Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Fooling Around at the Front

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Most of the thousands of World War I photographs in the collections of the Air and Space Museum’s Archives Department are grimly utilitarian – aerial views of trenches, aircraft and details of their construction and the damage they sustained during dangerous missions. But the young pilots who flew those missions had a reputation for light-heartedness,   …Continue Reading


The Big Jump

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The National Air and Space Museum boasts an extraordinary collection of record setting balloon baskets and gondolas. There is Explorer II, which carried U.S. Army Air Corps Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orvil Anderson to a record altitude of (22,066 meters) 72,395 feet on November 11, 1935. In August 1978, Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and   …Continue Reading


Remembering William Reid “Bill” Pogue

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Pilot, Astronaut, Author 1930-2014 Bill Pogue may be best known as an astronaut who served on America’s Skylab space station and author of the book he titled with the perennial question astronauts are asked to answer, How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space? Before becoming an astronaut in 1966 at the age of   …Continue Reading


The X-15

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During the 20th century, airplane design was driven by the mantra of “flying faster and higher.” Starting with the historic first flight of the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, aeronautical engineers focused on the design of new airplanes to achieve ever-increasing speeds and altitudes. Just 44 years later, on October 14, 1947, Capt. Chuck   …Continue Reading


Remembering Dale Allan Gardner

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Naval Aviator, Astronaut, Businessman (1948-2014) Dale Gardner was one of only six Space Shuttle astronauts to fly the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) propulsion backpack. On Discovery’s STS-51A mission in November 1984, he flew untethered to capture the errant Westar 6 communications satellite and steer it back into the orbiter for return to Earth. His crewmate   …Continue Reading