Category Archives: History

Is There a Sacred Santa?


With the holiday season upon us—I am putting up Christmas lights, a tree, etc., this weekend—it is appropriate to reconsider this annual ritual and why we do it. Before the twentieth century Christmas was a significant holiday on the Christian … Continue reading

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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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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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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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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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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Looking South”


Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor from Reconstruction to Globalization. By Mary E. Frederickson. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011. Historian Mary E. Frederickson presents in Looking South not so much a coherent analysis of labor, race, … Continue reading

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Early Efforts to Preserve Apollo Landing Sites


Preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites is of paramount importance into the future. Nothing has been done to accomplish this as yet. Moreover, the six Apollo landing sites on Moon pose an interesting, but thus far academic, problem for … Continue reading

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