Category Archives: History

NASA Viking Missions to Mars Retrospective on C-SPAN


In July 2016 NASA’s Langley Research Center celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Viking program, which placed two orbiters around the red planet, and landed two spacecraft on tis surface in 1976. Historians William P. Barry, Roger D. Launius, Glenn E. … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Another Such Victory”


Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953. By Arnold A. Offner. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002. Harry S. Truman, the accidental president from Independence, Missouri, has enjoyed a rebirth of popularity since the 1970s, after leaving … Continue reading

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The Beginnings of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory


We are approaching in 2017 the centennial of the founding of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (LMAL) by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), at Hampton, Virginia. Now NASA’s Langley Research Center this facility transformed aeronautics in the United States … Continue reading

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The Current Crop of Commercial Starts-Ups in Space Were not the First


Many journalists and others have been much enamored with the activities of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson, and other entrepreneurs who have bet their fortunes, at least some of their fortunes, on the development of new space access … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “America’s Right Turn”


America’s Right Turn: From Nixon to Clinton. By William C. Berman. Second Edition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. Why has the political environment in the United States veered away from the New Deal liberalism of the middle third … Continue reading

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Key Developments in USA/USSR Space Cooperation During the Cold War


The post-Cold War era has seen the United States and Russia undertake fundamentally significant cooperative ventures in space. This was an enormously significant development for the pursuit of aggressive human space activities, no doubt, but it tends to overshadow a … Continue reading

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Visualizing Apollo’s Exploration and the Idea of Progress


For all but a handful of space travelers the voyages of exploration into space were events participated in vicariously by the  billions of humans living on Earth. It has brought a connectedness and reinforced a common set of values among … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Atmospheric Science at NASA”


Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History. By Erik M. Conway. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Acknowledgments, list of abbreviations, illustrations, notes, index. ISBN: 9780801889844. Hardcover with dustjacket. 416 pp. $57.00 USD. During the first decade of the Space … Continue reading

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Gerrymandering, Safe Districts, and Political Extremism


We are in another election season, one of the strangest in modern American history, and there is much speculation about the race for both the Presidency and Congressional elections. It seems appropriate, therefore, to say something about the Congress, safe … Continue reading

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The Joy of Watching Willie Mays Play Baseball


One of my fondest childhood memories was watching Willie Mays with the San Francisco Giants play baseball in the very early 1970s. I remember one instance in which Mays—one of the most gifted, exciting baseball players of all time—chased a … Continue reading

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