Category Archives: History

Beginning the Age of Satellite Communication: Echo 1, August 1960


I just spoke with a journalist about the Echo 1 communications satellite test that took place in August 1960. It’s interesting that this month marks the fifty-fifth anniversary of the world’s first communication satellite, but it is an anniversary that … Continue reading

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Boarding the Spaceplane?


I posted this originally to the blog, “Above and Beyond,” on June 15, 2015. I thought I would reprint here. During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, senior government officials began to discuss the possibility of developing an “Orient Express,” … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Matty—An American Hero”


Matty—An American Hero: Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants. By Ray Robinson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Ray Robinson is a sports journalist and editor, and this book is very much in the genre of many other conventional … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Great Warming”


The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. By Brian Fagan. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2008. Is there anyone who is not familiar with the concept of global warming? Or, if one wants to use a less … Continue reading

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Recalling the Voyages of the Space Shuttle Endeavour


The quest for a reusable spaceplane extends far back into the 1920s, but it only found realization with the inaugural flights of the Space Shuttle in the early 1980s. NASA initially built four spaceworthy orbiters—Columbia (OV-102), Challenger (OV‑099), Discovery (OV‑103), … Continue reading

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Classic Coke-Cola Commercials


I am not a drinker of Coke-Cola, although I know that millions around the world are daily partakers. The company has also made stunning commercials over the year, memorable in so many ways. The recent finale of “Mad Men” hearkened … Continue reading

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Stimulating Aerospace Capabilities in America


Historians five hundred years hence may well characterize successful human flight, and all that followed in both air and space, as the most significant single technology of the twentieth century. Has it fundamentally reshaped our world, at once awesome and … Continue reading

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Do We Need to Renew the Promise of American Life?


I was struck while rereading Herbert Croly’s 1909 political manifesto, The Promise of American Life, about its continually important message. Croly was a leading figure in the Progressive Movement of the first two decades of the twentieth century, a political philosopher, … Continue reading

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Governing Antarctica: A Continent Dedicated to Science or a Place of Geopolitical Rivalry?


In many respects, the history of cooperation and collaboration in Antarctic science mirrors the larger story of how the various great powers have interrelated since the conclusion of World War II. If one were to characterize it accurately throughout the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Reinterpreting Exploration”


Reinterpreting Exploration: The West in the World. Edited by Dane Kennedy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Acknowledgments, figures, contributors, index. Vii – 236. ISBN: 978-0-19-975534-9. Hardcover. USD $89.10. Dane Kennedy has assembled a fine collection of historiographical essays on … Continue reading

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