Ad Astra
Needle at Air and Space Mus. at D.C.jpg
ArtistRichard Lippold
Year1976 (1976)
TypeGold-colored polished stainless steel
Dimensions35 m (115 ft)
LocationNational Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°53′18.99″N 77°1′11.45″W / 38.8886083°N 77.0198472°W / 38.8886083; -77.0198472
OwnerSmithsonian Institution

Ad Astra is a public artwork by American artist Richard Lippold. The abstract sculpture is located outside on the Jefferson Drive entrance of and in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.[1][2][3] The sculpture's title is Latin, meaning "To the Stars".[2]


This abstract statue is made of gold-colored polished stainless steel. Standing at 100 feet tall, the piece consists of a "...three-planed narrow shaft ending in a pointed tip, penetrates a triple star-like cluster near its apex".[4][5]


Lippold believed that "the characteristic art of our time deals with the conquest of space", with Ad Astra symbolizing just that.[6][7] In 2009 the sculpture made an appearance in the film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Ad Astra sculpture". 2009-04-19. Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  2. ^ a b ""Ad Astra" by Richard Lippold". Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  3. ^ "Outdoor Sculptures: Air and Space Museum". Smithsonian Institution. 6 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  4. ^ National Air & Space Museum (1976). "Ad Astra (sculpture)". Inventory of American Painting and Sculpture. Smithsonian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Lippard, Richard", The Oxford dictionary of American art and artists, Ann Lee Morgan
  6. ^ Neufeld, Michael; Alex Spencer; John Dailey; John Glenn (October 2010). Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography. National Geographic. ISBN 1-4262-0653-4.
  7. ^ "Ad Astra". No. 20 June 1976. Star-Gazette. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Richard Lippold". IMDb. Retrieved 22 April 2011.

Further reading