AidSpace Blog

Category Archives: History

Obscure Objects: Presidential Writings Reveal Early Interest in Ballooning

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Lots of museums and historical institutions have letters from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in their collection, but why would a museum dedicated to aviation, space exploration, and planetary science? Ballooning, that’s why. The advent of human flight started in June 1783 in France. Two brothers named Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier demonstrated the first hot-air   …Continue Reading


Black Wings: The Life of African American Aviation Pioneer William Powell

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When African American pilot, engineer, and entrepreneur William Powell was a young adult, even the skies were segregated. Many would-be African American pilots, such as first licensed African American pilot Bessie Coleman, were forced to go to France for pilot training and licenses issued by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. According to a June 12, 2012 article in   …Continue Reading


The NACA/NASA Full Scale Wind Tunnel

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The Scene: A new wind tunnel, the NACA Full Scale Tunnel at the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Hampton, Virginia The Time: May 27, 1931 The Action: A Navy Vought O3U-1 “Corsair II” –the whole airplane—is mounted in the wind tunnel. The airplane engine is turned on, and shortly the airplane is “flying” at 120   …Continue Reading


Fans of the National Air and Space Museum

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Eighteenth century ladies fans are not something visitors normally expect to encounter in the National Air and Space Museum. Nevertheless, we have them! The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection, acquired in 2014 thanks to the generosity of the Norfolk Charitable Trust, includes over 1,000 works of art, prints, posters, objects, manuscripts, and   …Continue Reading


Vance Marchbanks’ Contribution to Public Health Policy on Sickle Cell Disease

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Dr. Vance Marchbanks, Jr. is famous in both the black history and aerospace history communities for his accomplishments as one of the first in his field. He was one of two black MDs to complete the United States Army Air Corps School in Aerospace Medicine at the beginning of World War II. His fame continued   …Continue Reading