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NASA Airborne Mission to Solar Eclipse Based at Museum of Flight on Aug. 20-21

Media opportunities with NASA Science Mission Directorate’s Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen with NASA Aircraft at the Museum

SEATTLE – On Aug. 21, the Museum and NASA partner for a free event watching the first total solar eclipse over the entire US in 99 years. The agency’s Gulfstream III science aircraft will be based at the Museum Aug. 20-21 for its airborne science mission of the Aug. 21 eclipse. While the plane is making observations high over Oregon during the 10:12 a.m. eclipse, NASA officials and Museum educators will guide the public through the free solar event from the Museum lawn 9:30-10:30 a.m. The first 1000 visitors to the Museum will receive ISO-certified safe, NASA-branded glasses for watching the eclipse. Live coverage of NASA’s Eclipse MegaCast live coverage of the eclipse will be shown in the Museum’s theater 9-10:45 a.m. (free with admission to the Museum).


The first, and most-lengthy media opportunities will be Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m., about two hours after the NASA Gulfstream III Science Aircraft arrives at the Museum. NASA Science Mission Directorate’s Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen will be available for interviews and brief tours of the plane with media.

The aircraft will be outfitted to conduct high-altitude observations of the total solar eclipse over Oregon, as part of the Agency’s comprehensive study of the event from land, air and space. Dr. Zurbuchen will be onboard the plane during the mIssion.

Monday, Aug. 21,
5-7:30 a.m.
Media are welcome back to the plane early the next morning, before it leaves on its 4-hour mission to the eclipse at 7:30 a.m. The plane will not be open to the media, nor will interviews be permitted other than parting comments.
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
During eclipse coverage, Randy Albertson, the NASA Armstrong project manager for airborne science at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California will be available at the Museum to answer questions from the public and media about the airborne science aircraft being used to capture the eclipse.
12:30-3 p.m.
After landing from eclipse coverage, the site will be open for media stand-ups and interviews with Dr. Zurbuchen, pilots, and ground-based NASA and Museum officials. The Gulfstream will depart at 4:30 p.m. for its home base of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Notes on Safe Eclipse Glasses
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as both “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers that are certified to meet safety standards ISO 12312-2. Four companies have those standards: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

For Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit