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Science & Engineering

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Thu, February 15 2018

Astronaut Victor Glover on the Challenges of NASA Training

What is it like to train as an astronaut? Victor Glover, part of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, is one of the few who knows what it’s like to prepare for a journey beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

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Victor Glover training at the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab
Fri, February 9 2018

Remembering Columbia, Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years after the Columbia tragedy, Michael D. Leinbach, Space Shuttle Launch Director, and Jonathan H. Ward, space historian, look back at the harrowing process of recovering the spacecraft. 

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Book Cover: Bringing Columbia Home
Fri, January 26 2018

The Missing History of the Explorer 1 Satellite

Sometimes, seeing isn't believing until you take something apart. On the 60th anniversary of the launch of Explorer 1 by the United States, I'm prompted to recall the most valuable lesson I ever learned about what it means to be a curator.

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Explorer 1 (backup)
Wed, December 20 2017

Top Five Stories of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, let’s revisit some of our favorite stories of the year: stories of solar eclipses, scientific women, the Spitfire, and spacecraft.

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Solar Eclipse
Thu, December 14 2017

That’s no moon. (It's also not the Death Star.)

With its spherical shape and piecemeal construction, it’s easy to see similarities between the Telstar satellite on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the infamous Death Star of the Star Wars films. Aside from a passing resemblance in design, both pieces of technology also address a larger question that has been a focal point for humankind in reality and fantasy: what does space mean for humanity?

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Telstar
Tue, December 12 2017

How Astronauts Return to Earth

If you were freefalling back to Earth from space, would you want to rely on a couple of parachutes and some rockets to protect you from crashing? As crazy as it sounds, that is what allows astronauts aboard the Russian Soyuz capsules to safely return to Earth.

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Astronaut Randy Bresnik Aboard the ISS
Mon, December 11 2017

"We Choose to go to the Moon:" JFK's Moon Shot

As the American space program once again looks toward the Moon, we revisit President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth.

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Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon
Wed, December 6 2017

How Iceland Helps us Understand Saturn’s Icy Moon

This past August, CEPS scientists traveled to Iceland to study geologic features known as pit chains, which form in a similar way to pit chains on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus.

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Saturn's Satellite Enceladus
Mon, December 4 2017

Photos from the ISS

Did you know that some of the coolest photos of Earth from space were not actually taken by satellites? Many were taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In fact, part of the astronaut training program focuses on how to take photos in space.

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A photo of an aurora over Scotland taken by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik aboard the International Space Station, November 24, 2017.
Fri, December 1 2017

Celebrating Moments of Ingenuity

This month, the Smithsonian has been highlighting moments of ingenuity—trendsetters, groundbreakers, and individuals whose work embodies the spirit of innovation. As part of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival, the National Air and Space Museum celebrated the next generation of space and aviation pioneers, and those in history who paved the way.

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Ingenuity Festival

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