defined before the 20th century. They don't understand that for most of the things for which we use pounds, unlike the jet and rocket thrust measurements we are talking about here, the conversion from pounds to kilograms is proper and correct. In fact, we don't even have independent standards for those pounds any more; they are defined as an exact fraction of a kilogram. Gene Nygaard 04:17, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Certainly no serious member of the rocket propulsion community uses 'kg-force'. I have reviewed scores of AIAA papers and have never seen it a single time. I know it would not ever pass in a peer-reviewed journal. The phrase "bears a responsibility" is judgment, however, don't educational institutions bear a responsibility to present science and technology accurately and in line with current accepted scientific practice. For example, were the Smithsonian to start presenting the Bohr atom as a description of atomic structure would this acceptable to anyone? I do approve of the construction "this usage is at odds..." given above and may well adopt it if that is a consensus position. (BTW, that also could be called a judgment.) [unsigned by Cevaughan]
I would agree with Calair's recommendation. Claiming odds with the common scientific community practices sounds more like reporting and less like POV. And please sign your comments by placing 4 tildes (~) at the end. - Cybjorg 10:01, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
"For example, were the Smithsonian to start presenting the Bohr atom as a description of atomic structure would this acceptable to anyone?"
Not quite the same thing. That would be a misrepresentation of fact. (Although honestly, the Bohr model is good enough to serve an educational function, as a stepping-stone to models that are more accurate but harder to grasp - if they were teaching the plum pudding model or some such, then I'd be worried.)
Using non-standard units is obnoxious, but as long as they're rigorously and consistently defined ("one kg-force equals 9.80665 kg*m/s²") it's possible - though harder - to work with them without making errors of fact.
I don't think a statement like "this usage is at odds with common practice" is a very subjective judgement, because it can be verified by - e.g. - examining AIAA papers and noting that nobody uses kg-force there. But if the AIAA and/or similar bodies have an official standard, citing that would be preferable to "common practice". --Calair 01:08, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
You are dead wrong, Cevaughan (note about comment being unsigned added above). Serious members of the rocket propulsion community—and the aviation community as well—certainly used the kilogram-force very extensively in the past, and continue to do so to a lesser extent today. These were the primary units for rocket thrust in the Soviet space program until the late 1980s, up until about the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union. There are several indications that they are still used in the Chinese space program, still sometimes used by the European Space Agency as well.
Just go check out the articles in "What links here" under kilogram-force. See also the thrusts of jet engines in Tom Clancy's nonfiction Airborne (1997).
Check out also the arguments of those using those "seconds" as a measure of specific impulse, rather than the SI units of newton-seconds per kilogram, often justifying the use of "seconds" on the basis that the seconds are the same in "metric" units (the units are actually pound-force seconds per pound, just willy-nilly cancelling out two different units called "pounds", and 1 lbf·s/lb = 1 kgf·s/kg, and in SI units either of these equals 9.80665 N·s/kg). It's only when you cancel out kilograms-force with kilograms, just as American rocket scientists cancel out pounds-force with pounds, that you get the same number in those two systems.
BTW, though I wasn't the one who put that information about units in this article (I did just now reword it some), somewhere I probably still have copies of some private correspondence with NASM going back about 25 years ago or so, when I complained about this and other problems with measurements in their displays. I didn't accomplish anything with my complaints, obviously. Gene Nygaard 02:20, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I can't believe I actually found it right away; letter from Noel W. Hinners, Director, National Air and Space Museum, to Mr. Gene Nygaard, January 10, 1980:
  • "Regarding rocket thrust measurements, pounds and kilograms thrust have been used classically by rocket engineers in the U.S. and abroad. The use of the Newton unit is relatively recent. Only in the past two years, for example, has the National Air and Space Museum been using Newtons (followed by pounds, in parentheses) when writing of rocket motors in press releases and educational materials. However, the general visitor to our Museum is unfamiliar with this unit although it is, of course, correct. The same is true of the term, pascals."
This does prove one thing; NASM has been aware of this problem for nearly 26 years at least, and apparently hasn't done much about it. Gene Nygaard 02:32, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

In doing some general cleanup, I have made a couple of changes related to this discussion. I removed the repetition of the fact that newtons and pounds-force are force units, and I removed the following statement:

It is notable that the NASA JPL Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft was lost September 23, 1999 specifically because of a failure to convert impulse from English units (pound-force seconds) to metric units (newton seconds).

While it is a notable mistake, a failure to convert from English to SI units seems to be very different from thinking "force" and saying "mass". Since it does not apply directly here, I took that sentence out. I also changed the word "controversy" in the section heading to "clarity", since there is no reference to controversy other than this discussion. Dpv 18:47, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

That's not an accurate characterization; they aren't "saying 'mass'". They are merely saying pounds (and it is quite common, especially in engineering, to use that unadorned term for the pound as a unit of force), and they are converting it to kilograms (once again, probably not identifying them as units of force, but that doesn't make their use here units of mass). Kilograms-force, of course, were also quite acceptable units at the beginning of the space age; SI is post-Sputnik. Gene Nygaard 19:51, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
I may not have been precise enough. Perhaps using what appear to be mass units is different from saying "mass". My point, though, was that whatever NASM is doing "wrong" (or differently from current standards), it's not the same as failing to convert from English to SI units. Thanks for pointing that out. Dpv 01:28, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, sure, it isn't as bad as measuring specific impulse in units of "seconds" rather than "N·s/kg" or the equivalent "m/s" (something NASM likely does as well). That involves treating these pounds or kilograms of thrust as if they were the same as the pounds or kilograms used for fuel consumption. Or flipping it around, as cleanup crews have done to make the dimensional analysis work, by gratuituously throwing in a gn into the formula, something not called for by the physics, so that they can pretend that the units used for fuel consumption are the same as the units used for thrust.
Of course, NASM isn't alone in this foolishness. You can look at Boeing's technical specificantions for the DC-10, for example:[1]
Engines (has 3) maximum thrust GE CF6-6D 40,000 lbs (18,144 kg) GE CF6-50C2F 46,500 lbs (21,092 kg) GE CF6-50C 51,000 lbs (23,133 kg) P&W JT9D-59A (2) 53,000 lbs (24,040)
Gene Nygaard 08:21, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Suggested merger[edit]

I think Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center should remain a separate article. One of the biggest reasons is the spatial separation. The current setup makes it easier to specify the location of exhibits (many in both locations are large objects with Wikipedia articles). It might be different if it were an annex on the same grounds, but when its 50 km or whatever away, that's sufficient reason to keep it separate. 10:22, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I agree. My vote is to keep the articles separate. Logawi 21:23, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
I concur. It is a physically separate location and has a separate history. Victortan 20:11, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Keep separate for reasons already mentioned. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:54, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Definitely keep separate for all of the reasons mentioned. Iancaddy 21:55, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Keep separate What's the matter? Are we low on disk space or something? Well then get rid of some of the crap here: List of Dreamcast games (just kidding). I think we have space for both articles. --rogerd 00:02, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Keep separate. Jonathan D. Parshall 03:01, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

After 2 months and no votes to merge, I have removed the merge tags and replaced it on the NASM article with {{main}} --rogerd 00:59, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Food Court[edit]

The food court there has Donatos Pizza, McDonalds, and Boston Market. Just curious, is this relevant for the article? If it is, it would also be noteworthy that you can't take the food out the food court, for cleanliness sake. I think it is relevant to note that they have a food court because some of the other Smithonian museums in the area dont have food courts and also toursist who plan to visit there would have some idea whats for lunch.--Xlegiofalco 04:00, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Food courts are SO not interesting. WP is not a tourist guide, that's why we have a link to the NASM website. One way to evaluate is to ask what is worth knowing about NASM 100 years after it has closed, and food courts wouldn't make the cut. Stan 19:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

What's wrong with "Notable"?[edit]

What's wrong with having "Notable exhibits in the main museum" as a heading? It's not a list of every exhibit in the museum, is it? - BillCJ 23:27, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Violating POV, I think that's too much of a stretch. Wikipedia itself has a guideline on Notability for articles. "Exhibits in the main museum" implies an exhaustive list. "Select" might be better than "Notable", but I still don't see that it needs to be changed at all. In fact, the view that "Notable" is a POV is itself a POV.

Cite me a pre-existing ruling, not written by you, by Wikipedia administration on this issue, and I'll abide by it. - BillCJ 16:17, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

"the view that "Notable" is a POV is itself a POV." Obviously. We have judged certain words to be inappropriate because they carry POV connotations. Also, rulings are not made by administration here, most guidelines come from below. See WP:WTA for other words generally considered unacceptable. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 16:44, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I did not see "notable" on that list, tho the word does occur twice in that article. Be sure to get those occurances changed to something more suitable. - BillCJ 17:00, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
A selective list introduced as "notable" is perfectly fine. It's stretching the notion of POV out of all recognition to object to it on those grounds; we are allowed to use a bit of common sense to recognize that the moon rock exhibit is more notable than the flight simulator, and we don't have to cite a panel of experts ranking all the exhibits for notability. If the list is selective, you do need to say so somehow, so somebody doesn't think you've supplied the full list of exhibits. An alternate word used in some articles is "highlights". Stan 16:57, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't mind selected. The reason I don't like notable is that to select things, we have to have some basis, and notability is a subjectively chosen set of criteria. Selected is simple fact, we chose them for the list, thus they're selected, but a person with a different perspective might consider something else more notable. A tremendous fan of one type of aircraft, for example. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 17:03, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

"Selected exhibits" sounds good then. - BillCJ 17:27, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


Rated as B due to a need for cleanup and expansion to include a more complete list of exhibits.Nf utvol 19:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 15:57, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Eddie August Schneider Momentoes[edit]

I am the newphew of Eddie Schneider, and have a photo album with many pictures and newpaper clippings of his short life. I would like to donate these to the National Air and Space Museum who now has his library and a painting of his. I also have a child's book "Air Babies" given to my by Uncle Eddie that was published in 1938. This even includes the air refueling concept, with "mother plane" feeding two "baby planes" with a tube attached to a bottle nipple while airborne. Please advise if these items are wanted by the National Air and Space Museum? Semper Fidelis, John Harms —Preceding unsigned comment added by 06COLONEL (talkcontribs) 18:33, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

image gallery[edit]

i'm going to remove the gallery tag, WP:IG: "Images are typically interspersed individually throughout an article near the relevant text (see WP:MOSIMAGES). However, the use of galleries may be appropriate in Wikipedia articles where a collection of images can illustrate aspects of a subject that cannot be easily or adequately described by text or individual images. The images in the gallery collectively must have encyclopedic value and add to the reader's understanding of the subject" Accotink2 talk 15:13, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


Article reassessed as C because it is not fully referenced.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:19, 7 May 2012 (UTC)


This article blurs the distinction between the "National Air and Space Museum" and its National Mall Building. It seems pretty clear from the Smithsonian's site that they use the term National Air and Space Museum to refer to the Mall, UHC, and Graber Facility. Given the present top hat, it seems I'm not the only one to notice that the status quo is confusing. Two solutions occur to me:

  1. Split the article and create an new one for specifics of the National Mall Building and collections. The present article is rewritten to cover non-building specific and early history, common issues and of course summarize and link to the facility specific articles.
  2. Rewrite this article so that there is a clear delineation. The National Mall Building specifics should be consolidated in their own section, after general topics and an introduction of the separate facilities.

Comments? --J Clear (talk) 14:01, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

The blurred distinction accurately represents the way people think of NASM, in general. Perhaps there is no need to change the article in a radical manner. Of your two suggestions, #2 involves the least disruption. Suggestion #1 would have us create an article with an oddly disambiguated title, such as National Air and Space Museum (building), unpopular and hard to sell. Much of the focus of NASM, as far as the general public is concerned, is centered on the NASM Mall building, so combining the building and the museum articles reflects that perspective. Binksternet (talk) 14:23, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Wonderful place, but should the nation be specified[edit]

in the title? Midgley (talk) 16:21, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

There is no other "National Air and Space Museum" in the world that I am aware of. See also National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, National Institute of Standards and Technology, etc., etc., etc. —Diiscool (talk) 17:32, 26 August 2013 (UTC)