Monday, September 21, 2020

Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Here's something to be excited about when the Fernbank Science Center reopens ... one of only 15 exact replica's of Neil Armstrong's spacesuit—the one he was wearing when the first human stepped onto the Moon—is on display here!

Neil Armstrong Spacesuit | Photo by Travis Swann Taylor
Neil Armstrong Spacesuit | Fernbank Science Center | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Last year, in 2019, the distribution and exhibition of these suits were part of NASA's Moon Landing 50th Anniversary celebrations. As huge a space geek as I am, I don't know how I missed this, other than the fact that I was in the middle of writing my book, which includes the Fernbank Science Center—otherwise I would have been at Truist Park to see this! 

Fortunately for us, after the Apollo in the Park program, the 15 suits found permanent homes in space centers and museums (full list here), one of them right here in Atlanta! 

Neil Armstrong Spacesuit | Fernbank Science Center | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Neil Armstrong Spacesuit | Fernbank Science Center | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

The plaque with instructions for retrieving exclusive content is posted next to the statue. Presumably (I didn't check when I shot this earlier this year), it still works. I certainly hope so because I'll totally be snapping a selfie with Armstrong's suit! #SnapTheSuit

There's also a Moon Rock and a few other artifacts with this exhibit.

Check out the video above and this page on the Air & Space Museum's website to learn more about how NASA digitized Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, preserving it forever in the digital world! 

After being off display and years of restoration, Neil Armstrong's spacesuit is again on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, where I was once a volunteer. If you've never been to this museum and you're a space enthusiast or a space geek like me, you absolutely must go. And make time to visit their annex museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, not too far away.

Jim Lovell Spacesuit at Dragon Con 2013 | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Jim Lovell Spacesuit at Dragon Con 2013 | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Oh, and the Fernbank Science Center isn't the only place to see spacesuits in Metro Atlanta, although they are rare here. You're quite likely to see one or a few Dragon Con—this one was from 2013. It's designed after a suit worn by Astronaut James A. "Jim" Lovell who was the backup Commander to Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 and he was the Commander on the Apollo 13 mission.

I met the guy who made it—YES, he made this suit!!!—but didn't get to know him. I only know that he lived in Alabama at the time, presumably near or at the aerospace facilities in Huntsville, Alabama.

A little closer to home, you can see a spacesuit or two at Tellus Science Center in Cartersville, Georgia, less than an hour from Atlanta.

Keep an eye out for when Fernbank Science Center reopens so that you can go get that selfie with Astronaut Neil Armstrong's spacesuit! #SnapTheSuit

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