Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Repairing Hubble

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Soon after the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, images and data from its instruments revealed that its main mirror was optically flawed. It suffered from spherical aberration—not all portions of the mirror focused to the same point. The mirror’s shape was off by less than 1/50th the thickness of a human hair, but   …Continue Reading


Germs in Space

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When Space X launched the Dragon Spacecraft on Friday, April 18, it was carrying nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support more than 150 science investigations planned for International Space Station (ISS) Expeditions 39 and 40.  Among these materials are some that weigh hardly anything at all—microbes—of which one type   …Continue Reading


Blood Moon

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If you live in North America or western South America, you have a treat in store for you tonight or early tomorrow morning: a total lunar eclipse! If you live elsewhere in the world, or if it’s cloudy in your location – as it probably will be tonight at our location in Washington, DC –   …Continue Reading


Antonie Strassmann – German Movie Star, American Entrepreneur, Cosmopolitan Pilot

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The National Air and Space Museum Archives hold biographical information on many people related to aviation, but it is still surprising to find articles about one Antonie Strassmann, a famous German actress of the 1920s. The few clippings indicate a fascinating story – a woman pilot who had performed on stage and in silent movies,   …Continue Reading


The New Milestones

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On July 1, 1976, President Gerald Ford presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the new National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall. A red, white, and blue ribbon across the entrance was severed when a signal sent from the Viking 1 spacecraft orbiting Mars activated a mechanical arm identical   …Continue Reading