Join us today at noon as we host special guests from NASA and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum!
A panel of space experts will discuss the American space program as it developed under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, including the Apollo missions to the Moon, the decision to develop the space shuttle, and the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz test project.
The event is free at the National Archives in Washington, D.C
Thursday, June 13, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
You can also watch this event live on our Ustream channel [www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives].
Presented in partnership with NASA, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives.
While you are at the National Archives don’t miss the special display on The Space Program and President Nixon. You can see a set of moon tongs used by Apollo astronauts and much more!
Photo courtesy of NASA: Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Lunar Module pilot of the Apollo 16 mission, is photographed collecting lunar samples at Station no. 1 during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity at the Descartes landing site. Duke is standing at the rim of Plum crater, which is 40 meters in diameter and 10 meters deep. The parked Lunar Roving Vehicle can be seen in the left background.
The Astronauts and Cosmonauts of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
The U.S. astronauts took Russian language courses; the Soviets took English courses. Both teams agreed that in space, the Americans would speak to their Soviet counterparts in Russian who in turn would speak English to the Americans.
Photo courtesy of NASA.gov: Astronauts (L-R Donald K. Slayton, Vance D. Brand and Thomas P. Stafford) and cosmonauts (L-R Valery N. Kubasov and Alexey A. Leonov) of the Apollo-Soyuz mission at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The Prime Crew for the NASA’s First Manned Skylab Mission Meet the Press in a Final Briefing Prior to Isolation for the Coming Launch of Skylab II, 05/01/1973
Skylab, the first American space station, was launched unmanned on May 14, 1973. This photo is of the prime crew for the first manned Skylab mission at a final briefing prior to isolation for the coming launch, which occurred on May 24, 1973. The astronauts are (L. to R.) Charles Conrad Jr., Commander, Paul J. Weitz, Pilot, and Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin, Science Pilot.
This Saturday, The National Archives and its Presidential Libraries will be at the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Space Day.
We’ll be hosting activities including:
- A Mission Checklist hunt for Apollo-related items at the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- A Presidential Pop Quiz on U.S. Presidents and the Space Program.
Want a head start on your Mission Checklist? These Moon Tongs were used by Apollo mission astronauts to collect lunar samples.
The tongs are from the holdings of the Nixon Presidential Library and can be seen for a limited time in the “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display at the National Archives in D.C.
Close-up view of a set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, being used by Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., to pick up lunar samples during the Apollo XII mission, November 19, 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.
This set of tongs was used to collect lunar samples from the “Ocean of Storms,” the largest dark spot on the Moon’s surface, during the Apollo XII mission. It was presented to President Nixon by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean.
The Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off on its maiden voyage, 30 years ago on April 4, 1983.
Space Transportation System Number 6, Orbiter Challenger, lifts off from Pad 39A carrying astronauts Paul J. Weitz, Koral J. Bobko, Donald H. Peterson and Dr. Story Musgrave, 04/04/1983
Astronaut Bruce McCandless II floats a few meters away from the cabin of the earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger as part of an historic Extravehicular Activity (EVA) during Flight 41-B. This is the first use of the nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), which allows astronauts to move freely in space without a tether, 02/07/1984
Make Way for Enterprise!
The Space Shuttle Enterprise passes through a hillside that has been cut to clear its wingspan. The orbiter is en route to Space Launch Complex Six aboard its specially-designed 76-wheel transporter, 02/01/1985
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first first full scale prototype. It was built without a functional heatshield or engines and therefore could not achieve spaceflight. A few weeks later the Enterprise was retired and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Enterprise was on display at the Steven F. Edvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport until April 27, 2012 when it was ferried to New York City to become part of the exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
(Coming off the anniversary of the most tragic week in Space Shuttle history, it seemed something lighter was called for.)
The Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven member crew were lost 10 years ago, on February 1, 2003.
- The space shuttle orbiter Columbia is launched for the first space transportation system test mission, 04/12/1981
- Flowers and homemade signs are placed at the front gate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA), Mountain View, California (CA) in a spontaneous memorial for the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) astronauts.
- The remains of an American Astronaut are carried by the Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana (LA) Honor Guard to a waiting C-141 Starlifter for transfer to Dover AFB, Delaware (DE).
On January 31, 1961, Ham the space chimpanzee made history after blasting off hundreds of miles into low Earth orbit inside a Mercury capsule. Before NASA could send humans into space, they used animals as test subjects to determine whether or not a human could perform tasks or even survive miles above the Earth’s surface. This photo, submitted by NASA to the Senate Committee on Space and Astronautics, captured the image of Ham stretching for an apple after landing safely aboard the capsule. More than just a passive rider, Ham readily performed a series of learned tasks on his journey proving that humans would have at least a limited functionary capability in space. One apple seems a pittance for Ham’s great contribution to the Mercury project and human space flight. Nevertheless, he seemed glad to have it!
Photograph of Ham reaching for an apple, SEN 89A-F1, 1/31/1961, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 7038095)
On December 19, the sound of the a human voice was transmitted through space. It was the voice of President Eisenhower, broadcasting a message of peace to the world below.
This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one. Through this unique means, I convey to you and all mankind America’s wish for peace on earth and good will to men everywhere.
Recorded on December 17th, it was transmitted to the satellite following a last-minute plan to change the existing recordings with Eisenhower’s goodwill message and broadcast on December 19th.
September 12, 1962 — President John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University Stadium, Houston, Texas, concerning the nation’s efforts in space exploration. In his speech the President discusses the necessity for the United States to become an international leader in space exploration and famously states, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
The space shuttle orbiter Challenger (STS-8) makes the first nighttime landing of the Space Transportation System as it touches down on Runway 22 at 12:40 am PDT at the end of a six-day mission. Aboard the shuttle are: Richard H. Truly, commander; Daniel Brandenstein, pilot; and mission specialists Guion S. Bluford, Dale A. Gardner and Dr. William E. Thornton, 09/05/1983