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Thu, January 14 2021

Bonus! AirSpace Presents NOVA Now

Satellites from NASA and private companies are making headlines. What’s their history and how might their future affect space and life here on Earth?

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Bonus! AirSpace Presents NOVA Now

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Thu, December 10 2020

AirSpace Season 3|Ep.11
Blinded by the Light

Most of us live in places that give us a less than ideal view of the stars because of light pollution from our cities and suburbs. But keeping our skies dark is important for so many reasons – for nocturnal animals, for science and astronomy, and for cultural traditions around the world.

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AirSpace Season 3|Ep.11
Blinded by the Light

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Logo for AirSpace Podcast 2020
Wed, June 5 2019

The Technology Behind D-Day's Moonlit Airborne Ops

The D-Day invasion relied on paratroop and glider landings the day before -- in moonlit darkness. In this blog, we explore the key technologies used to locate drop zones and landing zones under cover of darkness.

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Gee Receiver
Fri, March 31 2017

Women Guided the Way in the [Simulated] Sky During WWII

The U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) were a notable legacy of World War II’s influence on the evolving gender norms of the later 20th century.

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Learning the Celestial Navigation Trainer
Tue, July 19 2016

Charles Blair: Civilian Adventurer Turned Cold War Navigator

Today we celebrate the birthday of Charles F. Blair, an aviator made famous by his solo flight over the North Pole, whose real accomplishment is often overlooked.

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Charles F. Blair in Excalibur III
Fri, January 2 2015

Smithsonian TechQuest: Eye in the Sky

The year is 1967. The government has requested your skills to help locate a downed plane somewhere near hostile territory. After getting the mission details in the briefing room, you embark on a journey through the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, looking carefully at various artifacts and discovering clues that will lead you to the downed plane. Test your powers of observation, your problem-solving skills, and your decision-making abilities as you take on the role of intelligence analyst. The game will engage you through hands-on activities and secret codes that lead to an ultimate conclusion. The fate of top-secret technology and missing pilots is in your hands.

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Smithsonian TechQuest
Wed, November 12 2014

A New High Altitude Jump

On April 1, 2014, the National Air and Space Museum opened an exhibition featuring the pressurized Red Bull Stratos gondola that carried Felix Baumgartner to a record altitude of 39,045 meters (128,100 feet) over Roswell, New Mexico, and the pressure suit and parachute that protected him during the long fall back to Earth. Not long after, I had a visit from an old friend, balloonist Julian Nott, whose record-setting pressurized hot air balloon gondola was also coming into the Museum’s collection. One of the pioneers of modern ballooning, Julian has established 79 world ballooning records for altitude, distance, and time aloft during a long and extraordinary career.

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Alan Eustace at Take-Off
Tue, October 28 2014

More than Just a Map

You never know what you’ll uncover once you do a little digging. Museum Technician Tom Paone discovered something quite remarkable from what at first appeared to be a simple map.

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Colonel William F. Small Portrait
Mon, February 24 2014

Twenty Years of GPS and Instrument Flight

On February 16, 1994, a significant milestone in American aviation occurred when the Federal Aviation Administration certified the first GPS unit for use in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operations. Twenty years later, GPS has become the dominant form of en route navigation as well as the primary technology for guiding aircraft in low-visibility approaches to landing.

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GPS 155
Sat, December 21 2013

The Unique Flight of Apollo 8

The second Apollo mission to carry astronauts into space provided NASA and the world with an unprecedented view of life on Earth. From the start, with its planned mission to fly three astronauts around the Moon and back, Apollo 8 became a touchstone for how people understood the process of spaceflight.

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Apollo 8 Command Module

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