Space at the Intrepid Museum
The USS Intrepid was spacious after a tour of the Growler. However with a crew of up to 3448, it was more like an overcrowded airport in it’s working day and one also designed to use space well. The bridge towered above the flight deck and housed navigation and flight control. The carrier housed and serviced aircraft in the hanger below the flight deck. Bunks, cabins, the kitchen and mess, and recreational areas were found below, along with the combat ready room and information center. We met retired Navy sailors on the day of our visit who regaled us with stories about their military life at sea on the aircraft carrier. They didn’t seem to mind the close quarters.Perhaps, because they might remember two exciting recovery missions of the USS Intrepid when the ship traveled to pick up vessels whose travels went beyond anything known at that time. On May 24, 1962 the carrier helped retrieve astronaut Scott Carpenter and his Mercury capsule and a few years later on March 23, 1964, the Intrepid recovered the Gemini capsule nicknamed Molly Brown with astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom. An exhibit of the Gemini capsule sits in the Intrepid Museum waiting for you to sit inside of it. Then, you really can begin to ask yourself how much room to you need! The astronauts were constrained in their seats during their mission with no bunks and certainly no room for a bathroom.
How much room you need depends on what you are doing and what the design engineer is willing to give you. The funny thing is that today, you might not get any room at all! Aeronautical engineers have designed drones – aircraft without a pilot on board that are flown from remote locations – just like the original Mercury capsules which were unmanned and flown from Houston. A recent video shows the Naval test of the drone launch and landing on one of their active aircraft carriers. The drone still uses a tail hook to slow down on the short aircraft carrier runway. Next time you are in New York, head over to the Intrepid and see just how much space they have for their amazing museum.
Visiting the Intrepid Museum
It is easy to walk to the Intrepid Museum (http://www.intrepidmuseum.org) from Times Square in New York City and it is an easier taxi ride. Arrive early in the day and plan to stay for more than a few hours. Lines can get long on the tour of the submarine. The flight deck holds an array of fighter aircraft and is also home to the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The carrier has a wonderful museum displayed in the hanger dedicated to Sea, Air and Space. Finally, wander through the bridge and below deck to see what life might be like on an aircraft carrier.For Teachers, Educators, Parents and anyone interested in fun science demos:The Intrepid Museum has a good educational packet on aircraft carrier take-off science. Best if you can take your class there, but if you live outside New York, there is still great information and demonstrations to use in your classroom!