Category Archives: Space Exploration

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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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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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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Landings and Launches

Landing a spacecraft isn’t easy, especially when you’re landing on another planet. Aside from the challenges of a remote landing (i.e. landing without astronauts on board) are the challenges presented by the target planet’s environment.  Mars is a great example. … Continue reading

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Not exactly Rocket Science

Before computers could generate predictions of how various spacecraft designs would fare, say, during a fiery reentry from space, NASA used some more basic methods. In selecting the ultimate design for the Mercury capsule, engineers used now-antiquated techniques. They dropped … Continue reading

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The Space Shuttle Era, Winding Down

The space shuttle Discovery is currently on its final mission. Only two more flight remain for the shuttle program as a whole – it will, in all likelihood, be finished by the end of the year. NASA anticipated great things … Continue reading

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