Governmental Aerospace ProgramsThe Federal Aviation Administration, air mail, space programs and military aviation
Who can forget the immortal question posed by the Mongol General in the 1982 classic Conan the Barbarian? Wait…don’t tell me you’ve forgotten? When the Mongol General bellows “What is best in life?” some (sissy) barbarian offers the following: “The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.” (“The [...]
August 12, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
The Army’s CH-47 Chinook helicopter has flown a stunning but standard maneuver—the aft-wheel pinnacle landing—since 1962. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the move has reached its peak. This month as many as 5,000 pairs of boots will leave the ground, with a goal to extract 33,000 by next September. Many will exit the same way they [...]
August 10, 2011 | By Roger Mola
Yuri Gagarin, incredibly, didn’t carry a camera on the world’s first spaceflight. Neither did Alan Shepard nor Gus Grissom, whose 15-minute suborbital shots followed Gagarin’s April 1961 launch by three weeks and three months, respectively. The American astronauts were photographed during their missions, but only by automated cameras mounted in the Mercury capsule. So it [...]
August 05, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
After investigating a thousand suspects since a person who called himself (or herself) D.B. Cooper skyjacked a Boeing 727 on November 24, 1971, the FBI thought it finally had a “credible” tip. Until last night, that is, when CBS News reported that the Cooper lead had fizzled and the FBI was expected to formally rule [...]
August 02, 2011 | By Roger Mola
George Abbey had more influence on human spaceflight than almost anyone in history, but few outside the field know his name.
August 2011 | By Michael Cassutt
Who would think a kite could down a fighter?
August 2011 | By Michael Barton
Fifty years ago, the Navy ended its lighter-than-air program.
August 2011 | By George C. Larson, Member, NAA
Recently deceased John H. Marburger, former Science Advisor to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, an administrator and public servant. I knew him through his advocacy and involvement in the development of the Vision for Space [...]
July 30, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
While the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues its struggle with budget politics, the test program marches along. On Wednesday the F-35C—the version designed for aircraft carriers—made its first catapult launch during a ground test at Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, New Jersey, with Navy test pilot Lt. Chris Tabert at the controls. Ship [...]
July 29, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker may haul more than 31,000 gallons to refuel other aircraft, but for long-haul missions, it needs to watch every drop of its own fuel. That’s why, when a KC-135 crew flew from Washington state to Kyrgyzstan over the North Pole last month, the Air Force brass was pumped. It wasn’t [...]
July 28, 2011 | By Roger Mola
The shuttle has retired, but the astronauts haven’t.
July 26, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The space shuttle has been well eulogized in recent weeks, and we’ve already said our own farewells in print and on the web. So no need for another Grand Tribute. Still….I can’t resist a couple of parting thoughts on this final day of the 30-year shuttle program. The safety of the shuttle can be debated, [...]
July 21, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
I learn something new about the astronaut business on every mission. During their spacewalk last week, space station residents Mike Fossum and Ron Garan did some whistling while they were inside the Quest airlock in their spacesuits, waiting for the pressure to drop before heading outside. I’ve queued this video up to the whistling sequence, [...]
July 20, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Today is the 42nd anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon. The first step on the Moon – the step that “divided history” to use the words of the time – and the planting of the American flag there seems like a lifetime ago. As a matter of fact, it was. Tomorrow, the Space Shuttle [...]
July 19, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
“The Battle of Midway was probably the most important battle in the Pacific war during World War II,” says Russell Lee, a curator in the aeronautics division at the National Air and Space Museum. “On that day, American carrier forces defeated the Japanese, and stopped permanently their westward expansion.” Prior to the battle, Japan possessed [...]
July 14, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
“How does it feel to be part of history?” some reporter asked the STS-135 astronauts during an onboard press conference this afternoon. Well, some days probably feel more historic than others. Yesterday, for example, space station astronaut Ron Garan was on a spacewalk (above), wrestling a refrigerator-size piece of hardware into the shuttle cargo bay [...]
July 13, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
A few observations about the STS-135 shuttle astronauts, the last people to fly the 30-year-old spaceplane into orbit. By accident or design, the crew comes from a mixed military background, with one each from the Navy (commander Chris Ferguson), Marines (pilot Doug Hurley), and Air Force (mission specialist Rex Walheim). The other MS, Sandy Magnus, [...]
July 09, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The space shuttle’s final liftoff. Still hard to write those words.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Astronauts show a lighter side in their unofficial crew posters.
July 08, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Highlights from America's longest-lived space program.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt