In the mid-1960s, before anything had soft-landed on the Moon but well into Apollo’s development towards the lunar landing, NASA engineers started figuring out what a roving vehicle for extended surface exploration might look like. …


You know that scene at the end of the Martian where Matt Damon pokes a hole in his glove and uses the force the escaping gas to rendezvous with his crew like he’s Ironman? …


Splashdowns are iconic of the Apollo era. Pictures of astronauts being plucked out of the water or waving from recovery carriers are synonymous with the successful end of a mission. But have you ever wondered just how many men it took to pluck one astronaut out of the water?

A…


The Voyager spacecraft famously flew by the giants in the 1970s and 1980s. NASA.

Gravity assists, sometimes called flybys, are a big part of space exploration. These precision maneuvers involve harnessing a planet’s gravity to accelerate and direct a spacecraft to some far-flung destination so the spacecraft can go further without a big and heavy propulsion system. …


In the mid-1960s, NASA began planning what audacious goal it could take on after successfully landing on the Moon. One idea that gained a fair amount of traction was a manned mission to Venus, or a manned mission to Venus and Mars with a single launch, depending on the specific…


In August of 1956, CIA and Air Force planners began exploring a follow-up plane to the U-2. On February 28, 1962, that plane, the A-12, arrived at Area 51 to begin flight testing. But by then, the U-2 had been exposed to the world after Gary Powers’ downing and public…


The U-2 was meant to be America’s greatest espionage asset against the Soviet Union, invisible to radar and out of reach of missiles. But its first flights in July of 1956 revealed it was neither invisible nor, likely, invincible. To maintain a technological edge over the Soviets, the CIA and…


After Gary Powers’s U-2 was downed on May 1, 1960, it became impossible for the United States to continue photographing the Soviet Union. But the need for Soviet intelligence didn’t change — it remained paramount to American national security to know what was happening beyond the Iron Curtain. …


The U-2 spy plane was supposed to disintegrate in a crash. It was supposed to leave no debris that could be traced back to the United States, and the pilot was expected to the be killed. Nothing was meant to survive a fall from 70,000 feet with secrets intact. It…


Chuck Yeager, best known as the first man to fly faster than sound, passed away this week. The aviation community felt the loss of this giant, though, at 97, no one could say he didn’t live life to the fullest. In researching my latest book, Fighting for Space, I teased…

Amy Shira Teitel

Historian and author of Fighting for Space (February 2020) from Grand Central Publishing. Also public speaker, TV personality, and YouTuber. [The Vintage Space]

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