On the eve of SpaceX's first Crew Dragon launch, space history curator Jennifer Levasseur examines how NASA's relationship with the contractors that build its spacecraft has changed since the first days of human spaceflight.
Space historian Paul Ceruzzi looks at a less well-known detail of the Apollo 13 mission: the Inertial Measurement Unit, which was essential to ensuring the safe return of the astronauts after an explosion damaged the service module on the way to the Moon.
Scientists believe our planet has a metallic inner core, but we can’t exactly crack it open and check. Instead, NASA is sending a mission to an asteroid named Psyche, which appears to be a nickel-iron planetary core a lot like the one at the center of the Earth.
Today’s launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, designed and manufactured by Space-X, is what space history curator Tom Lassman describes as “next generation” rocketry, but with roots in the 1960s “Space Age” and technology that helped bring Apollo 11 to the Moon.
Today, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia will go on display at Space Center Houston, the first of four stops in the national tour Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. This is the first time the Command Module has left the nation’s capital since 1971. If you plan to see the Module in your city—the tour will travel to St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Seattle over the next two years—we have an excellent way to prepare. Or if you’re looking to dive into Apollo history on the comfort of your own couch, we also have you covered.
When the Museum’s Apollo Lunar Module (LM-2) moved to a prominent place in our Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall last year, it was an opportunity for us to examine the artifact in fine detail. We spared no effort to preserve, refurbish, and document the iconic object before it went on display in our central gallery in 2016. With careful research and close examination of photography from the Apollo 11 mission, we have been able to refine the accuracy of the external appearance of our LM-2 to more and more closely represent the appearance of LM-5 (Eagle) on the Moon.
On April 7, 2017, New Horizons entered a 157-day-long hibernation. New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe and is NASA’s first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. After operating steadily for almost two and a half years, the spacecraft and its systems deserve this much-needed break.