Author Archives: launiusr

Willa Brown: Out from the Shadows of Aeronautical History


Willa Bernice Brown was an aviation pioneer and flight instructor, but she is unknown to almost all, even those knowledgeable about the history of flight. Born in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 1907, her parents gave her more opportunities than most other African Americans … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Empire of Conspiracy”


Empire of Conspiracy: The Culture of Paranoia in Postwar America. By Timothy Melley. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000. Americans, certainly, and perhaps all the cultures of the world, love the idea of conspiracy as an explanation of how and why … Continue reading

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The Great NACA Fact-Finding Trip to Germany in 1936, and its Results


Last week I presented a discussion of the political process whereby two additional NACA laboratories were created. Here is the pre-history of that set of decisions. In the first part of 1936 John J. Ide, the NACA’s European representative since 1921, … Continue reading

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Something Fun for a Friday: Bing Crosby and David Bowie Sing a Christmas Duet


I first watched Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing this combination of “Little Drummer Boy” and “Peace on Earth” on a Christmas special in the late 1970s. I was in graduate school at the time and balancing a job, school, … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Why Mars”


Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration. By W. Henry Lambright. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Preface, introduction, conclusion, notes, index. Hardcover. Pp. ix – 320. USD $45.46. ISBN: 978-1-4214-1279-5. W. Henry Lambright’s Why Mars: NASA and the … Continue reading

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The NACA and New Research Laboratories in World War II


As the United States moved into the World War II era its military forces called upon the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as never before to provide the aeronautical technology necessary to win the war. It was not easy … Continue reading

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Something Fun for a Friday: 2014 USAF Flash Mob at NASM’s Udvar-Hazy Center


On December 2, 2014, at the National Air and Space Museum’s Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport the USAF Band showed up to stage another flash mob. It’s a great holiday treat. Enjoy!

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight”


Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight. By Jay Barbree. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 2014. Introduction by John Glenn. Illustrations. 517 pages. ISBN: 978-1250040718. $19.68 USD. Hardcover with dustjacket. Whatever else Jay Barbree’s Neil Armstrong: A Life of … Continue reading

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A Short History of Reentry and Recovery from Space in Less than 1,000 Words


The atmosphere surrounding the Earth and supporting life here makes spaceflight harder than it would be if it did not exist. It is said, only half-jokingly, that getting to orbit is like getting “halfway to anywhere” because of the energy … Continue reading

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Announcing Space Policy and History Forum #14: Commercial Spaceflight After the Antares and SpaceShipTwo Failures


Announcement  Commercial Spaceflight After the Antares and SpaceShipTwo Failures Space Policy and History Forum #1406 Monday, December 8, 2014 by Jeff Foust, Space News The commercial space industry suffered two major accidents in less than a week in late October: the … Continue reading

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