Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Stardust Capsule to Go on Public Display

September 29, 2008

The U.S. space agency’s Stardust space capsule is to go on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The capsule will join the collection of flight icons in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The capsule will go on display Oct. 1 — the 50th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration — in the museum’s Milestones of Flight Gallery.

“Stardust, comprising a spacecraft and capsule, completed a seven-year, 3 billion-mile journey in 2006,” NASA said. “A tennis racket-like, aerogel-lined collector was extended to capture particles as the spacecraft flew within 150 miles of comet Wild 2 in January 2004. Carrying the collected particles, the capsule returned to Earth Jan. 15, 2006, landing in Utah.”

“Very few people get to build something, launch it into space, see it be successful and then get it back in their hands,” said Karen McNamara of NASA. “To be able to share this with the public is phenomenal.”

The capsule joins the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 command module Columbia that carried the first men to walk on the moon.