Make Time To See Time At Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

on March 19, 2013

Ship display for Time and Navigation

What time is it?

Time to check out a fascinating new showcase at the Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum (600 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC).

The Time and Navigation exhibit explores how revolutions in timekeeping have evolved over three centuries.

If you want to know where you are, the most important thing you must have is an accurate clock. While most of have replaced our watches with iPhones, the importance of time cannot be underestimated.

While the Smithsonian won’t officially open the its clock chronicle until March, preparations are currently underway. Recently, the Naval Research Laboratory donated a restored engineering model of the NTS-2 satellite. The satellite Is considered to be the first of its kind and the model for all the satellites we currently use.

The exhibition will be divided into five sections, each featuring their own unique displays:

Navigating at Sea:
- The earliest seagoing marine clock made in the United States
- Extraordinary artifacts from the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-42
- A hands-on experience in using the basic tools of navigation — the chronometer and the sextant

Navigating In The Air
- The record breaking Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae, flown around the world by Wiley Post and guided by Harold Gatty
- A hands-on experience using the World War II navigation system known as LORAN (Long RAnge Navigation)
- The actual clock used by Charles Lindbergh to navigate during his transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis
- The Astro Navigation System (ANS) used by the Museum’s SR-71 Blackbird during its record breaking flight from California to the Udvar-Hazy Center

Navigating In Space
- Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to reach the planet Mercury
- Timing equipment used at NASA ground tracking stations
- A hands-on experience in navigating a spacecraft across the solar system

Satellite Navigation
- A Transit satellite, used in early global navigation systems
- Submarine navigation equipment
- The story of how GPS was designed to serve users all over the world

Navigation For Everyone
A self-navigating car
A demonstration of a new system of air traffic control and navigation
Examples of how navigation technology impacts your life

The exhibit opens in March, and for more information, check out airandspace.si.edu