Author Archives: Paul Ceruzzi

Good-bye “Beyond the Limits,” Hello “Time and Navigation”

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We have been reminded that the retirement of the space shuttle is not only the end of an era, it is also the beginning of a new phase of human space exploration, with new launch vehicles, destinations, and technology. I don’t wish to make too much of the comparison, but there is a parallel in   …Continue Reading


Ballistic Missile Guidance on your Cell Phone?

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If you don’t already own one, you’ve no doubt seen advertisements for them on television. I am referring to so-called “smartphones,” which can change the orientation of their display, from Portrait to Landscape, depending on how you hold them. They can do that because they contain a fingernail-sized chip inside, which senses the acceleration of   …Continue Reading


The Mystery of the Massively Parallel Processor

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Several months ago, according to statistics that measure the public’s access to the museum’s collections via our web site, the one artifact on exhibit at the Udvar-Hazy Center that our online users visited the most was….the Massively Parallel Processor. The what? The Massively Parallel Processor, or MPP, is a pair of large blue boxes crammed   …Continue Reading


Trajectories of Space Flight (Part Two)

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In a previous blog post, I discussed the influence that Wernher von Braun had on the vision of the way that human space travel would progress, from brief flights into space to long duration missions to Mars.  To continue that discussion: Wernher von Braun envisioned the space station to be something quite different from the   …Continue Reading


This Android is no Dummy

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First of all there is a question of just what to call this device. Is it a “dummy”? That’s what its creators called it sometimes, but that sounds too pejorative and does not give credit to its complexity. Is it a “robot”? That’s what it looks like. Or is it an “android,” defined by the   …Continue Reading