Hey travelers!

Today, we have a special post from one of our new guest writers, Jeff Stabins. I hope you enjoy!

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is commemorating the Golden anniversary of mankind’s first steps outside of a spacecraft this spring with a massive exhibit on the second floor of the Air and Space Museum. What a great time to take an educational tour of our nation’s capital as plans are underway to prepare for an eventual manned trip to Mars!

On June 3, 1965 American astronaut Ed White thrilled himself and his fellow countrymen when he spent over twenty minutes outside the Gemini IV spacecraft. It would be our last second place finish in the Space Race to the Russians. Three months prior, Aleksei Leonov, a Soviet cosmonaut became the first person to walk in space, but nearly didn’t live to tell about it. His suit ballooned in the vacuum of space, and he was forced to vent some air from it in order to fit back through his ship’s airlock, an unpracticed and dangerous procedure. White’s ride wasn’t without its risks, either. Upon re-entry to the ship, he and Commander James McDivitt had difficulty re-latching the hatch. An unsealed hatch would have doomed both men as they attempted to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

For fifty years EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) has been a critical component of manned space flights. Over two hundred men and women have now amassed over a thousand hours of EVA experience. From Ed White and Aleksei Leonov to men collecting rocks from the lunar surface to carefully making repairs outside the International Space Station, the Air and Space Museum has plenty of exciting artifacts for teachers and their students to see while on their educational trip.

Book your student tour to Washington D.C. now while gas prices are low!

Until next time,