In 1896, Ethiopians had turned back an Italian invasion at Adwa (Adowa), serving as an example of a Black-led country’s defiance of Europe. Taking inspiration from Ethiopia’s long history as an independent Black nation, two Black aviators—Hubert Julian and John C. Robinson—were drawn to Ethiopia by the events of 1935.
On January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger was set to launch on STS-51-L, on a mission to observe and track Halley’s Comet—73 seconds after launch, the shuttle disintegrated, ending the lives of all seven crew members. The disaster was most heavily felt in the space community and even in the realm of the cultural arts. Particularly, famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and astronaut Sally K. Ride had their own respective responses to this tragedy.
As I have been scanning the correspondence that science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke received over his lifetime, a constant staple of correspondence always crops up near the end of a year. These being the abundant number of Christmas cards Clarke would get around the holidays.
On December 17, 1950, the first known aerial combat between swept-wing jet fighters took place in the skies over Korea. The Russian-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 had been recently introduced and its speed and maneuverability caused trouble for the United States and in response, the North American F-86 Sabre was rushed to Korea. Ward Hitt, Jr., a member of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group, chronicled the early days of the F-86 in combat in a detailed scrapbook.
Throughout his long life, famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke corresponded with numerous people. This blog examine the correspondents that Clarke had with Stanley Kubrick, rocket scientist and pioneer Wernher von Braun, and Irish fantasy author Edward Plunkett, who published under the name Lord Dunsany.
The Archives of the National Air and Space Museum holds three million images in various photographic formats, covering the breadth and depth of the history of aviation and space flight. One such collection is the Herbert Stephen Desind Collection, which covers the history of space flight and exploration.
Part of the fun of research is getting elbow deep into the original documents that make up the collections of the National Air and Space Museum Archives. But we also understand that it is difficult for many researchers to make in-person visits to the Archives at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. As an alternative, you can experience the NASM Archives (and other Smithsonian collections) anywhere through the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA)!
A. Roy Knabenshue became interested in lighter-than-air flight after seeing a balloon ascension when he was 5 years old and would become the first person to successfully pilot a dirigible in the United States, flying Thomas S. Baldwin’s California Arrow at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
On August 18, 2020, the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which declared that the right to vote "shall not be denied...on account of sex." Several collections in the National Air and Space Museum Archives provide short stories along the long path of the women’s suffrage movement and the 19th Amendment.