Author Archives: launiusr

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Bound for Santa Fe”


Bound for Santa Fe: The Road to New Mexico and the American Conquest, 1806-1848. By Stephen G. Hyslop. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002. Xiii + 514 pp. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $34.95.) Once in a while a book attains … Continue reading

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A Clash of Engineering Cultures? NASA Engineers, R and D Culture, and the Space Shuttle as an Operational System


One of the more interesting conferences being organized is set to take place on April 8, 2016, at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. It is called “The Maintainers” and it focuses on what is the norm for engineering … Continue reading

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Immediate Outcomes from the Columbia Accident in 2003


The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003, signaled the beginning of an important policy debate about the future of human spaceflight. NASA grounded the shuttle fleet, appropriately so, at the time of the accident, but wanted to return … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Print The Legend”


Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford. By Scott Eyman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. With Print the Legend I have now read five different biographies of John Ford, the auteur director best known for his … Continue reading

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What Happened to the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003?


NASA personnel and leaders had a celebration planned on February 1, 2003, for the return of Columbia and its crew after the successful completion of STS-107. STS-107 had been launched from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on January … Continue reading

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Recalling the Challenger Accident Thirty Years Ago


Thirty years ago on January 28, 1986, NASA and the nation suffered loss of the space shuttle Challenger during launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Many Americans had been excited about this mission, even more than those that had gone before, … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Antarctic Destinies”


Antarctic Destinies: Scott, Shackleton, and the Changing Face of Heroism. By Stephanie Barczewski. London, UK: Hambledon Continuum, 2007. I have been interested in Antarctic exploration for many years and have read a broad range of books. Antarctic Destinies is focused … Continue reading

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The Great Air Mail Fiasco of 1934 in the American West


With the recent blizzard in the mid-Atlantic, I thought it appropriate to discuss an earlier event in aviation history in which bad weather played a key role. One of the most significant events affecting aviation in the American West occurred … Continue reading

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Redirect: “The Psychology of David Bowie’s Major Tom”


I was both delighted and enlightened by reading the paper of Raj Persaud, M.D. and Peter Bruggen, M.D., “The Psychology of David Bowie’s Major Tom.” It appears in Physics Today, and appears here. It asks the central question, “Is space … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Mosquito Crusades”


The Mosquito Crusades: A History of the American Anti-Mosquito Movement from the Reed Commission to the First Earth Day. By Gordon Patterson. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009. Today Florida is viewed as a semi-tropical paradise, one in which … Continue reading

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