Hail Columbia – Apollo 11 Capsule Coming Home to NASM

The Apollo 11 space capsule which Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins rode to the moon in July, 1969 is scheduled to return to the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum soon. It will go on display at NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on March 3rd. (image via NASM)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


While only tangentially related to warbirds, it is hard to imagine that any of us weren’t keenly aware of the celebrations last year regarding the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landings made by the crew of Apollo 11 in July, 1969. The Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum (NASM), in Washington, DC, has long been the home for Apollo 11’s command capsule, Columbia, but as most of us will know from our previous articles, Columbia has spent roughly two years shuttling from one major museum to another across the US to help celebrate the golden anniversary of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collin’s historic journey.

NASM has just announced that Columbia is due home very soon; she will go on display at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia on March 3rd. That same day, the museum will be hosting presentations describing the artifact, and conservation efforts involved with its preservation. For younger visitors, there will also be what NASM describes as a “special Moon-themed Flights of Fancy story time and hands-on activity.”

Columbia will be on view at Udvar-Hazy for about a year before NASM moves the spacecraft again to prepare her for display in 2022 at their main campus in Washington, DC. This facility is currently undergoing major renovations, part of which will see a significant new exhibit dedicated to lunar exploration named Destination Moon. Columbia will become its center-piece, sitting alongside the space suit which Neil Armstrong wore during the Apollo 11 mission, and other related artifacts. We look forwards to sharing more information about this display once the information becomes available.

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Richard Mallory Allnutt's aviation passion ignited at the 1974 Farnborough Airshow. Raised in 1970s Britain, he was immersed in WWII aviation lore. Moving to Washington DC, he frequented the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, meeting aviation legends.

After grad school, Richard worked for Lockheed-Martin but stayed devoted to aviation, volunteering at museums and honing his photography skills. In 2013, he became the founding editor of Warbirds News, now Vintage Aviation News. With around 800 articles written, he focuses on supporting grassroots aviation groups.

Richard values the connections made in the aviation community and is proud to help grow Vintage Aviation News.

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About Richard Mallory Allnutt (Chief Editor) 1061 Articles
Richard Mallory Allnutt's aviation passion ignited at the 1974 Farnborough Airshow. Raised in 1970s Britain, he was immersed in WWII aviation lore. Moving to Washington DC, he frequented the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, meeting aviation legends. After grad school, Richard worked for Lockheed-Martin but stayed devoted to aviation, volunteering at museums and honing his photography skills. In 2013, he became the founding editor of Warbirds News, now Vintage Aviation News. With around 800 articles written, he focuses on supporting grassroots aviation groups. Richard values the connections made in the aviation community and is proud to help grow Vintage Aviation News.