Tag Archives: NASA

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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A Balance Sheet on All of the Landings on Mars


Since the beginning of the space age there have been 17 landings on the surface of Mars, some of which were not successful. Initially the Soviet Union carried out two attempted landings in 1971, Mars 2 and 3, but the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Scientific Exploration of Mars”


The Scientific Exploration of Mars. By Frederic W. Taylor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. V + 348 pages. Prologue, acknowledgments, notes, illustrations, appendices, index. ISBN: 978-0-521-82956-4. $45, hardcover. Mars has long held a special fascination for humans who pondered … Continue reading

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Recalling the First Vikings on Mars


The 20th of July marked the 39th anniversary of Viking 1’s touch down on Mars after a voyage of nearly one year, followed within a two months by Viking 2. The landings represented the culmination of a series of missions to … Continue reading

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“New Horizons” Reaches Pluto


The “New Horizons” spacecraft is a major NASA program to complete the initial exploration of all of the major bodies of the solar system. It was designed to help understand worlds at the edge of our Solar System by making the … 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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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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Reconsidering the Place of Cooperative Programs in Relation to the International Space Station


The national space programs of the worlds have long been dominated by national concerns over international affairs. This is most assuredly the case with the United States. Manifested in the context of both competition and cooperation, international concerns have been a … 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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