(01) Why is the museum planning to build additional galleries?The fourth building is vital to further expand facilities to tell the Air Force story, to provide greater public understanding and appreciation for the Air Force's role as an integrated air, space and cyberspace force and provide new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for America's youth. The NMUSAF's statutory responsibility to preserve and present the history and heritage of the USAF as well as educate remains an important national mission.
The proposed 224,000 square foot, climate-controlled fourth building will allow dedicated gallery space to present the Air Force's past, present and future in space and the opportunity to consolidate the presidential and research and development aircraft, currently located on the controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson AFB, to the museum's main campus. In addition, the building will house aircraft such as the C-141C Hanoi Taxi and the C-130E as part of the Global Reach Gallery.
Click here for more information about the proposed expansion.
(02) How is the building being paid for and how much will it cost?The Air Force Museum Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is chartered to assist the National Museum of the United States Air Force with the development and expansion of facilities, and is in the process of raising the funds to meet the growing requirements of the museum. To date, they have raised $38 million of the $46 million needed for the building project. Click here to visit the Air Force Museum Foundation's website.
(03) When will construction begin, and when will the building be open to the public?Current plans call for the construction contract to be awarded in late 2013, construction to begin in 2014 and the building to be initially opened in 2015. At that time, the museum will continue to populate the new building until all exhibits are completed.
(04) What exhibits will be housed in the fourth building?The fourth building will house the Presidential Aircraft Gallery, the Research and Development Gallery, the Space Gallery and the Global Reach Gallery.
The Presidential Aircraft Gallery will allow the museum to relocate and expand one of its most popular exhibits, which is currently located in a gallery on the controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson AFB (visitors must ride a shuttle from the main museum complex), so all visitors will have the opportunity to view and walk through these aircraft.
The Research and Development (R&D) Gallery will allow the museum to relocate many of the R&D aircraft such as the XB-70, X-1B, YF-12, YF-23 and the "flying saucer-like" Avrocar from the controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson AFB.
The new Space Gallery will showcase NASA's first Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT-1), a high-fidelity representation of a Space Shuttle crew station used primarily for crew training and engineering evaluations. As a major exhibit component of the gallery, visitors will be able to walk onto a full-size representation of a NASA Space Shuttle payload bay and look inside the CCT-1 cockpit flight deck and mid-deck areas. The Space Gallery will also house the museum's growing space collection including an X-24A, X-24B, Titan IV rocket, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, as well as a range of other rockets, satellite launch vehicles and spacecraft, spanning the history of the space age and exemplifying the Air Force's vast reconnaissance, early warning, communications and other space capabilities.
The Global Reach Gallery will feature select cargo aircraft such as the C-141C Hanoi Taxi and C-130E. The Air Force's airlift and air refueling missions will also be explained in this gallery.
The museum also plans to explore several new themes in the fourth building such as aerospace vehicle design, propulsion, payload capacity, human factors, communication, range, speed, and operating environment. The museum will integrate these exhibits with educational programs, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Artists' renderings of the fourth building are available on the Expansion page.
(05) Do you have a list of aircraft that will be on display in the fourth building?Presidential: Current plans calls for all of the presidential currently on display at the museum to be included in the building: VC-54C Sacred Cow; VC-6A "Lady Bird Special;" VC-140B Jetstar; VC-137C SAM 26000 (AF One); T-39A Sabre Liner; VC-121E Columbine III; VC-118 The Independence; UH-13J Sioux; Aero Commander U-4B.
R&D: The museum's goal is to have as many R&D aerospace vehicles on display in the fourth building as possible. The museum's staff has developed a conceptual draft and will continue working on refining the aircraft layout as the project moves forward. The ultimate goal is to have the following aircraft placed in the fourth building: Avrocar; Darkstar; NC-131H; NT-33A; P-59B; P-75A; Tacit Blue; XB-70; X-1B; X-3; X-4; X-5; X-10; X-15A-2; X-25A; X-29A; XF-84H; XF-85; XF-91; XP-80R; XV-6A; YF-12A; YF-23A; YF-107A; YRF-84F; XC-142A; XH-26; XH-20; XV-3A; NF-16A; XF-92A; X-36; Long EZ; X-13.
Space: Current plans call for the following items to be included in the building: X-15, C-119J aircraft; Gambit 1 KH-7; Gambit 3 KH-8; Hexagon KH-9; Hexagon Mapping Camera; KH-9 Film Return Vehicle; Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer; 2 Space Shuttle landing simulators; Mercury spacecraft; Gemini spacecraft; Apollo spacecraft; X-24A; X-24B; Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning satellite; Titan IV space launch vehicle; Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) spacecraft; X-37; X-40A; CCT/Space Gallery STEM Learning Node.
Global Reach: The ultimate goal for the Global Reach Gallery is the C-82A, C-130E and C-141C.
(06) Why did the museum decide to move R&D aircraft into the fourth building?The decision to move some of the R&D aircraft into the fourth building was driven by budget reductions, as well as the desire to display many rare, one-of-a-kind aircraft, such as the XB-70, which are highly regarded by our visitors, in the main museum facility. This allows all visitors to have the opportunity to see these aircraft and the museum to minimize shuttle bus expenditures.
(07) Will all of the R&D aircraft fit into the fourth building?Not all of the R&D aircraft will be able to fit in the fourth building, but the museum will include as many as possible. R&D aircraft that do not get moved to the fourth building will be placed in storage.
(08) Does the museum still plan to get a C-5 and/or KC-135?In order to make room for the additional R&D aircraft, acquisition of some global reach aircraft that were originally planned for the fourth building, such as the still active C-5 and KC-135, will be deferred until they can be accommodated.
(09) What is the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) and what will the exhibit entail?A major exhibit component of the new Space Gallery will be the NASA Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT), a high-fidelity representation of a space shuttle orbiter crew station that was used primarily for on-orbit crew training and engineering evaluations.
Plans call for the museum to build a full-scale mock-up of the payload bay and develop other new exhibits with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. When completed, the CCT exhibit will allow the public to look into the cockpit and mid-deck areas of a shuttle and learn how astronauts trained for their missions.
(10) How soon will the CCT exhibit be finished? Do you have a diagram or drawing of what the CCT exhibit will look like?The CCT and surrounding exhibits will take many months to complete. The CCT arrived at the museum in August 2012. A $1.5 million contract was awarded to Display Dynamics Inc. in September 2012 to reproduce a full-scale mock-up of a NASA shuttle payload bay, engine and tail sections, along with visitor observation and access structures. In addition, Display Dynamics will build a dedicated learning area to provide a unique environment for lectures and demonstrations, as well as extensions of the exhibit experience. This 60-seat classroom will allow museum staff to facilitate new educational programs. Current plans call for these parts of the exhibit to be completed in September 2013.
Four other CCT-1 exhibit contracts were awarded to add further content to the display. David Clark Company Inc. will build five reproduction space suits representing the space shuttle and Gemini programs. Guard-Lee Inc. will provide reproduction Mercury, Apollo and space shuttle spacesuits. A contract for STEM education elements, including two space shuttle landing simulators and 10 touch-screen computers, was awarded to Historic Space Systems. Finally, a contract to develop 14 scale models of U.S. space launch vehicles was awarded to ProTek Models LLC.
Click here to see a conceptual drawing of the CCT exhibit.
(11) Where will the CCT be placed on display?The CCT was placed on interim display in the Cold War Gallery in 2012. It will eventually be moved to the museum's planned Space Gallery in the fourth building.
(12) Will you allow the public inside the CCT once it is placed on display?The public will have as much access as we can reasonably provide to the CCT, payload bay and surrounding exhibits. However, the museum will also take into consideration preservation requirements.
(13) What kinds of educational programming will you be able to conduct in the fourth building?Educating the public about the Air Force story and inspiring the nation's youth are primary missions of the NMUSAF. The NMUSAF has decades of experience in museum educational programming and currently offers a continuum of diverse learning experiences and opportunities free of charge to a full range of on-site and online audiences. NMUSAF education programs cover multiple disciplines, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as social studies, literature and art.
The museum is planning to develop new exhibits with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. These include exhibits that will showcase Air Force technologies with many unique characteristics in design, propulsion, payload capacity, human factors, communication, range, speed and operating environment.
One of the unique features of the fourth building will be the creation of dedicated, interactive spaces for learning in the galleries. "Learning Nodes" will provide a unique environment for lectures and demonstrations, as well as extensions of the exhibit experience. These 60-seat "gallery classrooms" will allow museum staff to facilitate new STEM experiences, while guest scientists and engineers from Air Force organizations, the aerospace industry, and area colleges and universities will be invited to share their expertise. When the nodes are not in use for scheduled programs, multimedia presentations will captivate public audiences.
In the Space Gallery, multimedia presentations will introduce students to air and space missions and the men and women responsible for their execution. The Crew Compartment Trainer and the space program represent avenues for a multidisciplinary approach to the curriculum, principally through emphasis on STEM. These hands-on, participatory programs will allow students and teachers to explore such topics as space science, the atmosphere, speed regimes, force and motion, aerospace vehicle design, aerodynamics, propulsion, thrust, weight, lift, drag, stability and control, orbital mechanics, and thermodynamics.
Programs will meet the recommendations of the National Science Teachers Association position paper on aerospace education and the national academic content guidelines for science, mathematics, and world history.