SpaceX Rocket Engine Lands in Smithsonian
A SpaceX rocket engine and grid fin have been donated by the company to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The Merlin engine was used in the launch of Beresheet, an Israeli company’s attempt at landing on the moon. In addition, it was also flown on the first stages of two Falcon 9 rockets in 2018. The grid fin, which is used to orient the rocket during reentry, helped deliver SpaceX its 19th recovered first stage and 15th in a row. These artifacts will be displayed in an upcoming exhibition at the museum that will explore the future of spaceflight.
SpaceX’s Merlin engines are designed for recovery and reuse, using a rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen as propellants. The donated engine and grid fin will join other artifacts from spaceflight companies in the museum’s collection. The National Air and Space Museum is currently undergoing a renovation, which is expected to be completed in 2026. The museum recently opened several new galleries, including “Destination Moon,” which chronicles the journey to the moon. The SpaceX artifacts will be displayed in the museum’s east wing when it reopens.
SpaceX has made donations to other institutions as well, including Space Center Houston in Texas and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The company has also placed a Falcon stage outside its headquarters in California and has Dragon capsules on display at Kennedy and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
– National Air and Space Museum: [source]
– CollectSPACE: [source]