The spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore to take humankind’s first steps on the surface of the Moon is back on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The spacesuit was placed in storage 13 years ago after becoming too fragile to display.
Armstrong’s Apollo 11 A7L pressure garment, helmet assembly and gloves were unveiled at 13:00 UTC on July 16, just 32 minutes before the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Saturn V that carried the three-man Apollo 11 crew. The event was attended by US Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and Rick Armstrong, Neil Amstrong’s son.
“It is a honour to be here at the National Air and Space Museum to help unveil one of the most important artefacts of what President Kennedy called, correctly, ‘the most hazardous and dangerous and bravest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked,'” said Pence.
The unveiling of Armstrong’s spacesuit was the culmination of four years of work. In July 2015, the Smithsonian launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise funds to restore the spacesuit after it had been relegated to a climate-controlled collection storage area in 2006. Over 9,000 people contributed raising over $700,000 for the restoration.
The spacesuit is currently being displayed in a state-of-the-art display case next to the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Musem in Washington. It is expected to remain there until the opening of the museum’s new “Destination Moon” exhibition in 2022.