Category Archives: Space

Cassini Arrives at Saturn: Happy Anniversary!


Representing the international character of many NASA planetary missions since Voyager, Cassini-Huygens, a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency, and Italian Space Agency, has also proved to be an incredible success. It seems appropriate to recall this mission … Continue reading

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Planetary Protection: Announcing a New National Academies Study


The National Academies has just published the interim report, “The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary Protection.” It makes for really interesting reading. You may find a downloadable copy here.

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Summer Reading: Indispensable Books on the History of the Space Shuttle


When NASA began work on what became the Space Shuttle at the end of the Apollo program, few recognized how important a part of American life it would become over the next thirty-plus years. While not vast, the literature on … Continue reading

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Redirect: “How should we protect and preserve our history — on the Moon?”


Lucas Laursen has a good piece in ideas.ted.com entitled: “How should we protect and preserve our history — on the Moon?” I spoke to him about this story of preserving the lunar landing sites, as did others associated with pursuing … Continue reading

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NASA’s Overestimates of Soviet Lunar Capabilities During the Moon Race


Many times NASA officials used the national security intelligence on the Soviet Union to sustain their case for an aggressive effort to complete Apollo by the end of the 1960s. In a few instances these public statements aroused within the … Continue reading

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Remembering the First EVAs More Than Fifty Years Ago


During the heady time of the space race during the 1960s the key element of spacewalking, in NASA parlance Extravehicular Activity or EVA, had to be made real. The first American spacewalk took place on June 3, 1965, during Gemini … Continue reading

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Announcing the Space Policy and History Forum #21


The next the Space Policy and History Forum will feature Amy Kaminski, Program Executive for Prizes and Challenges at NASA Headquarters, presenting “Sharing the Shuttle with America: NASA and Public Engagement after Apollo.” The forum will be held in the Director’s … Continue reading

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An Intimate Past?


A debate has been taking place among historians for many years about the nature of the past and perceptions of it, both by historians and by the larger public. Some have insisted that it is, and I find this term … Continue reading

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Robotic Emissaries to the Stars


Five spacecraft from Earth are currently moving out into the stars. After their operations cease, these spacecraft will continue to coast indefinitely. None of them will come close to any known stars, and it is unlikely they will encounter any … Continue reading

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Robert Gilruth and the NACA’s Entry into Space Technology


During the latter part of World War II leaders of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, had become interested in the possibilities of high-speed guided missiles and the future of spaceflight. It created at the … Continue reading

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