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Mon, October 25 2010

The Airplane and Streamlined Design

To American industrial designers of the 1930s airplanes were not simply machines of transport, but emblems of technological innovation and progress. The National Air and Space Museum’s newly redone Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery includes a unit devoted to “The Airplane and Streamlined Design,” which demonstrates how industrial designers appropriated the imagery of the modern airliner for their products.

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Streamline Design
Tue, October 19 2010

Learning to Capture the Sun

The Public Observatory Project is just over a year old now, and in that time we’ve been  experimenting with the telescope to discover what is visible in the daytime sky and devise ways that our visitors can have the best experience possible.  One of our goals is to use our equipment to take images of the Sun, so that we can share our star’s day-to-day activities with the visiting public as well as those who can’t make it to the Mall to look through our telescopes.  

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Sun - July 30, 2010
Thu, October 14 2010

Chuck Yeager

On October 14, 1947, Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound in his Bell X-1, which he named Glamorous Glennis, in tribute to his wife. He reached a speed of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) per hour, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet).  

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Charles "Chuck" Yeager with Bell X-1
Tue, October 12 2010

Eugene J. Bullard

October 12, 2010, marks the forty-ninth anniversary of the death of Eugene Jacques Bullard at the age of 67. Bullard is considered to be the first African-American military pilot to fly in combat, and the only African-American pilot in World War I.

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Portrait of Eugene Bullard
Tue, October 5 2010

Seeing Beneath the Surface of the Moon

“Remote sensing” is a term used to describe many different types of observations carried out at a distance. Aerial photos, satellite images of the Earth and planets, and telescope views of our solar system are all forms of remote sensing used to understand geology, climate, hazards, and changes over time.

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Aristoteles (Lunar Crater)
Tue, September 28 2010

The Howard Levy Photography Collection

The Archives of the National Air and Space Museum holds two million images in various photographic formats, covering the breadth and depth of the history of aviation and space flight.

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Howard “Howie” Levy
Tue, September 21 2010

Ballistic Missile Guidance on your Cell Phone?

If you don’t already own one, you’ve no doubt seen advertisements for them on television. I am referring to so-called “smartphones,” which can change the orientation of their display, from Portrait to Landscape, depending on how you hold them. They can do that because they contain a fingernail-sized chip inside, which senses the acceleration of gravity, and adjusts the display accordingly. Resourceful programmers have come up with a number of other applications, or “apps,” for these phones, which take advantage of the on-board ability to sense acceleration. If you only use a plain old-fashioned cell phone, you still have a number of these devices around you. Automobiles use them for airbag deployment, stability control, and braking systems.

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Titan Missile Guidance System
Sun, September 12 2010

She Had a Dream: Mae C. Jemison, First African American Woman in Space

Have you ever had a dream of what you wanted to do in life? How about a wish that you hoped every day would come true?  Were you ever truly inspired by something or someone at an early age that shaped the course of your life? Living a lifelong dream does not come to many, but for Dr. Mae Jemison, space travel was always an area of fascination.

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Mae Jemison
Fri, August 27 2010

Phase Two—The New Wing

Looking at the seemingly endless aisles of crates at the Paul E. Garber Restoration and Storage Facility, it is not a great stretch of the imagination to picture Indiana Jones scouring these narrow labyrinths for that anonymous wooden crate housing the notorious Ark.

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Garber Facility
Tue, August 24 2010

Quietly Soaring into History: First African American in Space

As August 30 approaches, a significant anniversary in American history may come along virtually unnoticed, just as it almost did twenty-seven years ago.

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Official STS-8 crew portrait

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