Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

“Vengeance Weapon 2”: 70th Anniversary of the V-2 Campaign

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Shortly after 11:00 am on September 8, 1944, there was an explosion on the southeastern outskirts of newly liberated Paris. It killed six people and injured 36 more at Charentonneau à Maison-Alfort. That evening, about 6:43 pm, another explosion took place in Chiswick, in far west London, killing three people and seriously wounding 17. Seconds later   …Continue Reading


Remembering Steven R. Nagel (1946-2014)
Colonel, USAF (Ret.) and Astronaut

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A veteran of four space shuttle flights, Steven Nagel first flew as a mission specialist on Discovery’s fifth trip into space before serving as pilot or commander on his subsequent flights. He was one of only a few astronauts to fly in all three roles. Nagel was a member of the 1978 Astronaut Class 8, the   …Continue Reading


Discovery’s First Mission 30 Years Ago

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Discovery entered service in 1984 as the third orbiter in the space shuttle fleet. Columbia and Challenger had already flown a total of 11 missions as America’s “space truck.” Discovery’s first mission, STS-41D, followed suit as the crew deployed, for the first time, three communications satellites, but it also signaled how the shuttle could serve   …Continue Reading


Discovery’s First Launch: Four Times on the Pad

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Thirty years ago Discovery ascended into space for the first time, after three thwarted launch attempts. Originally scheduled to lift off in June 1984, Discovery launched on August 30 as the twelfth space shuttle mission. The first attempt on June 25 was scrubbed at the routine T-20 minute hold due to error messages from the   …Continue Reading


Remembering the Death of Lt. Joe Kennedy Jr. and America’s First Combat Drones

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Seventy years ago, on August 12, 1944, Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. perished in one of the first American fatalities associated with a pilotless aircraft, which we usually know today as a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The older brother of future president, John F. Kennedy, was taking part in an extraordinary secret war   …Continue Reading