The spacesuit NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong wore to take mankind’s first steps on the surface of the moon is set to be displayed for public viewing for the first time in 13 years. The spacesuit will be part a commemorative exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the Apollo 11 lunar lander, climbed down the ladder and became the first man to set foot on the surface of the Moon. On his return to Earth, the spacesuit that Armstrong wore, designated A-7L was placed in storage before being given to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Musem in 1971.
The spacesuit was displayed in museums in all 50 states over the next 40 years. However, by 2006 it had become too fragile to display and it removed from public viewing and placed in a climate-controlled collection storage area.
In July 2015, the Smithsonian launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds in order to pay for the restoration of the spacesuit. Over $700,000 was raised in just 30 days and plans for its restoration began in earnest.
Following several years of painstaking work, Armstrong’s spacesuit is set to go back on display this summer in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. The spacesuit will be displayed temporarily in a state-of-the-art display case right next to the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Musem. It will later be moved to the museum’s new “Destination Moon” exhibition which is expected to be completed by 2022.