Category Archives: Cold War Competition

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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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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The Establishment of the Outer Space Treaty


With the fiftieth anniversary of the “Outer Space Treaty,” formally the “Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies,” taking place on January 27, … Continue reading

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A Truly Hilarious Cartoon on the Apollo/Saturn Stack


This cartoon from the XKCD website helps explain with considerable humor the awesomeness of the Saturn V. It uses onlty the most common words in English to rescribe the stack. You may find the original here. Enjoy!

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Chronology of Key Space Anniversaries for 2017


1942—75 Years Ago 3 October—Germany launched its V-2 rocket and is the first spacecraft to cross the Kármán line (100 km). 1947—70 Years Ago 20 February—The United States sent fruit flies into space. 1952—65 Years Ago 1 April—The U.S. Army … Continue reading

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Remembering the Gemini Program


Since it is the fiftieth anniversary of the the end of the Gemini program in 1966, with the flight of Gemini XII on November 12-15, I thought it appropriate to reflect on what I refer to as the middle child … Continue reading

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Sputnik and Free Overflight in Space


It came like a shock to the system on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched a beach ball-sized orbital satellite to usher in the “Space Age.” The act in itself proved neither particularly shocking nor threatening but what it … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age”


Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age. By Matthew Brzezinski. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. The fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, sparked the publication of … Continue reading

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Eisenhower as Sputnik Crisis Leader


Since tomorrow is the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, I thought it appropriate to reflect on the Eisenhower response to what became an important crisis in his presidency in the fall of 1957. Without question, in reacting to Sputnik … Continue reading

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