Category Archives: Space

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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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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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: “Single Stage to Orbit”


Single Stage to Orbit: Politics, Space Technology, and the Quest for Reusable Rocketry. By Andrew J. Butrica. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). Andrew Butrica’s book, while more than a decade old, is still germane to the current space … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Books Review: “The National Labs”


The National Labs: Science in an American System, 1947-1974. By Peter J. Westwick. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003, xii, 403 pp. $49.95, ISBN 0-674-00948-7..06 To help win the cold war the United States created a set of research institutions throughout … Continue reading

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“Discover Your Place in Aerospace”: A Fun App from the National Air and Space Museum


In early December the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum launched a new app called “Discover Your Place in Aerospace,” Mobile Missions. The app is designed to engage visitors and gather information to help NASM build a deeper relationship with those … Continue reading

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Remembering a Great Adventure: The First Circumlunar Mission


After a piloted orbital mission to test the Apollo equipment in October 1968, on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 took off atop a Saturn V booster from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts aboard—Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., … Continue reading

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Great Picture of the Earth from Saturn


This is very cool. This is a rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and a faint hint of the Moon. Note the arrow pointing … Continue reading

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