Author Archives: asteitel

About asteitel

Space historian, blogger, and writer.

John Glenn: The Man Behind the Hero

Today marks the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 flight. While he looked and played the part of the heroic astronaut, he wasn’t NASA’s first choice to make the first flight. How Glenn ended up flying this historic mission … Continue reading

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A Manned Mission to Venus

Before the Apollo program had even started manned flights, NASA was looking forward and planning its post-lunar missions. A new goal using existing hardware developed for the lunar program was ideal, so NASA commissioned a study on possible application of … Continue reading

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The Life and Times of Pluto

Astronomy has a fascinating and ongoing history. As planets are discovered around other stars, our understanding of the universe and our place within it changes. But we don’t need to look to other stars to understand the impact of astronomical … Continue reading

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A Natural History of the Dyna-Soar

Dyna-Soar might be one of my favourite lost programs from the early space age if only because of its prophetic name (expect maybe the USAF’s Man In Space Soonest program that “miss”ed the mark). Beginning as a manned antipodal bomber … Continue reading

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This Decade on Mars

This past March, the National Research Council’s Committee on the Planetary Science and NASA released a survey outlining goals for planetary exploration for the coming decade. From 2013 to 2022, Mars and the search for life will take centre stage. New missions launching … Continue reading

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The Real Apollo 18

Everybody loves a good conspiracy story, and the recently released Apollo 18 offers a great one about a secret mission to the Moon that went terribly wrong necessitating a massive government cover up. The movie goes in insane directions, but … Continue reading

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Developing, Flying, and Losing the Rogallo Wing

Over at Vintage Space, I’ve been talking a lot about landing methods and why splashdowns were never a long-term method of returning from space. Of all landing systems NASA ever considered, my favourite is the Rogallo wing – the inflatable … Continue reading

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Updates from Vintage Space

A lot has been going on over at Vintage Space in the last few weeks. Here’s a brief recap of recent articles. (Left, President Kennedy and Wernher von Braun with a model Saturn IV rocket.) On April 12, 1961, Yuri … Continue reading

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Overview of Vintage Space

I’ve added a new page to Vintage Space. The Overview page is meant to give readers who are less familiar with topics in space history a guide to the chronology of the space age. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive … Continue reading

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Gagarin and the Enigmatic Vostok 1

April 12, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1 flight. Only four years after Sputnik ignited the space age, Gagarin became the first man to venture into space; the mission lasted 108 minutes and he made one orbit … Continue reading

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