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Dec. 18 Lecture Commemorates Last Manned Mission to Moon

On Dec. 18, Dave Gianakos and Steve Brower will commemorate the 38th anniversary of Apollo 17 with a discussion of the significance of the Apollo 17 mission, and particularly the lunar module flown to and from the surface of the moon. Apollo 17 (Dec. 7-19, 1972) was the last manned mission to the moon. The program is at 2 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater, and is free with admission to the Museum.

Gianakos is a master model maker who crafted highly-detailed, 1/6-scale models of the Apollo 17 lunar rover vehicle and lunar module Challenger that will be on exhibit at the Museum beginning Dec. 18. Brower designed and built the Museum’s full-scale replica of the Apollo 17 lunar module. Gianakos and Brower will also talk about how they created their museum-quality models.

Apollo 17
“Landing a man on the moon” is still one of the highest benchmarks for technological achievements. The most recent time it was accomplished was before the end of the Vietnam War, with astronauts who were born during the Great Depression. Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt were the last people to set foot on the moon. They explored the lunar surface for three days, sometimes driving a Boeing-made lunar rover that allowed them to travel a distance about equal to a roundtrip from the Space Needle to The Museum of Flight.

The Apollo 17 Scale Model Exhibit
The new exhibit opening Dec. 18 features models of the lunar module Challenger, the lunar rover, and astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt. It was built by modeler Dave Gianakos. His idea of building a unique 1/6 scale lunar module model was conceived in 1987, and research was conducted in libraries around the country and in facilities such as the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Over 2,500 hours have gone into the building of these models. The interior of the crew cabin is completely detailed with scale lights, switches, and controls. Even the gold kapton blankets on the descent stage are authentic materials identical to those used on the spacecraft that landed on the moon. Small details like the fender repair on the lunar rover are faithfully replicated–the fender was accidentally broken off on the actual mission.

Image: Apollo 17 astronaut and lunar rover on moon. NASA photo.

The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® — the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Airpark includes outdoor displays with the first jet Air Force One, a Concorde airliner, and the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The Museum aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. The Education Office offers weekend family programs, programs for students and educators, and overnight camps for children. McCormick & Schmick’s Wings Café is on site.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $8 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit

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