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Sat, February 27 2016

Remembering Test Pilot Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown

I met Eric Brown in April 2013 at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly, London. Enthusiastically, he had agreed to this meeting to answer my research questions. The first thing I noticed was how agile and slim he looked—barely 5 ft. 7 in. tall, he had the figure of a much younger man and walked the stairs up to the restaurant with the elegance and energy of a man much younger than the 94-year-old man he was at that time. While listening to him, I was aware that I talked to a true legend: the experimental test pilot who had flown 487 different types of aircraft, more than any pilot in history, and the British Royal Navy officer who had landed more aircraft on carriers than anybody else in the world, a total of 2,407 landings, among them even jet-propelled aircraft.

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Thu, January 28 2016

Remembering the Challenger Seven

The crew members of the Challenger represented a cross section of the American population in terms of race, gender, geography, background, and religion. The explosion became one of the most significant events of the 1980s, as billions around the world saw the accident on television and empathized with any one of the several crew members killed. Each has a unique story.

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Thu, January 14 2016

From the Archives: The Theodore E. Boyd WWI Collection

Theodore E. Boyd was a 24-year-old teacher from Tennessee when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Boyd initially volunteered for Reserve Officers Training School at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. He then accepted a commission to be a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery Section. In France, Boyd served with the 88th Aero Squadron (Attached), 7th Field Artillery, Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). In 2012, the National Air and Space Museum Archives received the Theodore E. Boyd World War I Collection (Acc. No. 2013-0016), and through the documents in the collection—correspondence, photographs, military orders, flight logs, and memoirs—we can reconstruct Boyd’s World War I experience.

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Sat, November 21 2015

Remembering Robert Willard Farquhar

Known for devising innovative and intricate spacecraft trajectories, and for his whole-hearted dedication to robotic space exploration, Robert “Bob” Farquhar left a strong impression on the American space program. 

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Tue, September 15 2015

Remembering Frank E. Petersen Jr.

The first black Marine Corps pilot and general officer, Frank E. Petersen Jr. died on August 25 at the age of 83.

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Thu, August 27 2015

Gene Kranz’s Apollo 13 Vest

Gene Kranz is best known for his stellar performance as flight director for the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. But Kranz is also known for another thing: his white vests. Kranz’s vests had legendary status around mission control, and also in the minds of the public after actor Ed Harris wore an exact replica of Kranz’s most famous vest in the 1995 movie, Apollo 13. Kranz’s vests represented the strong and can-do approach that pervaded his mission control team, especially during the Apollo 13 mission in which the astronauts’ lives were at stake.

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Wed, May 27 2015

Finding Treasures in the Arthur C. Clarke Collection

Earlier this month, I wrote about some of the behind-the-scenes work it took to survey and pack the Arthur C. Clarke Collection for transfer to the National Air and Space Museum. In this post, I wanted to highlight the types of material that make up this wonderful collection. These were all found during my cursory survey of the material; who knows what wonderful items we will uncover as we start the in-depth processing!

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Thu, April 16 2015

Remembering Marat N. Tishchenko

Marat Tishchenko developed helicopters that have affected the course of international affairs around the globe for five decades.

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Mon, March 23 2015

Snapshots of Women, and Men, in the Aerospace Industry

March is Women’s History month and I recently attended several events that offer snapshots of women, and men, in the aerospace industry. In Dallas, Women In Aviation International (WAI) held its 26th annual conference, in Tucson, Arizona, the Pima Air and Space Museum opened a new exhibit entitled Women In Flight, and Southwest Airlines graduated its 307th class of flight attendants. And there were more moments.

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Fri, March 6 2015

Happy Birthday to the World's First Woman in Space

Happy birthday Valentina Tereshkova! March 6 marks the birthday of the world’s first woman to fly in space.

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