Apollo 11 exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Destination Moon at the Museum of Flight in Seattle is on through September 2, 2019. The exhibit is a great experience, made better by the retired engineers who serve as docents.

Feel better about your achievements at the entrance…

Ignore the awesome permanent collection:

You will be reminded that the Lunar Roving Vehicle (Moon Buggy) was built by Boeing…

There is a lot of great explanation of the Saturn V engines, some of whose core features were carried over from the German V-2.

Some of the advanced technology that each person in Mission Control had on the desktop custom-made consoles…

(For younger readers: You turn the dial to make a phone call.)

The Museum of Flight is not infected by an Oshkosh-style blind patriotism and reminds visitors that JFK may have launched the Apollo project to distract Americans from the “disastrous failure” at the Bay of Pigs (Eisenhower made the same point).

The museum’s compliance with current political orthodoxy is incomplete. On the one hand, the folks who designed and built Apollo are described as “A Diverse Workforce” because they had “many backgrounds and educational levels”. But on the other hand, Margaret Hamilton is not credited with writing the code for the Apollo Guidance Computer. Consistent with histories written in the pre-woke age, the software was written by programmers who identified as men prior to her joining the project. She “verified and installed programs,” according to the museum, which makes sense from a historical timeline point of view if not from a social justice one.

Want to be famous? Don’t be Russian. Here’s the first woman in space. Compare her fame to that of Sally Ride, an American who followed her into space 20 years later.

Want to be famous? Don’t be part of the sixth mission to land humans (some identifying as “men”?) on the moon:

How many of the above names were familiar to you?

Don’t like physics homework? There is an easier path to becoming a rocket scientist at NASA:

One of the most poignant and confusing parts of the museum is near the front entrance. A statue depicts Michael Anderson, mission specialist and then payload commander on two Shuttle flights. The plaque says “Dreams really do come true.” Yet Col. Anderson died on that second flight, of the shuttle Columbia. Surely that was not his or anyone else’s dream.

My advice: Hop a flight to Seattle, stay at the new Hyatt Regency, chow down at Din Tai Fung (I picked out some food to order there and asked a Chinese-American friend to critique: “That’s like going to Pat’s or Geno’s and ordering a hot dog”), and spend a day (before Sept 2) at the Museum of Flight.

8 thoughts on “Apollo 11 exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

  1. Din Tai Fung also in Tukwilla, which may be more convenient for some. Especially those headed to iFly before or after a MOF visit.

  2. Every time I see a F-1 (Saturn V’s) engine I’m amazed at the engineering it took to keep the nozzle from melting by circulating liquid oxygen around its upper-half fast enough that it wouldn’t boil at -183C, before injecting the O2 into the combustion chamber.

  3. For younger readers: You turn the dial to make a phone call.

    This doesn’t really capture how to dial a phone. I wonder if kids today now how?

    • I also wonder if kids know why there are letters on the phone. One flaw in the system is that there are only 6 vowels, yet there are 8 digits with letters. This makes things difficult for 5 and 7, so much so that AT&T didn’t have recommended names for the 55, 57, 95, and 97 exchanges.

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