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Fri, January 27 2012

What do you Make of the "Houston, we have a problem" Film Claiming that a Secret Yugoslavian Space Program was the Source of American Success in the Space Race?

I received a call from Richard Solash, a reporter with Radio Free Europe about ten days ago to discuss a film being made by Slovene director Ziga Virc and writer Bostjan Virc that alleges that Tito's Yugoslavia had a secret space program and secretly sold space knowledge to NASA, in the process making Tito rich and making if possible for the U.S. to achieve its Apollo program.

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Apollo 17: Flag on the Moon
Wed, January 25 2012

When puppets tell the story...

At the National Air and Space Museum, we tell stories in a number of ways — through objects, artwork, lectures, videos, planetarium shows — even puppets. Storytelling through puppetry can be a powerful educational tool for our youngest audiences in particular.

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The Wright Brothers: A Musical Play Puppet Show
Wed, January 18 2012

Shedding Light on a Common Problem

If you've been to any of the nighttime observing sessions at our Public Observatory, you might have wondered why we mostly view the planets and the Moon. After all, the Observatory...

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Public Observatory
Fri, January 13 2012

Sweet Moments in a Sopwith

For those of us who study the very early history of the airplane, the sight and sound of a World War I rotary engine running is a thrill that leaves a lasting impression.  To fly in a rotary powered World War I airplane is a transformative experience.  A few weeks ago I was transformed.  I had...

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Peter Jakab with WWI Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Thu, January 5 2012

Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s "The Wings of Eagles" (1957)

During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration.

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Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s The Wings of Eagles (1957)
Fri, December 30 2011

Leaving the Moon, Watching at Home

After pressing some buttons to start up the ascent engine of their lunar module Challenger, astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the Moon on December 14, 1972. That’s 39 years ago – before many of us were even born. While these men looked out the tiny triangular windows of the lunar module to see the lunar surface getting farther away, viewers around the world watched that same spacecraft leave the Moon, live and in color on their television sets.

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Apollo 17 lifts off from the Moon
Sat, December 24 2011

The Santa Claus Express, Then and Now

In 1925, Mr. S. Claus was looking for a modern alternative to his old-fashioned reindeer-powered sleigh. Having once shown an interest in lighter-than-air flight in the form of hot-air balloons, Santa was favorably inclined when Goodyear came up with a solution — toy delivery via airship, in this case, Pilgrim I, renamed the Santa Claus Express for the occasion.

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Santa Claus
Fri, December 23 2011

The Rutan Voyager

Twenty-five years ago, the staff of the National Air and Space Museum held its collective breath for nine days as a seemingly fragile, flying fuel tank made its way across oceans and continents in an attempt to become the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop and unrefueled.

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Voyager
Wed, December 21 2011

The Meaning Behind Folding an American Flag

The American flag is one of the most important symbols of the United States.  For many, it symbolizes respect, honor, and freedom.  For others, the flag represents reflection, courage and sorrow.  

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Major Warren R. Stump
Sat, December 17 2011

WINGS: From the Wright Brothers to the Present

Airplane designers will tell you that the wing is the heart of an airplane. For conventional airplanes, it provides most of the lift generated by the airplane; the fuselage and tail contribute only a few percent of the overall lift of the airplane.

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Otto Lilienthal

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