The prop, which was Poe Dameron’s ship in the film, has a wingspan of 37 feet and is on long-term loan from Disney-owned Lucasfilm.
The museum shared an image of the starfighter in the Restoration Hangar at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, where it will be visible to the public as conservation work is done. By late next year, the X-wing will move into the main museum on the National Mall, where it will be on display outside the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
“Despite taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars introduced generations of fans here on Earth to outer space as a setting for adventure and exploration,” Margaret Weitekamp, space history chair at the museum, said in a news release. “All air and space milestones begin with inspiration, and science fiction so often provides that spark – the iconic X-wing displayed amid our other spacecraft celebrates the journey from imagination to achievement.”
The museum last featured Star Wars items and props during a 1997-1999 exhibition created by the Smithsonian called “Star Wars: The Magic of Myth,” which toured internationally after it closed in Washington. The exhibition is still available online via a very 1990s-looking website.
The museum is currently in the middle of a major multi-year, multiphase renovation project.