Meet What’s-His-Name, the Apollo Astronaut You’ve Never Heard Of

By Amy Shira Teitel | June 20, 2017 2:33 pm

Donn Eisele on board Apollo 7. NASA.

There are some astronauts we know a lot about, or at least whose names are familiar, like Neil or Buzz (as in Armstrong and Aldrin, the first men on the Moon). More nerdy space fans will also recognize the names Gene and Pete (as is Cernan and Conrad). But what about Donn, is Eisele? Donn Eisele — whose last name is pronounced Eyes-lee, not Eye-zell — is a fascinating character who flew on the first Apollo mission but most people have never heard of him. Read More

MORE ABOUT: space exploration

How Verbs and Nouns Got Apollo to the Moon

By Amy Shira Teitel | June 15, 2017 3:53 pm
The DSKY in action. NASA.

The DSKY in action. NASA.

The Apollo guidance computer did a lot with a little, but the idea that your cell phone has more computer power is a little off. Yes, a smartphone can hold more information but it doesn’t exactly have the software to get you to the Moon. But the comparatively weaker Apollo guidance computer (AGC) did, and though it didn’t have a keyboard and monitor like your desktop, it did speak in the familiar language we use every day of nouns and verbs.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Technology
MORE ABOUT: Apollo, History, Moon, NASA

Welcome to Vintage Space!

By Amy Shira Teitel | June 1, 2017 6:18 pm

The Earth from the Moon on Apollo 8, 1968. NASA.

You might think the story of the Space Race is straightforward. That NASA was created one day so the United States could start sending things and people into space, and when it turned out that the Soviet Union had more advanced technologies — it did get the first satellite and human into orbit — President Kennedy decided we should go to the Moon. By the end of the decade, no less. Then NASA did what it does best: solved the problem. It launched Mercury orbital flights, then longer and more complicated Gemini missions, then Apollo went to the Moon. 

That is a good story, but it’s also the ultimate oversimplification. Digging into the details to build the whole story is what Vintage Space is all about — the abandoned paths and programs, the uncelebrated heroes, and the tiny but fascinating details that are lost in popular retellings. And it gets bigger from there. Vintage Space is also about the technologies that predate NASA and the echoes those vintage technologies still have today. Read More

MORE ABOUT: History, NASA, Vintage Space

Vintage Space

Vintage Space is all about digging into the minutia of the space age. Rather than retelling glossy stories of astronauts, Vintage Space peels back that veneer to look at the real stories -- the innovations that failed, the unrealized technologies, and the human elements that are less publicity-friendly so often remain buried. Gaining a clear picture of spaceflight's past ultimately helps us understand our present position in space and have a more realistic expectation of what the future might bring.

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