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Mon, April 13 2020

The Myth of the German “Wonder Weapons”

Aeronautics curator Michael Neufeld examines the myth of the Nazi wonder weapons and the oft-repeated statement that if Germany had had the V-2 and other "wonder weapons" sooner, they may have won the war.

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V-1 Cruise Missile
Fri, April 10 2020

The World War II Veteran Hidden in Plain Sight

Beneath the colorful exterior of our Goodyear C-49 control car, which provided coverage at sporting events in the 1980s, lies a World War II veteran. Museum historian Tom Paone explores its service. 

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C-49 Control Car During World War II
Thu, April 9 2020

3D Scanning Space Shuttle Discovery

The Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office takes you behind the scenes of how they captured a comprehensive 3D dataset of the largest museum artifact ever to be digitized: Space Shuttle Discovery

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3D Scanning Space Shuttle Discovery

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Digitizing Discovery
Mon, April 6 2020

How World War II Killed the Flying Boat

Curator Bob van der Linden looks at the history of the flying boat, and how infrastructure investments during World War II changed commercial aviation. 

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Boeing Model 314 Clipper "Atlantic Clipper"
Thu, April 2 2020

Pat the Pilot: American Aviatrix, WAFS Member, and Allied Liaison

Aline “Pat” Rhonie made a perfect three-point landing in her 125 hp Luscombe Phantom when she touched down in Manchester, New Hampshire, on June 6, 1940. Owned by Rhonie, the plane was a Warner-powered, high-wing, two-seat cabin monoplane that she flew as the American Liaison for the French Aero Club. Rhonie piloted civilian and military aircraft throughout the United States as an American aviatrix and eventual member of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, yet her mission traversed international borders to support the Allied cause.  

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Aline Rhonie
Wed, April 1 2020

The TIROS 1 Weather Satellite and Its Environmental Legacy

On the evening of April 1, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower saw the first image sent back from space by the Television InfraRed Observation Satellite (TIROS) 1 weather satellite—shaped, as some quipped, like “an enormous hatbox.”  As he considered the grainy black and white image of cloud cover over the eastern United States and Canada, he remarked “the Earth doesn’t look so big when you see that curvature.

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First Television Picture of Earth from Space, 1960
Mon, March 30 2020

Before the WASP: American Women Pilot Service Organizations

Women in the United States have long served their country and women aviators have been no exception.  Perhaps the best known efforts are those of the Women Air Service Pilots (WASP), formed in 1943, merging the Women’s Auxiliary Flying Squadron and Women’s Flying Training Detachment.  But before the WASP, women pilots, such as Ruth Law, Opal Kunz, Florence “Pancho” Barnes, and Mary Charles were determined to serve their country in whatever way they could.

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Women's Air Reserve Aerial Ambulance
Mon, March 23 2020

Transcribing the Sally K. Ride Papers

We are pleased to announce that the Sally K. Ride Papers, consisting of over 23 cubic feet (38,640 pages!) of archival material chronicling Ride’s career from the 1970s through the 2010s, have been fully scanned and are available digitally. Air and Space fans can help make them more accessible by transcribing them in the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

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Signed Portrait of Sally Ride
Thu, March 19 2020

Our Friend Al Who Went to the Moon

Alfred "Al" Worden, command module pilot on Apollo 15, passed away on March 18, 2020. We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Al, an aviator, engineer, and storyteller. From the halls of West Point to the far side of the Moon, the legacy of history’s first deep-space walker continues to inspire.

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Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden with his spacesuit
Thu, March 5 2020

Exploration is About Perseverance: Mars 2020

The Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to launch this summer, and today is a milestone in the mission: the Mars 2020 rover has finally gotten a name.

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Exploration is About Perseverance: Mars 2020

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Mars 2020 Rover Rendering

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