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Tag Archives: NASA

The World’s First Space Rendezvous

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Fifty years ago, on December 15, 1965, Gemini VI and VII met for the first rendezvous in space. This was not NASA’s original plan. Gemini VI, commanded by Mercury astronaut Wally Schirra and piloted by Tom Stafford, was supposed to have orbited on October 25, to rendezvous and dock with an Agena target vehicle. But   …Continue Reading


Remembering Robert Willard Farquhar

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Robert Willard Farquhar Mission Designer, Flight Director, Deep-Space Navigator 1932–2015 Known for devising innovative and intricate spacecraft trajectories, and for his whole-hearted dedication to robotic space exploration, Robert “Bob” Farquhar left a strong impression on the American space program. His career in aerospace began in the late 1950s, at the dawn of the age of   …Continue Reading


Apollo Guidance Computer and the First Silicon Chips

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Put all your eggs in one basket—AND WATCH THAT BASKET!       – Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar (1897), Chapter 15 As the Apollo program took form in the early 1960s, NASA engineers always kept the safety of their astronauts at the fore in light of the enormous risks they knew were inherent in   …Continue Reading


We All Scream – Even in Space – for Ice Cream

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It’s 98 degrees and 74% humidity outside. Beads of sweat start gathering above your brow. In seconds, those beads balloon and begin a hurried descent to your neck, then your back, until finally you’re soaked. You’re a man-made wonder; a moving, breathing, t-shirt-wearing Niagara Falls. As anyone who has ever braved the hot asphalt to chase down   …Continue Reading


First Mission to Pluto: The Difficult Birth of New Horizons

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As we await the exciting results of New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto on July 14, it is all too easy to think that this mission was inevitable: the capstone to NASA’s spectacular exploration of all the planets (and ex-planets) of the solar system since the 1960s. Yet, it proved extraordinarily difficult to sustain a Pluto   …Continue Reading