What is a hybrid rocket motor? What advantages does it have over conventional liquid and solid propellant rocket motors? These questions point to an exciting breakthrough that occurred on December 13, 2018, when Virgin Galactic successfully launched VSS Unity on its first suborbital flight.
Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, we now know the answer to a longstanding question in astronomy: how common are planetary systems around stars? Quite common, it turns out. In the relatively small patch of sky that Kepler studied, most of the stars had planets orbiting them. Scientists now believe that there are more planets than stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
Just like you conduct experiments in your science class, astronauts do experiments while in space. The microgravity of space allows astronauts to carry out experiments that would not be possible in the gravity of Earth. There are more than 300 experiments currently happening aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
A new generation of aspiring astronauts and researchers can find inspiration in the LEGO® “Women of NASA” set. These scientific pioneers are part of our collection here at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, too.
On a clear December day in 1954, Colonel John Stapp strapped in for a ride on the Sonic Wind No. 1, a rocket sled, breaking speed records and researching safety standards in the process. The story of Stapp's rocket sled will be part of the upcoming Nation of Speed exhibition.
Have you ever hung upside down for a little while? Remember how it felt to have all the blood rush to your head? When astronauts get to space, they experience a very similar sensation, which they nickname "puffy head bird legs."
What began as a simple phone call between our STEM in 30 team and the United States Navy ended with us being catapulted off the deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, going 0 to 165 mph in three seconds. How did we end up there?
For the first time ever, on August 17, 2017, astronomers detected the collision of two neutron stars. Not satisfied with that, they caught the cosmic smashup using both gravitational waves and light – another breakthrough.