NASA

50th anniversary of first spacewalks

Air and Space

Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy (pictured) and Tom Marshburn (out of frame) completed a spacewalk on May 11, 2013, to inspect and replace a pump controller box on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first spacewalks in 1965, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC is launching a new exhibition, “Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extravehicular Activity.

The exhibit runs from January 8 through June 8, 2015 and includes artifacts, personal accounts and photographs, including the impressive images shared here.

The first spacewalks were taken by Aleksei Leonov (on March 18, 1965) and Edward White (June 3, 1965) in the spring of 1965 and, since then, more than 200 astronauts and cosmonauts have logged more than 1,000 hours walking and working outside spacecraft.

According to a NASA story on spacewalking, when ordered to climb back inside the Gemini spacecraft in 1965, Ed White, America’s first spacewalker said it was “the saddest moment of my life.”

White had spent more than half an hour floating freely in space.

NASA reports that some astronauts liken walking in space to being underwater. And astronaut John Herrington, veteran of three spacewalks totaling almost 20 on the STS-113 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, pointed out that the simulated trained he received didn’t prepare him for the smell of space. Astronauts say the burnt metal smell of space lingers on spacesuits after they come inside.

space walking

The gloves were constructed of an outer shell of Chromel-R fabric with thermal insulation to provide protection while handling extremely hot or cold objects. The blue fingertips were made of silicone rubber to provide sensitivity. Credit: National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution

According to the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, “EVA changed the nature of human spaceflight. It made possible walking on the Moon, servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, and building the International Space Station [and] remains crucial to our ongoing presence in space.”

At Seattle’s World Fair: space was the place

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair — an event shaped by the Soviet Union’s launch of sputnik, President Eisenhower’s creation of NASA and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon.

I’ve been working on a series of short radio pieces about the fair with public radio station KUOW and Jack Straw Productions and had lots of fun working on this piece we’ve titled “Space the Place,” which includes parts of my interview with astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, who attended the fair when she was 13 years old and already certain that she’d make her way into space.

Please give a listen and let me know what you think.

The project is funded by 4Culture in Seattle.

NASA: savvy art collector

Turns out NASA hasn’t been focusing all its energy on poking around in space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has also been creating a unique and, now, very valuable art collection.

Chirs and Batty Explore Space, by Willam Wegman

Chip and Batty Explore Space, by William Wegman. Courtesy NASA Art Program

 

It started back in 1962 with the creation of the NASA Art Program and ever since then the agency has been inviting well known artists to document the space program.

The work includes paintings, drawings photographs, sculptures and other media by the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, William Wegman (above) and Jamie Wyeth.

Curious to see what they’ve got? Starting Saturday, May 28, 2011, more than 70 pieces from the collection go on view in Washington, D.C. at the National Air and Space Museum.

Here are a few more samples:
Grissom and Young, by Norman Rockwell

This 1965 painting by Norman Rockwell shows astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom suiting up for the first flight of the Gemini program in March 1965. As in the William Wegman photo above, NASA loaned Norman Rockwell a spacesuit so the work would be as accurate as possible.

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Space Shuttle Columbia rises from Kennedy Space Center on its third flight into space, on March 22, 1982.

These and close to 70 other space-related art pieces from NASA’s collection are on display as part of NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. May 28 – October 9, 2011.

Thanks, NASA!