In Space, No One Can Hear You Drown

By |October 15th, 2017|

Human spaceflight today holds as many risks for astronauts as it did half a century ago during the Apollo program. The European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, and the Russian space agency all know the high-risk nature of human spaceflight. Extraordinary measures are taken to train their men and women to deal with practically any possibility […]

Remembering NASA’s Ares I Rocket

By |October 8th, 2017|

Even during NASA’s mature Space Shuttle program, the space agency was exploring new means of getting crews to orbit and beyond. The Space Shuttle was only designed for and capable of delivering crews and shuttle payloads to Earth orbit.  NASA’s exploration office looked at new vehicles to get back to the Moon, and perhaps even […]

The X-15 Pilots: The Original X-Men

By |September 23rd, 2017|

There have been numerous histories of the X-15 rocket plane research program published over the decades.  It took author Michelle Evans several decades of research, writing and waiting before finally publishing The X-15 Rocket Plane—Flying the First Wings into Space. What makes this book particularly interesting and different from previous titles is the emphasis on […]

Elon Musk says first Falcon Heavy launch may not succeed

By |August 5th, 2017|

On July 19 of this year at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, D.C., SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk expressed a clear-eyed reality on the potential for success of the first launch of the company’s Falcon Heavy. He frankly admitted to the audience, in answer to a question, that getting the second […]

Model memories of the Saturn IB rocket

By |July 22nd, 2017|

During the 1960s, boys my age were fascinated with America’s race to beat the Soviets to the Moon. Practically every magazine published had articles about the brave astronauts who ventured into space during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Those boys, and some girls!, often built model rockets to channel their enthusiasm. These were not […]

Burroughs’ Atlas ICBM Guidance Computer, Pt. 3

By |July 9th, 2017|

Research & Development and Initial Operation Capability Units

Burroughs project planning for this computer planned for Mod I, Mod II and Mod III units from initial development to operational computers.  All the Mod I computers were Research & Development units. The first unit was built by Burroughs in Paoli, Pennsylvania research center and was simply an […]

The Breakfast with the Astronauts–that wasn’t

By |June 17th, 2017|

About five years ago, I learned about the Breakfast with the Astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Center. This is the tourist attraction just outside the Kennedy Space Center and worth the trip from anywhere. The KSCVC has been conducting bus tours of the KSC launch facilities for decades, and the Center itself is constantly […]

Book review: Spaceman – An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey by Mike Massimino

By |May 20th, 2017|

There have been many NASA astronaut autobiographies and biographies published over the last half century. Among the most notable are Apollo 11’s Michael Collins who wrote Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys published in 1974, and Apollo 17’s Eugene Cernan, who wrote The Last Man on the Moon.

Numerous Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space program astronauts […]

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin

By |May 13th, 2017|

Billionaire Jeff Bezos is competing with billionaire Sir Richard Branson to offer suborbital personal spaceflight. Bezos has invested much of his personal wealth in the establishment of Blue Origin, more than a decade of research and development testing to make the company as successful as—Bezos first company.

Bezos displayed his excitement for spaceflight during high […]

Personal Spaceflight and the Adjacent Possible

By |April 22nd, 2017|

The current state of suborbital spaceflight technology conceived by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are the result of past concurrent, adjacent possibilities. In 2010, Steven Johnson wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal titled, “The Genius of the Tinkerer.” In that essay, Johnson defined the Adjacent Possible:

The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow […]