Tag: Space History

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In 1913, aviation was ten years old. Yet flying caught the imagination of Eric Ellington of the US Naval Academy. Graduating third in the Class of 1909, he resigned his naval commission in 1911 to pursue flying. Accepting a second lieutenant’s commission in the United States Army in 1911, in 1912 he transferred to the […]

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‘First Man’: Neil Armstrong Movie Joins ‘The Right Stuff’ and ‘Apollo 13’

 

I just found out about First Man, the Neil Armstrong movie coming out October 12. Finally! Twenty-three years after Apollo 13, there’s a third non-fiction astronaut drama coming to the big screen.

Only three? Yep. Outside of any indie films I haven’t heard of, the only non-fiction dramas about the American manned space program have been The Right Stuff (1983)Apollo 13 (1995), and now First Man (2018). Tom Hanks and Ron Howard teamed up again after Apollo 13 to make an excellent mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (1998), but the format of a mini-series makes for a different kind of story-telling than a two-hour movie, so I’m considering it separately.

It’s a shame there have only been the three, over the so many decades of the manned space program, and I’ve tried to figure out why that is. The best I can think of is that it’s a lot smaller scope than a war—you can get a single poster with the portrait of everyone who’s been in space. And despite the accidents (Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia) and struggles we’ve had, it’s been so successful for the most part that it is hard to create a sense of drama for any but a few stories.

Book Review: ‘Ignition!’ Explores the ‘Golden Age’ of Rocketry

 

Today, rocket science commonly refers to anything dealing with space. Originally, it meant rocket design, especially fuel development. “Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Propellants,” by John D. Clark, harks back to those day. While informal, it is a comprehensive account of rocket fuel development.

In “Ignition!” Clark reveals what went on behind the scenes in the early days of rocketry. He was the perfect man to do so. A pioneer rocket scientist, an active chemist from the early 1930s, between 1949 and 1970 he was one of the leading developers of liquid rocket fuels. A talented writer (publishing science fiction in 1930) he knew all the players, inside and outside the United States.

RIP John Young

 

John Young, one of NASA’s most remarkable astronauts, died Friday, January 5.

Young was the only man to fly on four different spacecraft (Gemini, Apollo, Lunar Module, and Shuttle) and the first NASA astronaut to fly in space six times. He flew on the first Gemini mission, landed on the Moon, commanded the first Shuttle mission, and the first Shuttle Spacelab mission.

I remember him from my early days in the Shuttle program. Hard to believe he is gone. But he got his three-score years and ten with an extra 17 on top of that. Certainly a life well-lived.

Appearance on the John Batchelor Show

 

I was on the John Batchelor Show Thursday night talking about Project Vanguard and GPS. Wednesday was the 60th anniversary of the unsuccessful launch of Vanguard TV-3 (Flopnik). My last thread about this is here.

I pitched the idea eight days ago about discussing the TV-3 anniversary and John Batchelor responded affirmatively. I’ve listened to him for many years and it was wonderful to be on his program. You can also download the program from iTunes.

This Week’s Book Review – The History of Human Space Flight

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet.
Seawriter
Book Review 
Reaching for the sky
By MARK LARDAS
“The History of Human Space Flight,” by Ted Spitzmiller, University Press of Florida, 2017, 648 pages, hardcover, $39.95
The Space Age opened in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik I. Humans began traveling in outer space soon after that and have been a space-traveling race for over half a century.

“The History of Human Space Flight,” by Ted Spitzmiller, attempts to capture that history — all of it.

It is an ambitious undertaking. Spitzmiller does a good job, starting at the beginning and continuing to the present.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Book Review ‘Hidden Figures’ an inspiring story Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 10:00 […]

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Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet.  Seawriter Book Review Book takes a fascinating look at space history through photos […]

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