National Air and Space Museum
Interior of museum, with Gemini capsule, Soviet rockets, and Wright Flyer visible
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the United States' Smithsonian Institution maintains the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world. Its notable exhibits include the original Wright Flyer that made the first powered flight in 1903, the Spirit of St. Louis that flew across the Atlantic Ocean, the command module of Apollo 11, Concorde and the only lunar rock sample accessible to the public.
The main exhibit hall of the museum is on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the city. In addition to the rooms crowded with historic aircraft and other artifacts, there is an IMAX theater and the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
The museum's total collection numbers over 30,000 aviation-related and 9,000 space-related artifacts, and is thus larger than will fit in the main hall. Many of the aircraft are at Garber Restoration Facility in Suitland, Maryland. In addition, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located at the Dulles Airport and expected to open 15 December 2003, is planned to have an additional 200 aircraft and 135 spacecraft on display, including the space shuttle Enterprise and the B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay.
The museum was designed by noted architect I. M. Pei. The NASM has a research department, archives, and library.