Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

Snapshots of Women, and Men, in the Aerospace Industry

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March is Women’s History month and I recently attended several events that offer snapshots of women, and men, in the aerospace industry. In Dallas, Women In Aviation International (WAI) held its 26th annual conference, in Tucson, Arizona, the Pima Air and Space Museum opened a new exhibit entitled Women In Flight, and Southwest Airlines graduated its   …Continue Reading


How Two Cold War Spacewalks Came to a Common Technological Solution

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Wednesday, March 18 marks the 50th anniversary of the first extravehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk, of cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov. Now is a good time to look closely at the choices the USSR and the U.S. made in sending a man outside of the spacecraft. Even though the two countries were locked in competition to gain   …Continue Reading


Reflections on Pi Day, March 14

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Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, has a special place in the annals of space exploration, having among its graduates 23 (and counting) astronauts, including Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, and a host of shuttle crew members, who have flown on more than 40 shuttle missions. Today, March 14, on which we celebrate the number   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick’s Parachute

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In 1964, a woman named Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick donated this parachute, which was handmade by Charles Broadwick and consists of 110 yards of silk, to the Smithsonian’s National Air Museum, precursor to the National Air and Space Museum. Just who was Tiny Broadwick and what is her connection to parachuting? Tiny got her nickname when   …Continue Reading


Happy Birthday to the World’s First Woman in Space

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Happy birthday Valentina Tereshkova! March 6th marks the 78th birthday of the world’s first woman to fly in space. Nearly 52 years ago, beginning on June 16, 1963, Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth for two days inside her Vostok 6 spacecraft—a similar spacecraft to the one that carried Yuri Gagarin into   …Continue Reading