Author Archives: launiusr

Spaceflight and the Preservation of the Physical Past


Cultural relics from Apollo, as well as other wreckage, soft landers, and rovers currently exist on the Moon, undisturbed since their arrival. That does not mean that no one will do so in the future. With the Google Lunar X … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “A Short History of Naval and Marine Engineering”


A Short History of Naval and Marine Engineering. By Edgar C. Smith. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1938, paperback 2013. This is quite an old book; it was published originally in 1938 and generally unavailable until this paperback reprint in … Continue reading

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Announcing a Special Issue of “Astropolitics” on the Power of Analogies for Advancing Space Scientific Knowledge


I have just edited a special issue of Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy 12:2-3 (2014) has just appeared. It is available on-line here. I must mention that a subscription to the journal is required, or access through a subscribing institution, to … Continue reading

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Considering the Moon


What is it about the Moon that captures the fancy of humankind? A silvery disk hanging in the night sky, it conjures up images of romance and magic. It has been counted upon to foreshadow important events, both of good … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California”


Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California. Western Histories. Edited by Peter J. Westwick. Foreword by William Deverell. (Berkeley: University of California Press; San Marino: Huntington Library, 2012. xii + 308 pp. Illustrations, table, notes, bibliography, index. $44.95, … Continue reading

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A Brief Account of the Origins of Rocketry in Less than 1,000 Words


Although it is unclear who first invented rockets, many investigators link the first crude rockets with the discovery of gunpowder. The Chinese, moreover, had been using gunpowder for some 1,800 years. The first firecrackers seemed to have appeared about the … Continue reading

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Visions of Venus at the Dawn of the Space Age


As Earth’s “sister planet,” many have long speculated about the nature of Venus and the possibility of life existing there in some form. Through much of the nineteenth century observers harbored hopes that Venus might be a place  teeming with life. … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Beyond the God Particle”


Beyond the God Particle. By Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2013. Acknowledgments, appendix, notes, index. Pp. 9 – 325. ISBN: 978-1-61614-801-0. Hardcover with dustjacket, $24.95 USD. It was hard to miss the story about finding the … Continue reading

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The NACA and the National Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan


During World War II it became obvious that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) required new tools to pursue a high-speed/high altitude research program. The National Unitary Wind Tunnel Act of 1949 addressed these needs, providing NACA funds to … Continue reading

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My Favorite Funny Horror Movies


In honor of Halloween I thought I would offer a post on my favorite horror movies. There’s only one problem, I don’t really like horror movies and I would be hard pressed to come up with a set of horror movies … Continue reading

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