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    210: Apollo to the Moon

Apollo to the Moon (Gallery 210)

This gallery contains artifacts from the Apollo space program, which started in 1961 and ran through the mid-1970’s. The gallery is arranged in chronological order, so start your tour from the entryway closest to the food court for the displays to make sense.

The first part of the gallery is a wall display summarizing U.S. and Soviet space flight, starting with Robert Goddard and working through the early 1960’s, up to Apollo launches in 1968. Opposite that wall is an F-1 rocket engine from the Saturn V rocket. Five of these F-1 engines were used in the first stage of the Saturn V for the Apollo missions, giving you some idea of how huge these rockets were.

The bulk of the gallery contains various artifacts from the Apollo missions, from paper manuals describing how to operate the computers, to cameras, to a Command Module instrument panel. There’s an interesting display on why the Apollo spacecraft used fuel cells (similar to those in some zero-emissions cars today) instead of batteries.

A set of exhibits is set up to look like the lunar surface. Inside these you’ll see equipment used for experiments on the moon, including the Lunar Rover car, plus the spacesuits worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

Above the gallery hangs the Skylab 4 Apollo command module, which flew in 1973-4. On the way out of the gallery is an actual moon rock you can touch.

Other Lands at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum