For Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Highlights Group Tour, meet your English speaking guide at the main entrance of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. With more than 30,000 aviation-related and more than 9,000 space related artifacts on display, the guide will showcase the best of the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world.
The major highlights of the tour are: Milestones of Flight: The gallery exhibits the first major discoveries which gave an impetus to the dream of flight possible. Some of the artifacts include the replica of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite, Bell XP-59A Airacomet, America’s first turbojet aircraft, Mariner 2, the first spacecraft to study another planet amongst others.
Space Race: Research and discovery in space industry was one of the critical areas in the cold war between the two post World War II power blocs – the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This gallery displays the military origins of the Space Race and gives an insight into US- Soviet Union space rivalry. You will find a German V-1 "buzz bomb" and V 2 missile, a Skylab Orbital Workshop, and a full-size test version of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Apollo Lunar Module: Here, the guide will tell you all about the launch of Apollo 11 and how the United States beat the Soviet Union in the space race, by sending the first men (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) on the moon and returning safely to Earth.
Wright Brothers Exhibition: This gallery has the first airplane invented by Wilbur Wright and Orville wright on display. Also, historical photographs, artifacts and instruments are showcased along with the aircraft.
World War II Aviation Exhibition: The gallery showcases the aircrafts used in World War II and majorly focuses on land-based fighter aviation. The fighter planes on display are a British Supermarine Spitfire, German Messerschmitt Bf 109, Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore, US North American P-51 Mustang, and Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero.
Other attractions covered in the tour are special orbitors, Skylab Orbital Workshop and Great War in the Air exhibition.
The tour ends at the interior entrance of the museum from where the guide will give you an overview of National Mall.