My family visited DC this weekend and we went out to Udvar-Hazy, the extension of the Smithsonian aerospace museum out near Dulles international airport. My dad took this picture.
That is one of the two radar antennas (and the telescoping arm) used to scan the earth as part of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The SRTM is basically the first really good quality most-of-the-earth elevation dataset, and it is the main (but not only) source of elevation data for the X-Plane global scenery.
The telescoping mast shown in the picture (horizontal) extends one of the two radar antennas away from the shuttle when in orbit; had they not been able to retract the antenna they would have had to detach it and leave it in space. Fortunately the mechanism worked properly, so they were able to bring the antenna back for posterity.