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Apollo 11 module will visit Pittsburgh next year — after a makeover

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Smithsonian
The Apollo 11 module
ptrapollo11062717
Smithsonian
The crew of Apollo 11 -- Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Before the Apollo 11 command module embarks on a cross-country tour of four museums — including the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District — it’s getting a makeover for the first time since it arrived in 1976 at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, NPR reported Monday .

The module, known as Columbia, is the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft that returned safely to Earth, carrying home astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their historic mission to land a person on the moon in July 1969.

The module will be at the Heinz History Center Sept. 29, 2018, to Feb. 18, 2019, as part of the traveling exhibition “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” according to the Smithsonian.

NPR reported that the capsule, on display behind a Plexiglas case, is showing its age.

Adhesives that attached Velcro to the interior walls of the capsule are losing their grip; its mint green paint is flaking; and dust and salt are clinging to the module’s heat shield.

“It never really went under a full examination or investigative analysis as to all of the certain materials on there, how stable they are,” conservator Lisa Young, who is working on the spacecraft in a hangar at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., told NPR.

“Our big job as conservators right now is to figure out, if we are going to put it back on display permanently, what could be happening to it in 50 years.”

Read more about the restoration effort and the national tour, which was announced in February .

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