Category Archives: Space

Robert Gilruth and the NACA’s Entry into Space Technology


During the latter part of World War II leaders of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, had become interested in the possibilities of high-speed guided missiles and the future of spaceflight. It created at the … Continue reading

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One for the Record Books: The Stardust Sample Return Mission


This is one of the most interesting, but little known, missions NASA has ever undertaken. Stardust was the first U.S. space mission dedicated solely to returning extraterrestrial material from beyond the Moon. I am pleased to have played a role in … Continue reading

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Some Thoughts on Walter Cronkite and the Space Program


Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was the longtime anchor of the CBS evening news between  1962 and 1981. A dedicated journalist, he became a voice of trust for many Americans in the 1960s, providing news summaries and commentary on the most critical … Continue reading

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Announcing: Space Policy and History Forum #13, September 22, 2014


If you are in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of September 22, 2014, please consider attending the next Space Policy and History Forum, #13 in the series, at the National Air and space Museum. Information on the forum is below. After … Continue reading

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The Railroad and the Space Program Revisited: Historical Analogues and the Stimulation of Commercial Space Operations


I am planning to give the paper, “The Railroad and the Space Program Revisited: Historical Analogues and the Stimulation of Commercial Space Operations,” at an upcoming conference entitled “Spinoffs of Mobility: Technology, Risk & Innovation.” This is the theme for … Continue reading

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Announcing the Publication of “Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It”


David H. DeVorkin and I have just published a collected work on the history of the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It appeared in August 2014 (ISBN 978-1-935623-32-8) as part … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Astronauts Wives Club”


The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story. By Lily Koppel. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013. Illustrations (some color), author’s note, acknowledgments, 272 pages, hardcover with dustjacket. $28 USD. On one level Lily Koppel’s new book is a breezy, entertaining … Continue reading

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Curiosity’s Remarkable Findings after Two Years


Since the 1960s humans have been engaged on a concerted effort to understand Mars. The landing of Mars Curiosity on the surface in the early hours of August 6, 2012, is the latest effort to learn about one of our … Continue reading

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Apollo 11 and the World’s Reaction


When the Apollo 11 spacecraft lifted off on July 16, 1969, for the Moon, it signaled a climactic instance in human history. Reaching the Moon on July 20, it’s Lunar Module—with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard—landed on … Continue reading

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The Cold War Origins of Space Access


It is almost a truism that the primary U.S. space launch capabilities were created only because of the challenge of an exceptionally desperate Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the development and deployment of ballistic missiles, space-based intelligence-gathering … Continue reading

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