Artifact Collection

Apollo 17 Moon Rock

The moon rock on display near the exit of the Space Exhibit inside the San Diego Air & Space Museum was collected by the astronauts of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon in 1972. The sample we have is particularly important in U.S. space exploration history, since it came from the area where the age and method of creation of the moon were determined. This was one of the major scientific goals of the Apollo program.

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Apollo Rock Box

Gathering samples from the moon’s surface was so important to NASA that Neil Armstrong’s instructions were to do so as soon as he stepped onto the moon’s surface. He was to put rock samples into a pocket in his spacesuit so that he and Buzz Aldrin would have something to bring back to earth in case they had to leave suddenly.  It is no surprise, then, that the box designed to hold their moon rocks, dust, and core samples was one of the most important pieces of equipment they brought to the moon

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Norden Bombsight

The San Diego Air and Space Museum collection contains an instrument that was a key to the success of the Allies in World War Two: The Norden Bombsight. Key to the operation of the Norden were two features; an analog computer that constantly calculated the bomb's trajectory based on current flight conditions, and a linkage to the bomber's autopilot that let it react quickly and accurately to changes in the wind or other effects.

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TWA B-727 - Flight Simulator

At the top end of the list of ground-based aircraft trainers are the Full Flight Simulators; a combination of both the motions enhanced generic flight trainers and the non-motion, but aircraft specific, cockpit trainers.  The San Diego Air and Space Museum collection includes a Full Flight Simulator built specifically for an iconic airliner, the Boeing 727.  Introduced in 1964, over 1800 of the model were built and some are still in use today.  The 727 was a mainstay for several airliners around the world, including TWA, whose livery SDASM's simulator is painted with.

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Northwest Boeing 377 Stratocruiser Cockpit Procedures Trainer

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser (first flight: Jul, 1947) was a large, long-range airliner developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter military transport, itself a derivative of the B-29 Superfortress. Boeing’s 377 design was advanced for its day as it featured two passenger decks and a pressurized cabin, however reliability was poor due to problems with the four 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines and control problems with the engine propellers. Only 55 Model 377s were built for airlines, along with a single prototype.

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San Diego Air & Space Museum

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