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Fri, August 4 2017

The Tomahawk and U.S. Cruise Missile Technology

For the past 30 years, the Tomahawk hung from the ceiling just a few dozen feet from the German V-1 flying bomb, or “buzz bomb,” that saw action in Europe during World War II. The V-1 and the Tomahawk, variants of which are still in service in the Navy, frame an important episode in the history of missile development in the United States. The recent deinstallation of the Tomahawk provides an opportunity to recount some of the highlights of this fascinating story of technological evolution.

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 Launching a Regulus I
Tue, August 1 2017

The Rise and Fall of Vengeance Weapon 2

The V-2 missile was the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket, ballistic missile, and the first object to go into space. It was designed in Nazi Germany, and assembled underground by concentration camp prisoners. Though more than 3,000 V-2s were launched, more people were killed building the rocket than those hit by it. The V-2 was not a successful weapon for Germany, however, it marked a breakthrough in technology that propelled the Soviet Union and U.S. into an arms race and into space. 

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V-2 Missile
Fri, July 28 2017

How the World Explores Space Together

You’ve probably heard of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but have you heard of the Italian Space Agency or the European Space Agency? NASA works with these groups, among others, to explore the frontiers of space together. It wasn’t always this way; Russia and the United States both devoted countless resources to beating each other to space in the 1960s. But today, through shared missions and space stations, we work cooperatively to explore the final frontier.

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Final Configuration of the ISS
Tue, July 25 2017

Learn How to Launch Your Own Rocket, Then See the Real Thing

It’s unusual to know someone whose job includes sitting on top of a rocket awaiting launch into low Earth orbit. But on the morning of July 28, 2017, my colleague Marty Kelsey and I will watch a live broadcast of Randy “Komrade” Bresnik’s launch into space for the second time in his career. We met Bresnik earlier this year while he was training in Houston.

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Soyuz Rocket
Fri, July 21 2017

Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s latest movie, Dunkirk, will premiere in theaters this upcoming Friday, July 21. And although you may know it stars actors such as Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, and Cillian Murphy, you may not know that the National Air and Space Museum houses examples of two of the main airplanes featured in the film. We have a Royal Air Force (RAF) Supermarine Spitfire and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 of the Luftwaffe, although the Museum’s aircraft are slightly younger than those that participated in Operation Dynamo.

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Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk
Tue, July 18 2017

How to Shower in Space

Showers, baths, swimming: these are all experiences most of us take for granted on Earth. There's nothing quite like experiencing the cool touch of water from the shower or jumping into a pool on a hot day. Gravity is what makes all of these experiences possible—it pushes that cool and refreshing water off your back and into the drain. But all that changes in space. The lack of gravity causes water and soapsuds to stick to everything.

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Washing Hair in Space
Thu, July 13 2017

Introducing ISS Science: How to Spot the Station

It’s not every day that an astronaut invites you to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to work with and film them training. But that’s exactly what Randy “Komrade” Bresnik did for the STEM in 30 team. In the following months we’ll be sharing his journey with you as he travels to the International Space Station (ISS) on Expeditions 52 and 53.

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Hosts Beth and Marty with Astronaut Bresnik
Wed, July 12 2017

Paths of Glory: An Early Kubrick Film

A Cold War era treatment of an earlier conflict, Paths of Glory engages injustice within the ranks during World War I through the efforts of a regimental commander in the French army, played by Kirk Douglas, to stem callous treatment of line troops by the French high command. Built upon class divisions, the film depicts an entrenched establishment that cannot be challenged no matter how irrational or heartless the orders from above.

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Paths of Glory: An Early Kubrick Film

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Paths of Glory
Mon, July 10 2017

Amelia Earhart: Setting Records

From a very young age Amelia Earhart knew she wanted to do something different. She became enamored with aviation, and from the very beginning set flight records.  She was the first woman to fly the Atlantic. As a passenger on that flight she referred to herself simply as a "sack of potatoes." But the experience inspired her to do her own solo transatlantic flight in the Lockheed Vega 5B. Shortly after, she set a transcontinental record. 

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Lockheed 5B Vega
Wed, July 5 2017

Douglas DC-3: Most Successful Airliner

Used both for commercial and military air transportation, the Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Today, about 400 DC-3s are still flying.

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Douglas DC-3 in America by Air

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