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June 10, 2021
AirSpace Season 4, Ep. 9 Chicago Flyer
In the early days of aviation flying was dangerous and expensive. Even if you could afford it, societal barriers in the United States kept many would-be pilots grounded. But in Chicago, the Challenger Air Pilots Association cultivated a community that has since helped thousands of Black pilots learn how to fly. And it all started with a broken down car.
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June 04, 2021
Almost Blind and Completely Exhausted: Gene Cernan’s Disastrous Gemini Spacewalk
Space history curator Michael Neufeld recounts the harrowing spacewalk of astronaut Gene Cernan on the Gemini IX-A mission.
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Eugene Cernan is pictured here outside of the Gemini IX-A spacecraft during his extravehicular activity (EVA)
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May 28, 2021
Colorful World War II Posters: A Message from the U.S. Government
During World War II the United States government used colorful and catchy posters to build public support for the war and remind pilots, mechanics, and other aviation workers to follow best practices for safety, resource preservation, and efficiency.
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World War II aviation poster that reads "build more b-29's"
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May 27, 2021
AirSpace Season 4, Ep. 8: Safety Dance
If you’ve flown commercial, you’re familiar with the preflight safety spiel. On this episode, Emily, Matt, and Nick dive into the history of the inflight safety briefing to better understand the evolution from straight-forward instruction to Hollywood production, and an expert in cabin safety weighs in on whether these flashy videos  actually make air travel safer.
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May 23, 2021
Porokoru Patapu “John” Pohe: The first Māori trained as a pilot to serve in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
In the late fall of 1940, a troopship loaded with new pilots fresh out of primary flight school arrived in Vancouver, Canada. Porokoru Patapu “John” Pohe, first Māori trained as a pilot to serve in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was amongst them. Captured as a prisoner of war, Pohe became involved with the plot for a mass escape from prison camp Stalag Luft III in Żagań, Poland. The 1963 epic film, “The Great Escape,” immortalized the event.
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Handley Page Halifax in flight with clouds and the Earth in the background
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May 18, 2021
New Perspectives of Old Worlds
The upcoming Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum will give visitors a new perspective on the many worlds within our solar system.
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Rendering of Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum
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May 16, 2021
The People Behind Astronomical Plates and Notebooks: Project PHaEDRA and the Harvard College Observatory Computers
Astronomers at Harvard’s central observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and its new observatory in Arequipa, Peru, ultimately produced over 500,000 glass plate images of the night sky. Directors of the Harvard College Observatory hired women to study, organize, and care for its immense glass plate collection in Cambridge.
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Group portrait of computers at Harvard College Observatory
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May 13, 2021
AirSpace Season 4, Ep. 7: Art Decade
Did you know the National Air and Space Museum has a huge art collection? Yeah, we keep that secret pretty well. It all STEMs (see what we did there?) from a program organized by NASA beginning in the 1960s where a small number of American artists got tons of access to launch sites, clean rooms, space suits, spacecraft—you name it, they painted it.
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May 10, 2021
Jay I. Kislak World War II in the Air
The new Jay I. Kislak World War II in the Air gallery, scheduled to open in 2025, is being carefully planned to provide a poignant and exciting perspective on World War II aviation for new audiences.
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Jay I. Kislak World War II in the Air gallery
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May 05, 2021
First American In Space: The Flight of Alan B. Shepard
Sixty years ago, on May 5, 1961, a Redstone rocket hurled Alan Shepard’s Mercury capsule, Freedom 7, 116 miles high and 302 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Freedom 7 parachuted into the Atlantic just 15 minutes and 22 seconds later, after attaining a maximum velocity of 5,180 mph. Shepard, a Navy test pilot and NASA astronaut, became the first American to fly in space.
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President John F. Kennedy presents award to Alan Shepard