Tag Archives: transportation

Historical Analogies and the Commercial Development of Space


I recently completed a study on historical analogies and the commercial development of space. This study explored several historical episodes in U.S. history where the federal government undertook public/private efforts to complete critical activities valued for their public good. This largely … Continue reading

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Proposed Syllabus for “Spaceflight and Society” Course, Fall 2013


I am the instructor for a course at Johns Hopkins University in the Fall 2013 semester with the title, “Spaceflight and Society.” I taught this class in the fall of 2011 as well and had a great time doing it, … Continue reading

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Is Space Tourism Soon to Become a Reality?


With the successful test flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2) at the end of April, 2013, we are one step closer to commercial space tourism. This is not orbital tourism, of course, but the ability to fly above 100 km … Continue reading

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Interpreting the Decision to Build the Space Shuttle


Wernher von Braun once supposedly told his colleagues: “We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.” Whether true or not the statement reflects what has been viewed for the last forty years as one of the traditional difficulties … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight”


Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight. By Chris Dubbs and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011. Hardcover with dustjacket.  344 pp. Illustrations, notes, index. ISBN 978-0-8032-1610-5. US $34.95. Should spaceflight in the United States be dominated by … Continue reading

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Venturing to the Outer Solar System: Pioneer 10 and 11 and the Technology of Long Duration Space Exploration


As the first attempt to send robotic probes to any part of the outer solar system, in 1964 NASA scientists first conceived of what became Pioneer 10 and 11, missions that undertook a “windshield tour” of Jupiter and Saturn as … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Race: The Complete True Story of How America Beat Russia to the Moon”


The Race: The Complete True Story of How America Beat Russia to the Moon. By James Schefter. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1999. Anchor Reprint, 2000. It is becoming increasingly obvious with every passing year that the Apollo program … Continue reading

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Remembering the Challenger Seven: 27 Years On


Since the loss of STS-51L took place on this date in 1986 I thought I would reflect on the lives of the crew that was lost in that tragedy. These seven astronauts—including the specialties of pilot, aerospace engineers, and scientists—died … Continue reading

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New Study Available: “Toward a History of the Space Shuttle: An Annotated Bibliography Part 2, 1992–2011″


Twenty years ago I compiled with Aaron Gillette an annotated bibliography of the Space Shuttle program entitled Toward a History of the Space Shuttle. We intended it as a starting point for serious historical investigation into the program’s history. At … Continue reading

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NASA’s Space Shuttle and the Department of Defense


During the 1970s, the Space Shuttle became the “sine qua non” of NASA, intended as it was to make spaceflight routine, safe, and relatively inexpensive. Although NASA wanted the shuttle for its purposes, the Department of Defense (DOD) agreed to … Continue reading

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