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Space

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Mon, December 8 2014

Keeping Watch on Venus

Venus has almost the same diameter as the Earth and is the next closest planet to the Sun. The similarity ends with the weather report, however. The surface temperature is more than 465 o C (870o F) and atmospheric pressure is 90 times that of Earth. The surface is hidden from view by a dense blanket of clouds, so we must use radar systems to “see” the landscape below.

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Alpha Regio on Venus
Wed, December 3 2014

Orion Test Flight: Back to the Future

If weather permits and no last-minute technical issues arise, NASA’s next-generation crew exploration vehicle launches into space for the first time on December 4*, 2014.

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Orion Rendering
Thu, November 27 2014

Thanksgiving Day in Space

“Pass the turkey, please.” “Do you have room for dessert?” The elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal are passed around in plastic pouches instead of platters and bowls, but the spirit of this holiday in space is the same as at home. Gathered around (or over!) a makeshift table, crewmates have celebrated Thanksgiving on Skylab, the Space Shuttle, the Russian Mir space station, and the International Space Station (ISS).

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Thanksgiving in Space
Wed, November 19 2014

Seeing Apollo 12

On November 19, 1969, 45 years ago and three short months after the landing of Apollo 11, Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean landed their lunar module “Intrepid” on the Ocean of Storms, just walking distance from the Surveyor III spacecraft. Their near pinpoint landing showed that Moon landings could continue, and with such accuracy that specific objects could be targeted for research. 

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Charles Conrad Jr. examines Surveyor III (3)
Sun, November 16 2014

Gus Grissom’s Glove Dip Forms

Of all the parts of a spacesuit, the gloves are the most difficult to make.

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Grissom's Glove Dip Form
Sun, November 9 2014

Seeing Inside Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit Using CT Scans

Museum staff recently transported Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit to the National Museum of Natural History for a CT scan. Curator Cathleen Lewis shares her experience as one of those staff members and explains how CT scanning can help in preservation efforts.

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Armstrong's Spacesuit in CT Scanner
Fri, October 24 2014

Air & Scare: Better Together

Did you know that staff at the National Air and Space Museum enjoy dressing up for the annual Halloween event, Air and Scare, just as much as our visitors? The event, which will kick off tomorrow at 2:00 pm (ET) at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, will bring out lots of superheroes, Star Wars characters, princesses, pumpkins, and many more. It also brings out a creative side in the Museum’s Visitor Services staff, who have teamed up over the years with group costume themes.

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Air and Scare 2014
Sat, October 11 2014

America’s First Spacewalking Woman: Kathryn D. Sullivan

On October 11, 1984, a female American astronaut stepped outside her spacecraft for the first time. Kathryn D. “Kathy” Sullivan had work to do in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Challenger, a mobile workplace travelling 17,500 miles per hour about 140 miles above the Earth. Sullivan was one of the six women (in a class of 35) selected in 1978 to be Space Shuttle astronauts, and she was the third woman tapped to fly.  An Earth scientist and PhD. geologist/oceanographer, mission specialist Sullivan was a good match for the STS-41G mission, which carried an Earth-observation payload and deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite. She was co-investigator for the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-B) remote sensing experiment and actively involved in research use of the Large Format Camera and other instruments mounted in the payload bay.

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Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan
Tue, September 23 2014

Remembering Noel W. Hinners

Noel Hinners served as director of the National Air and Space Museum from 1979 through 1982. He expanded the intellectual scope of the curatorial departments and fostered greater attention to the space sciences, a reflection of his own remarkable career. Born in New York and raised in Chatham, New Jersey, Hinners entered Rutgers University to study agricultural research but became interested in geology.

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Noel Hinners
Mon, September 8 2014

“Vengeance Weapon 2”: 70th Anniversary of the V-2 Campaign

The world’s first ballistic missile campaign began when the first German V-2 missile successfully launched in combat hit a suburb outside Paris. A second launch later that day hit Chiswick near London. Senior curator Michael Neufeld discusses the V-2 and this campaign.

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V-2 Missile

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