Adam Savage Visits National Air and Space Museum’s Restoration Hangar!

Adam Savage Visits National Air and Space Museum’s Restoration Hangar!

The only thing I find more inspiring
than a great museum like the Smithsonian is getting to witness behind the scenes
at a great museum like the Smithsonian. And that is where we are right now. I’m
standing at the overlook and behind me what you can see is the Mary Baker
Engen Restoration Hangar, where the Smithsonian repairs restores and
prepares for display all of its amazing artifacts. And there are some amazing
artifacts to view down here but the particular area that we are concerned
with today is way over in that corner where I can see from here a command
module which i think is from Skylab and all the other collected space stuff.
We’re gonna get a close-up view of all of that. All right, Lisa. This is your domain,
right? This is the conservation world of our restoration hangar so and I will you
give me a walkthrough of what you guys have on your desk I’d love to okay on
our desk yeah we’re down here cuz everything’s a little bit bigger than we
usually work on so this wonderful piece that Jackie’s working on is a lamb
cockpit simulators so they would have used this to train in Grumman actually
that’s all original equipment some instrumentation buttons pieces bits and
bobs they built this frame and actually had it in their in their environment
before it was donated to us so in the new display which is going to be super
cool these windows where you would have trained to look at you know yeah coming
in with the LEM and everything we’re gonna have movies put in there of the
original footage so we are not replacing any parts we’re just sort of cleaning up
what’s here looking at the different materials there are some sections which
have suffered over time yeah which we’re going to replace as a with a replica
piece but then we’ll save the originals and storage now when you when you’re
conserving code and conserving this how are you deciding what to clean and what
to leave dirty a little easier because it was on display for 45 years does have
a lot of museum dust okay I’m and we know it wasn’t in space but if there’s
where to any of the materials like this is sort of one of my favorite parts as
these disky keyboards you can kind of see the fingerprint still in yeah in
there so Jackie’s just used her knowledge and conservation science to
decide what kind of treatment she can do wet or dry surface cleaning how that
would interact with the materials we have and then what’s best to keep things
in place so this like yellow to plastic for instance over paper we’re not going
to do anything to that so you’ll see a lot of discoloration and we’re still the
velcro it’s all original we have things stuck here and there these beta cloth
bags which are amazing you know NASA labeled everything yes so it’s like
really cool because you know we’ll put foam supports in there and and try to
put them out but yeah um when does this go out when does this leave you so all
of these stuff in the conservation annex right now is scheduled for the 2022
opening of destination which is the permanent Apollo gallery
we’ll have and Neil Armstrong spacesuit and the command module will be the
centerpiece of the new gallery together for the first time and then we’ll have
all these other pieces and they’re representing Apollo that’s awesome
but uh if you don’t mind could I take some pictures of this from that yes this
this I recently got a beautiful disky replica that’s functional Oh
so you can actually program with it and this strikes me as a really good replica
I might want to tackle yeah we have pictures too so Oh fabulous
like high-res oh nice so over here on the table we have the passive passive
seismic equipment that actually we have a picture of Buzz Aldrin carrying that
famous picture of the – yeah wonky experiments on to the moon and this is
one of the test models we’ve had this on display for a while so one of our bigger
conservation challenges you’ll see on all the objects down here is like all
rehearing what people think is tinfoil so they used all these sort of materials
to keep radiation off you know for thermal exchange for heat dissipation
and we’re left now trying to really get it to lie back down the way it was to
show the crinkles in it this gold where they have gold sort of
embedded in the mylar sand aluminized pieces are the captain is what NASA
refers to as captain okay and you’ll have copper ions in there or anything
else I’m embedded in that they used it for tapes all over it’s actually inside
the spacesuits that’s how they taped all the layers together
it is mylar yeah I did not realize yeah and that’s where it pulls because you
can’t get it to move anymore so when they were wearing them and those
aluminized Mylar layers pulled there we are seeing some disintegration but later
on I LC tells me that they actually learned to crinkle it so it had more
play Wow so they came up with a crinkling method to make it work better
so you can see that here so all of these are very unique materials for
conservators and we’re not used to so we have to use our conservation science
David who’s working on this as traditionally works on trophies and
other pieces he works in calling a Williamsburg for a long time we’re lucky
he’s here but like now he’s having too space stuff so it’s always a learning
experience for all of us together yeah this I’m trying to do not like geek or
freak out about seeing the lunar rover sit and write I I know I can’t sit in it
you know that I want to sit in it but I know I know that I can’t
I’ve except I knew you watch it so this is one of the test models that they used
in New Mexico prior to training for the lunar rover flights in Apollo everything
on it’s practically authentic we have the cameras and things off now because
we’re conserving them upstairs even has a spare tire yes so this is about to go
undergo a 3d scanning project Oh which is super cool and so we pulled the other
tire that’s also going on display out so we could compare some things because we
didn’t want to take these off okay the tires are really funny because they’re
spring-loaded and they’re on some weird axle system that no one quite
understands or has access to the manuals for so they’re going to scan all the
different interview pieces so they didn’t try what goes on inside there
yeah they didn’t write exactly how you would ride in a cart mm-hmm it’s like
hydraulically driven and then we’re still trying to figure out sort of all
these pieces but this is sort of a great engineering feat that they came up with
and then you know as soon as we ask people there’s no answer really why it
worked that way so and it doesn’t have like a you know straight axle they all
operate on four different mechanisms oh so that each one is individually
controllable right and so it’s pretty cool that is really cool and these
wheels I’m right they wouldn’t support the car on earth oh no right these are
very tiny and we actually learned that this is actually piano wire oh is it
because the screen is ya know where yeah it’s a zinc coated piano wire so it’s
very light we never would display this right now it’s on a chipping crate and
we’re using it for we’re gonna build a stand for it for the new display but we
would never let them rest on yes because they were made for one-sixth gravity
right and and this apparently just popped out of the LEM so it folds up and
crushes up into a little square I’ve seen pictures of the
stuff one and it blows my mom I’m still trying to figure out how that happened
it’s pretty cool yeah just coming around we were told
these were original lawn chairs that they used in design to to work on the
lunar rover or to make it work and they’re sort of pieces like that all
over just like the model you pointed out it’s like you know what worked at the
time right what do we have that’s gonna work up there and so it’s gorgeous I
love the antenna 2ds yeah that’s um that’s really amazing and there was a
previous repair in here and Lauren has actually stitched it back and like tried
to repair it we didn’t replace any of this netting and then she stitched up
some other tears I had gotten in it overtime just because it’s so fragile
all the materials because they didn’t have to be heavy-duty up there right
right one-sixth gravity you had a lot more
latitude yeah I can’t believe that how delicate this mechanism all is very cool
I was trying to figure out why this was so big but of course this is a seat belt
for someone wearing a spacesuit right so it’s this writing pad and a seven I’ll
be was even bigger than the earlier suits yeah and the backpack right so
there’s this weird space and we were like what right support system for the
place yes yes back here is the tool carrier that came
off the back of this Oh what you might like it is super fun it’s like an
imaginary backpack for tools and it’s really beautiful like I’ve seen good
we’ve seen nothing like this and you know again all labeled every little
intricate part wrapping so NASA did not have like the little you know beautiful
labelers that we can go buy at any stationery store now so I was totally do
these I was told and I could be wrong well the fabric ones were type type Don
right yes so you know that yes spacesuits and things and I knew the
spacesuit labels are rubber stamps the name the name tags yes yes they did
rubber stamp on there and you use the typewriter but an honor is not
what they would have done with that it would have probably been a graphic
somehow oh yeah I guess I’d say it’s they’re all stuck on hmm so I don’t know
if it was like like a stencil at the time where they you know how they
can get rid of like the part around where it’s good like they scratch
through or mm-hmm but they are like metal foil yeah taped
on adhered on pieces oh this is great dust brush interim stone so we’re gonna
re install some of the tools you are display yeah that was part of our deal
and we have it off there because we’re cleaning it separate but yeah see they
would stick it down here and it would say I mean this is just this and this is
the orientation person it was this upright it would just been attached to
the back of the making some of the moon tools is something I’ve all eventually
will get to I was actually taking pictures of your brush out there I mean
anything because that’s a I love the specificity of all the little shovels
and brushes and grippers and grabbers so this is the lunar orbiter which map the
lunar surface to find the landing site and Rachel had some conservation issues
on here which were unique to us but not unique overall with space materials
because our velcro is actually showing a lot of signs of aging in here and prior
to that I had never seen really the velcro causing a problem right so Rachel
had to come up with a technique to actually consolidate the fuzzy part of
the velcro back down because it was shedding its nylon but it was as a fire
retardant in it because all the space velcro was made separately and we
correspond with the with those companies a lot you know we work with industry
just like you do so we were curious about things but the real issue came
when she wants to reattach all the blankets that cover this so there’s
blankets I would have been on this in space so the velcro actually has a
utility right yeah we can’t attach to it anymore right so she came up with a
system to attach a an inner sort of piece that’s gonna have magnets on it
and then we’re gonna embed magnets in the blanket and sort of get everything
attached together looking like it’s attached the velcro but the velcro in
her opinion and then watching her work this is not going to support anymore
attachment so and what you mean by that is that if you did try and attach it
you’d be yanking loops out I’m just making ruining it more amazing it works
and it could pull off right but it’s mostly this fuzzy part that’s just
shutting so she’s done a chemical treatment on this actually and so you
don’t see the shutting right now right and it will be sort of horizontal in the
gallery with its solar arrays out right now it’s on a stand and she we have to
raise it up and finish the treatment and so the corona camera would have like
been the right direction and all and it’s gonna be hanging near the ceiling
so we debated sort of doing a bunch of things because no one will really see it
up there right then for us we knew if we wanted to remove the blankets to monitor
it or to get a piece or even treat it again we didn’t want things yeah so the
whole goal is always just to stop what’s happening right just slow it down yeah
never quite achieving stopping by it slowing down definitely slowing down
those aging processes just like I saw when this mapped the surface did it have
a camera is there a camera on board was it I would have yeah okay yeah okay Wow well I recognize this is a command
module yes one of uh one of them and it’s Skylab which is a little different
cuz I’m used to working on Apollo yeah so this was the last one as I understand
it that they use for the program okay before they transitioned so Skylab for
same configuration as the Apollo ones but more refined because I got their
techniques down the the earlier ones especially Apollo 11 the heat shield is
just really bulky and overproduced and a lot of stuff happened on the surfaces
because they weren’t sure what was gonna happen during right so now they’ve
really refined the process this one did undergo some testing when it came back
by NASA but yeah there’s a lot of cool features on the on the command module
that people always have questions about and you guys are getting this ready for
display yes so this is gonna go out on loan to
another museum are there am I looking at places where bolts were right so all of
these equipment bays would have held the environmental equipment the fuel all of
their stuff that they could have accessed through EBA mhm
so they had these bolts originally they would have had little covers that
actually were made out of a cork material yeah which one we and they’re
still on the Apollo 11 and we could not believe that they used cork but what was
a cellulose with polyethylene beads in it when we analyzed the material and
they would plug them up and so the astronauts could pop those out easily
with a tool and then the ball would keep the equipment intact but obviously the
bolt hole covers have been removed from this and will you put them back in for
now okay so have some features going on here which people asked me about so
these are the pitch and yaw right yep nozzles which you’ll see all over this
is a an Espeon antenna oh there’s four of them on the heat
shield some got more burned than others it’s actually like a silicate glass
material which is quite fun yeah and then this is just the ablative heat
shield right but the interesting thing about here and this shows a lot of good
things that I learned and the other one so all of these little marks are pre
flight repairs so after they cured filled each of these little holes by
hand 370,000 holes with cocking guns these women filled every single one of
these little spaces they put the heat shields together these little honeycomb
yes and the pictures are amazing the archival pictures of them doing this
just they just sit around you know all day long
filled it up formed it and then put it in a curing oven for a few days
pulled it out and then they did radiology on it and they could not have
any kind of air space or air pocket or any blip in their system so they would
drill out oh so each of these are pre white I find NASA on the first command
modulator worked I thought they had done all this when it came back and all even
these square pieces I mean they’re just amazing little features these are all
repairs to get rid of any voice with it and they took wow so much time doing
this oh that’s crazy aren’t they fun and so all these pieces were made from like
original heat shield and they would just drill them back in and put them in yeah
so I often get a lot of questions about the the little circles all over they
said you that’s crazy just and so they were able
to cross-reference the x-rays that they were doing or the yep and I marked
everything fill it up free cured it and then started their
coding system which involves several poor fillers epoxy boosts cover which
you can see here this white and just you know that’s how they form the entire
heat shield so both pieces are made out of the same stuff this is just a thicker
thicker more ablative material that would have been meant to a blade off
whereas the the central heat shield was meant to stay to protect the inside cone
so when you say they were caulking everything what they’re doing also this
part and so when do we do the Orion people came because they’re building the
heat shield for that and they were wondering if they should go back to the
same system they tried a tiling system using the same materials so they could
go faster and that’s when they had all those problems in the early testing is
because they started shearing off the tiles so they may have to go back to not
individual filling but the same type of application I love them single pencil
marks right here yeah is that roll B Rock B yet yep so these are NASA
markings I’ll have to watch when we’re cleaning it I mean never know where
you’re gonna find them so these interesting things phenomenal
so this is the urine waste dump oh this specifically yes and it’s
covered in gold my favorite everybody wants to know what
the two eyeballs are when I tell them they’re like oh my god so they had these
amazing so they had a tube from this the astronauts waste dump right which was
manually triggered they have a tiny little heater right behind this in the
side the system which heated up the liquid because they didn’t want it to
freeze on contact reason that’s all right yeah yep when they waste and it’s
also the wastewater dump a urine warmer and wasn’t is there copper underneath is
that way I see a little bit of green here there was there’s like a copper
frame and then this is pure gold on top to keep it from actually freezing on
contact now what’s the reason that it’s was made so far proud of the I think
that’s really like the heating mechanism is not quite sure we have some
pictures and technical documents on this but no one really seemed to focus on it
and any of the post-flight like anything so when you’re doing your research it’s
hard because you know I have these like really intimate questions and they’re
like you know you’re scanning through 500 pages of NASA like don’t even
mention it I’m like why not so this is one of our favorite features that’s
amazing on there I’m curious about the silver here
so that’s Kapton tape is okay and they use that to keep more radiation off of
it more thermal properties so that would have been underneath what you see on
this boost cover so this is actually a good picture of sort of the process of
how they did the heat shield which is interesting to me because it’s I don’t
know if they were testing right here I need to look at it a little more but
like you wouldn’t have had all these different surfaces it would have just
been one surface covered monolithic tape on you know the NASA didn’t peel that
off they peeled it off the other one so that’s what they are brown oh it’s when
it came back how come my I guess I I’m just curious why I see so many more void
repairs here than up here but now I’m looking at I’m sorry this is also
thicker okay yeah and you’ll see them if this yeah when I clean it actually I’ll
remember to send you a picture it looks amazingly different when I use my
cleaning technique to clean all this I mean you’ll start to see a lot of stuff
pop out that’s so oh yeah you can kind of see I’m here yeah yeah are they
drilled out like little worms – it must have been just weeks and weeks and weeks
and weeks of oh my I can’t imagine and this is some silver epoxy paint that
they used to seal some of them we we analyzed that because we couldn’t figure
out why some of them had this sort of no when you analyze that do you send it to
like a mass spectrometer we have XRF here what’s that um x-ray fluorescence
oh it’s portable so I just shoot my gun at things it looks like the Star Trek
phaser no you know like somebody who invented it the portable one in the
conservation field came up with this tool yeah I have not sent any samples
out I’ve done everything in-house okay oh wow
we have FTIR upstairs too which is Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
also portable because we have big stuff so we buy all portable equipment right
it’s hard for us to take samples off things and feel good
about that I’d imagine so we often know that there could probably do a little
bit more analysis I’m still working on analyzing the interior paint coatings of
the command modules because we had some flaking right and they added a fire
retardant to it so it’s it’s basically a paint with no binder it’s all glass
balloons rods if you look at under the microscope it’s a completely glass with
a quartz pigment which makes it look green and so it’s not staying on the
walls as much now we’re not having a huge problem but we’re trying to
anticipate so we’ve done some research on that outside of house does this one
have a like the full instrument panel I’m waiting next week I get to start
doing my documentation so is it sometimes hard you chomp at the bit to
get to get started to get your hands on I’m kind of excited because you know
we’ve been working on Spade seat for a while now and I kind of want to do a big
like a big cleaning you know kind of get in there but yeah every one everything
tells a different story so I always get you know excited to start a new project
I imagine

100 thoughts on “Adam Savage Visits National Air and Space Museum’s Restoration Hangar!

  1. To watch other videos from Adam's visit to DC and Smithsonian, check out our playlist. We had SUCH an amazing time:

  2. For anyone wanting a good look at the engineering and build story of Apollo and the Saturn S2, check out Mike Gray's 1992 book Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon. Excellent writing and some good engineering details of the challenges of constructing the world's first trans lunar spacecraft.

  3. The rush of panic in her voice and body language when adam would surge foward to look closely at something mere inches away is hilarious hes like a kid on a sweet shop.

  4. Call Joe Romanno and Farence Pavelicks, they designed the thing and are still alive. They should be able to answer any questions.

  5. Apologies if this has been already asked. Does anyone know what the 2 aircraft in the background at 0:13 seconds are? I thought the German one might be a Junkers 88, but the canopy doesn't look right. Is the wooden 2 seater maybe a Jenny? I have a hard time recognizing incomplete aircraft.

  6. If you like this, check out the "Behind the Scenes Tour" at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton. They do it twice each month on Friday afternoons. Reservations recommended. Check their web page for more details.

  7. Who’s dumbass idea was it to bring a dune buggy up to the moon anyway? “Hey, after blasting off and traveling a quarter of a million miles, lets bring a dune buggy and go another mile or 2!! (Stolen from Seinfeld!). 😉

  8. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest lies ever told to the world, and the unfortunate people who aren't free-thinking enough to realize they've been lied too…..

  9. Yep they got money and space to preserve the Lem training vehicles. But all of the original footage Telemetry data the list goes on and on over blueprints schematics on the rocket engines and that's just the tip of the iceberg that was too much of a bother to keep any of that hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars.. it's sad so sad only because it's true..

  10. Great stuff. Passion at work. I hope most of the people working there are conscious of their privileged position and how any science freak can envy them. The urine evacuation was really unexpected, I fully agree saying that it deserves a documentation! Thanks for the upload from France.

  11. I'm trying not to geek over the items too. My cousin's husband works for NASA and has worked on the Mars rover and such so he probably knows about the building of the rover and space items much better than I do.

  12. I just love Adam's excitement and,well, boyhood wonder, which I absolutely don't mean in a bad way, when he see's these type of things. I just think it is so cute and endearing, and TBH, why I watch things with Adam in it*.
    I always look forward to these types of video's, and I thank you for posting them.

    * Which is why I was so saddened (IDK if that's the right word), maybe 'disappointed' is a better word, when I heard mythbusters was not 2B renewed for more episodes, but even moreso to find out that Adam and Jamie weren't best friends….not even friends in any definition of the word, and didn't hang out ect. With his excitement over things, and Jamie's analytical side, it seemed like they both complimented each others personality so well. But, I could see where Jamie might be, well…difficult..? Stand-offish..? It's a shame, because I think BOTH are missing out.

  13. Totally hate it when people begin every sentence with the word "SO or AND , for gods sake stop beginning sentences with conjunctions I think it makes people seem less intelligent when they do this.

  14. THIS IS REALLY COOL !… Thank You Adam for posting this, I'll never be able to make it to Washington so this is AWESOME………….. just AWESOME.

  15. There is no technology on this earth that could keep that capsule from wildly tumbling upon supersonic reentry.
    Never was – never will be.
    NASA fail.

  16. Possible source of info on the labels on Grumman lunar gear: the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Nassau County NY has two LMs, LTA-1 and LM-13 on display. Volunteers who worked at Grumman on the lunar mission equipment and other aerospace equipment are usually available to answer questions. You can get really close to the LTA-1, and see all of the rivets wires etc. because the outer shell was never installed. The labels might have been produced using a flexographic process in-house at Grumman since they produced similar labels for aircraft like the Wildcat and  Hellcat. I believe the LM simulator in the video was houses (on loan) at the Cradle of aviation for many years.

  17. Those labels are an ink layer over an aluminium sheet, ancient tech, loads of British ww2 gear had those types of labels.
    So yes, they had leveling machines.
    Probably a bit bigger that a dymo.

  18. I know you are above reproach, but you know and I know, the whole thing is a fraud – ya, that Apollo thing. The bs is just piled higher and deeper. The extent of the lies are profound. Read William Guy Carr's book, Satan Prince of This World.

  19. The lunar buggy segment to funny, no one really knows how it works, because it doesn't. It was all done under the pretense of operating in a quasi virtual world. A world where fraud is the order of the day.

  20. another great restoration center is the Hutchinson KS Cosmosphere they have a SR71 angled down to the floor in the lobby . As a member i was able to see many pieces of space equipment that were being restored including the Apollo 13 capsule. They also have the "smallest " imax theater only a out 80 seats. So for great times in the central USA check out Hutchinson Cosmosphere

  21. Now I know why they still haven’t restored all the remaining German WWII aircraft in storage. It may be over 100 years since WWII before they are done. ☹️

  22. The most monumental achievement that Humans have done, in the 20th century, and they don't have saved manuels, blueprints, specs, and to top it off, the original Moon recording were re-recorded over. I truly believe that we wen to the Moon, but what in World would allow such debokery when it came to preserving and saving stuff from the multiple missions?

  23. Dear Adam, nobody ever went to the moon. The stuff they're calling "training" material is most likely the actual items you saw "in space". I love watching NASA employees who still think it happened. They totally miss all the obvious clues and this woman is no exception. "The manuals are missing". Of course they are lady, do you really think they'd leave any evidence to be scrutinized? Why do you think all the telemetry data and original footage is destroyed or "taped over" too?

  24. The antenna and mesh is just like they used on weather balloons as radar reflectors to help
    track the balloons at high altitudes in the jet steam.

  25. Don’t they have the original elements (LEM, Rover, …) from Apollo 18, that never flew to the moon? I’ve seen it on display in 1988 at Kennedy Space Center. They probably still have it there

  26. What i don’t like in those type of museums is that non of the planes will fly again and its sad. Like there is a super constellation thats beautiful and it sill be so nice if it flew the same for the B-29 and for the craziest; Concorde. It will be so nice

  27. Nice! Got a chance to spend time at the Smithsonian version of this. These folks do amazing work. People don’t realize how much work goes into these restorations.

  28. After he gets high res photos, how long till Adam builds functional replicas and starts repeating the Apolo missions on the weekends?*

  29. The less bulky heatshield on Skylab CM could probably be a result of a slower reentry speed from Earth orbit than from translunar trajectory.

  30. One of the great thrills of my life was looking down at those aircraft being restored and realizing I was standing above Flak Bait, an aircraft I had read about and seen pictures of since I was a small boy. One of MANY unexpected joys during my visit there. I will return some day.

  31. Love the lawn chair bit.. Its used on the moon, it only needs a seat.. Not some multi million dollar seat that ends up looking the same but out of some stupid metal that wasnt required

  32. what a crock! yea they went to the moon like I went to the moon! they can't do it now and they sure could not have done it in 1969! if they could go now don't you think they would? just think of all the great things they might learn if they do! if they say they are going back there is to much technology now that can actually track them. no, absolutely no way they went! lie, lie lie!

  33. I love the Smithsonian museums! I'd want to go back, but some some things need to change in DC before I return. Namely the white house occupant.

  34. Just a pity it was all fake and no one went to the moon otherwise why have we not got a base on it now 40 years later with all this great new technology we have but now we can only get as far as the space station ????

  35. That giant Quonset hut is my favorite place on earth, it houses the one single artifact that influenced my entire career path.

  36. For anyone who wants to see the process of filling in that heat shield, I was able to track down an article on with a bunch of cool pictures and some more details about the handmade nature of all of the Apollo missions:

    The women caulking the heat shield:

    Holy. Crap.

  37. 15:19 one of the few moments when Adam is really overwhelmed by what he loves 😉 'WHAT?' and then gets distracted a boy in a candystore

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