Setting Fires In Space

The Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment aboard the ISS seeks to teach scientists about fire in space. Microgravity environments cause things, like fire, to behave differently. Add in the oxygen enriched atmospheres of spacecraft and fire can be a real problem. If we are going to send humans on multi-year journeys […]

Spaceheads, Technostalgia

Rocket Sled Revival

Rocket sleds are damn cool. Originally, rocket sleds were used by the Air Force and NASA to study ejection seats, missiles, model aircraft and the affects of acceleration and deceleration on the human body. As our understanding of aircraft and ejection systems increased along with computing power, the need for rocket sleds began diminishing. Several were closed, several were sold to private owners and universities, and one at Edwards AFB was even dismantled to extend another one at Holloman AFB. However, this retro-tech has found a new use within the walls of NASA — testing supersonic decelerators.

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The ’50s and ’60s was a time of rapid development. NASA was working on getting man into space and on to the moon. Everything was fair game. Including the lowly parachute.

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Before You Fly You Roll

It was 36 years ago today that the first space shuttle, OV-101 Enterprise, rolled out of its manufacturing facility in Palmdale, CA. NASA had intended to name the first of its new space planes Constitution and unveil it on Constitution Day (September 17). However, that restless and semi-insane group known collectively as Trekkies […]


Put Your Toys Away Or They’ll Catch Fire

That is JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa standing in the International Space Station with a Lego model of the International Space Station. Hipster mind asplode.
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Passing Through Customs

The United States Customs Service was formed in July 1789 as a result of the Tariff Act of July 4, 1789. The new nation was in debt after beating the Brits and needed to generate revenue. Since many goods were still imported, tariffs on imported goods looked like a target rich environment to the First Congress. The Customs Service was the primary revenue generator for the US government for over 100 years. The revenues collected by Customs paid for the Transcontinental Railroad, the Louisiana Purchase, Alaska, lighthouses, the military academies, and many more infrastructure and expansionist endeavors.
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Oblique Wing Aircraft

Between 1979 and 1982 NASA actually flew this bizarre aircraft. The AD-1 was a proof of concept test plane for a theory that an oblique wing that pivoted up to 60 degrees about the body of the aircraft would provide much more efficient operation for supersonic aircraft, particularly the still-a-dream supersonic transport.

The […]