Thursday, June 20th, 2019
Monday, June 17th, 2019
Take a tour of the Lunar Module.
The LM (or “LEM”, as it’s pronounced) has the appearance of an aeronautical joke, with not a trace of streamlining. Instead, it’s an insect-like asymmetrical collection of legs, angles, bulges, and surfaces that’s very hard to visualize. Frankly, it looks like it was thrown together on a Friday afternoon by someone in a hurry to go fishing.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019
Ah, what a wonderful treasure trove this is! PDF scans of Apollo era press kits from a range of American companies.
- Official NASA
- Lunar Module
There’s something so fascinating about the mundane details of Isolation/Quarantine Foods for Apollo 11 Astronauts from Stouffer’s.
Thursday, January 31st, 2019
The cosmonaut counterparts of the Mercury women astronauts: Zhanna Yorkina, Irina Solovyova, Tatyana Kuznetsova, Valentina Ponomareva, and Valentina Tereshkova.
Ponomareva recalled there being no envy between the women in the squad. According to her, it was a healthy spirit of competition. Everyone did their best to be number one, but also supported each other’s efforts.
One of those cosmonauts went to space: none of the women training for the Mercury missions did. There would be a shockingly gap of twenty years between the launch of Valentina Tereshkova and the launch of Sally Ride.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
This is so wonderful! A 3D fly-through of the Apollo 11 command module, right in your browser. It might get your fan whirring, but it’s worth it.
Click through for lots of great details on the interface controls, like which kinds of buttons and switches were chosen for which tasks.
And there’s this lovely note scrawled near the sextant by Michael Collins (the coolest of all the astronauts):
Spacecraft 107, alias Apollo 11, alias ‘Columbia.’ The Best Ship to Come Down the Line. God Bless Her.
Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
A selection from an ongoing photography project—seven years and counting—leading up to the launch of the Orion project.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
A brief history of space concept art—Norman Rockwell, Chesney Bonestell, Robert McCall, Pat Rawlings, David Meltzer …all the classics.
Saturday, March 5th, 2016
The voice of MOL
The latest issue of Spaceflight—the magazine of the British Interplanetary Society—dropped through my door, adding to my weekend reading list. This issue contains a “whatever happened to” article about the military personnel who were supposed to crew the never-realised MOL project.
Before Salyut, Skylab, Mir, or the ISS, the Manned Orbital Laboratory was the first proposed space station. It would use a Gemini capsule and a Titan propellant tank.
But this wasn’t to be a scientific endeavour. The plan was to use the MOL as a crewed spy satellite—human eyes in the sky watching the enemy below.
The MOL was cancelled (because uncrewed satellites were getting better at that sort of thing), so that particular orbital panopticon never came to pass.
I remember when I first heard of the MOL and I was looking it up on Wikipedia, that this little nugget of information stood out to me:
The MOL was planned to use a helium-oxygen atmosphere.
That’s right: instead of air (21% oxygen, 79% nitrogen), the spies in the sky would be breathing heliox (21% oxygen, 79% helium). Considering the effect that helium has on the human voice, I can only imagine that the grave nature of the mission would have been somewhat compromised.
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the Millennium Falcon, wrapped up in one unsurprisingly insanely detailed essay from Michael.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
A fantastic new site from Ariel and Lisa: a collection of probes that are out in space right now, with oodles of facts for each mission and links through to more resources. SCIENCE!
Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
This is basically porn for me.
Bernal spheres, Stanford tori, and O’Neill cylinders, oh my!
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Tech specs for a spacecraft that doesn’t exist (yet).
Saturday, August 18th, 2012
The Ballardian beauty of a dying Baikonour.
Saturday, March 24th, 2012
I want to go to there!
This is what Photoshop is for. Be sure to watch the slideshow.
Sunday, September 18th, 2011
A gallery of all your standard space stations: the Stanford Torus, the Bernal Sphere and the O’Neill Cylinder.
Sunday, August 21st, 2011
A joint effort by the Tau Zero Foundation and the British Interplanetary Society to research the design of an interstellar spacecraft.