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Thu, April 16 2020

Visual Information and Apollo 13

Space history curator Jennifer Levasseur examines photographs taken during the Apollo 13 mission and how they helped NASA understand what went wrong with the service module.

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Damaged Apollo 13 Service Module
Wed, April 15 2020

How Gene Kranz’s Plainest Vest Became His Most Famous

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission, curator Margaret Weitekamp looks at the history and significance of one of our most iconic artifacts from the mission: Gene Kranz's white vest.

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Gene Kranz's Apollo 13 Vest
Tue, April 14 2020

Apollo 13 AMA Recap

On Monday, April 13, the 50th anniversary of "Houston, we've had a problem," the Museum's Apollo curator Teasel Muir-Harmony participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on r/space with NASA Chief Historian Bill Barry, and Apollo in Real Time creator and data visualization engineer Ben Feist.

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Apollo 13 Astronauts on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima
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

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