Flying MachinesVehicles designed for air and space flight
Explore Air & Space articles about types of air and spacecraft.
I learned that a titan of lunar science passed away last month. Dr. Ralph Belknap Baldwin (1912-2010) was a rare specimen – a gentleman scholar, businessman and pioneering student of the Moon. Beyond the impact of his books and papers, he influenced space history in several profound ways.Baldwin,...
December 04, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
Score another one for the extremophiles.Biologists had already discovered organisms that can survive everything from high levels of radiation to vacuum to total darkness. Now they've found one that uses arsenic as a substitute for phosphorus, one of the six elements (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxy...
December 02, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
Having already found more than 500 planets circling distant stars, scientists are getting better at understanding what they're made of. A group led by Jacob Bean at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reports in this week's Nature that they've analyzed the atmosphere of a planet only sl...
December 01, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
Credible rumor has it that NASA has initiated a “lessons learned” postmortem of Project Constellation in order to camouflage their failure to implement the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) and to justify their new direction. I had originally intended to expand on the agency’s postmortem pur...
November 21, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
The famed Douglas aircraft reigned supreme as a civilian and military transport.
November 15, 2010 | By Bruce McAllister
What impresses me most about the new photos of the moon taken by the Chinese Chang’e-2 orbiter is not their beauty (although they are pretty) nor their sharpness (NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter returns higher resolution images). It's the fact that they were unveiled by Premier Wen Jiabao (left...
November 10, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
Remember when space exploration was “groovy” and excitement about seeing humans explore the Solar System within our lifetimes was palpable? What happened to NASA and America’s dream to boldly go? The pathway that assured us that space exploration is cool, amazing and pushes excellence has disap...
November 06, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
Although the discovery of ice on the Moon comes from a wide variety of different measurements, they are all “remote sensing.” We have not yet landed near these deposits and examined them up close. Thus, we do not know the physical nature of lunar polar ice. Having spent the last couple of weeks ...
November 06, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
The first close-up photos of Comet Hartley 2 came in this morning from NASA's Epoxi spacecraft. Dramatic!
November 04, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
The nation's first mass-produced lightplane started as a homely, humble homebuilt.
November 2010 | By Giles Lambertson
Late in World War II, the Bell P-63 became an aerial gunner's easiest target.
November 2010 | By James Dunaway
November 2010 | By J.R. Dailey
November 2010 | By Tom D. Crouch
November 2010 | By Leonard R. Scotty
November 2010 | By George C. Larson, Member, NAA
Now this is a charming idea, and maybe a handy one too – fleets of solar sails delivering pictures of distant worlds back to the home planet.Data is a valuable commodity in the Information Age, just as spices and silk were in centuries past. So Joel Poncy and his team at Thales Alenia Space have im...
October 28, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
A year ago, the LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission team announced the detection of water in the impact plume produced after the Centaur separated from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and crashed into the Moon. We now have more detailed information on the water a...
October 22, 2010 | By Paul D. Spudis
Floating off to sleep, Earthgazing, making sure the capsule doesn't depressurize: all standard on a space vacation.
October 22, 2010 | By Gregory Olsen
As prizes go, this was a big one. In 1901, French oil tycoon and aviation patron Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe put up 100,000 francs (equivalent to more than $500,000 today) for the first airman who could fly a 7-mile circuit starting from a park in Paris, rounding the Eiffel Tower, then returning to...
October 19, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
In September 1870, not long after the start of the Franco-Prussian War, the city of Paris was under siege by Prussian soldiers. By the 19th, the German army had blocked all communication into or out of the city. There was nothing worse, wrote French journalist Francisque Sarcey, than to "live cut o...
October 13, 2010 | By Rebecca Maksel