Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Alexander de Seversky: Influential World War II Air Power Advocate

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With all the activities going on lately about World War II aircraft, I’d like to tell the story of Russian naval pilot Alexander de Seversky, that country’s top naval ace in World War I, who later became one of the most influential proponents of the use of strategic air power in warfare — and Disney   …Continue Reading


Bringing History to Life: Honoring Our World War II Veterans

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In the morning hours, before the National Air and Space Museum opens to the public, I’m often in the galleries going about my work among some of the great aviation treasures of the world. At every turn there is an airplane that left its mark on history or pointed the way to the future. It’s   …Continue Reading


Archiving the Arthur C. Clarke Collection

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The National Air and Space Museum Archives recently had the honor of receiving the Arthur C. Clarke Collection. My colleague, space history curator Martin Collins, recently wrote a post about the importance of these materials. As an acquisition archivist for the Museum, I accompanied Martin to Sri Lanka to pack up this historic collection and   …Continue Reading


The Last Hours of MESSENGER

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Today, the MESSENGER spacecraft will succumb to the influence of gravity and impact on the surface of Mercury. Its last orbit correction maneuver was successfully executed on Tuesday, April 28– there’s nothing left in the fuel tank. I’ve been involved in the mission for more than a decade as a member of the science team and   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Apollo Soucek’s High Altitude Flying Helmet

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What did Alaskan Natives contribute to the realm of high altitude flying? Their knowledge of the physics of warmth. When Navy pilot Lt. Apollo Soucek climbed in an open-cockpit Wright XF3W Apache airplane to a world record altitude of 13,160 meters (43,166 feet) on June 4, 1930, he was prepared for the cold temperatures he   …Continue Reading