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AirSpace

Author: National Air and Space Museum

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The National Air and Space Museum contains the largest and most significant collection of air- and spacecraft in the world. Behind those amazing machines are thousands of stories of human achievement, failure, and perseverance. Join Emily, Matt, and Nick as they demystify one of the world’s most visited museums and explore why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation, and discovery.
34 Episodes
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What’s He Building?

What’s He Building?

2019-08-0800:19:32

Alt title: ADAM SAVAGE IS IN THIS EPISODE! Today we’re talking about a really cool project that brought together one former-Mythbuster, a couple of Smithsonian units, and makers across the country to reimagine an incredible piece of Apollo engineering.  The hatch (aka door) on the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia is SUPER complex and basically irresistible if you’re into solving mechanical puzzles – so much so that master builders Adam Savage and Jen Schachter wanted to recreate it with the help of a few dozen friends. They brought together 44 artists and engineers from across the country to fabricate individual components of the hatch using 3D-scan data from the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office. Then Adam and team assembled it live at the Museum in DC during the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. On this episode we hear what happens when lasers, power tools, and a live studio audience (safely) collide!P.S. Want to build your own Apollo 11 hatch? Visit 3d.si.edu/apollo11cmhatch to view the 3D model and download the .stl files and drawings used by the Project Egress team. Post your photos and tag #ProjectEgress!
Night Witches

Night Witches

2019-07-2500:18:50

Today (tonight?) we’re talking about a chilling chapter from flight history— Night Bomber Regiment 588. They were a group of about 80 Soviet women who flew combat missions during World War II. Led by famous Russian pilot Marina Raskova, these fearless aviatrixes would fly across German lines under cover of darkness and drop bombs from their rickety crop-duster bi-planes, striking targets on the ground and terror in the hearts of their enemies. They became so feared by the German army that they were dubbed the die Nachthexen, or the Night Witches. This isn’t a lame Halloween story, this is badass history.
Walking on the Moon Part 2

Walking on the Moon Part 2

2019-07-1100:29:21

Next week is the 50th anniversary of our first steps on the Moon! In our last exciting episode, we explored all the science the Apollo astronauts performed on the lunar surface. In part two, we’re talking about the important science still happening with Apollo Moon rocks here on Earth a half-century later. Of all the 842 pounds of lunar material the astronauts collected up there, three samples were sealed away for scientists to study far in the future. And the future is now! We’ll speak to two scientists from NASA Goddard who will be working with the heretofore sealed samples, which are still in pristine, untouched condition from when astronauts of yesteryear plucked them off our nearest celestial neighbor. And Emily speaks to Lunar geologist Dr. Jennifer Whitten who’s working on a proposal to send a rover back to the Moon to carry on Apollo’s legacy of lunar exploration. Lunar science of the future happens now!
Walking on the Moon Part 1

Walking on the Moon Part 1

2019-06-2700:26:391

50 years ago this July, humans set foot on the Moon for the first time. You probably know the highlights – Kennedy’s moonshot challenge, Armstrong’s first small steps, three astronauts returned safely to Earth – but there was more to the Apollo program than getting there and back. When we landed Americans on the Moon, there was a lot we didn’t know about our nearest celestial neighbor. Would the astronauts sink into the lunar dust like quicksand? Would they encounter extraterrestrial germs and bring them back to infect the Earth? What would could rocks and dirt (regolith, actually) tell us about how the Moon formed? To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, AirSpace examines what we knew then, what we know now, and what mysteries of lunar science still remain. And we’ll admit, we’re just a *little *excited about the upcoming anniversary. So much so, this is part ONE of TWO.
Rock on the Moon

Rock on the Moon

2019-06-1300:18:191

What music would you take along on a quarter-million mile road trip? For the crew of Apollo 11, it was a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a little bit of… theremin?! In this episode, Emily, Matt, and Nick discuss the music of the cosmos, or at least what makes a good lunar soundtrack. Matt interviews one of his childhood heroes—Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull—who breaks down his song inspired by Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot (and first director of the National Air and Space Museum!), Michael Collins. And we find out what visitors to the world’s largest space party would put on their Moonshot mixtape.   
Help!

Help!

2019-05-2300:28:34

Some of the world’s best pilots are the ones you hope never to see. They fly into places too dangerous for others to navigate, braving extremes to save human lives. In this episode, we’re talking about air rescue. Nick speaks to Chris Kilgore, a Coast Guard search and rescue pilot who evacuated survivors from an oil tanker collision in Galveston Bay. And we hear from AirSpace listener and air ambulance pilot Brian Shaw who serves remote communities in Canada, sometimes flying into airports that are not much more than a clearing in the trees.Be advised, this episode contains dramatic rescue stories and has descriptions that some listeners might find disturbing.
Big Iron

Big Iron

2019-05-0900:12:01

Space exploration is a geocentric endeavor. Everywhere we look in the solar system, we learn something new about Earth. Scientists believe our planet has a metallic inner core, but we can’t exactly crack it open and check. Instead, NASA is sending a mission to an asteroid named Psyche, which appears to be a nickel-iron planetary core a lot like the one at the center of the Earth. Heavy metal fans Emily and Matt discuss this mission to pick up the pieces of an early protoplanet to better understand the ground beneath our feet.Special thanks to: Exzel Music Publishing for use of Chopin Scherzo no.1, also Noise Noir, Bristol Stories and Scampsie.
AirSpace Live at SXSW

AirSpace Live at SXSW

2019-04-2500:22:20

In this special episode recorded at SXSW, Emily, Matt, and Nick recount stories of failure and how they’ve inspired a whole lot of success in science and space exploration. From how the failed Concorde led to important scientific research and a better understanding of our world, to how the crew of Apollo 13 overcame malfunction by having simulated every possible scenario, the hosts explore how failure doesn’t always mean catastrophe. And special guest Bobak Ferdowsi from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory discusses how the NASA culture embraces the possibility of failure by testing and planning for every conceivable outcome.Special thanks to our host, the Aerospace Industries Association!
Hail to the Chief

Hail to the Chief

2019-04-1100:31:361

On this episode of AirSpace we’re talking about the most *exclusive *form of public transportation – presidential flight. When you’re the President, flying on Air Force One has its perks, but what about when you’re the one at the controls? And what’s it like to hitch a ride on one of the most recognizable aircraft on Earth?Air Force historian Dr. Brian Laslie explains how Air Force One became an icon of aviation, and former NPR White House reporter Scott Horsley talks about his experience riding in the press cabin (spoiler – no checkedluggage!). And Nick caught up with former Marine One pilot Matt Howard who recounted what it’s like to fly the President in good times and during one of the worst times imaginable.
BONUS BRIEFING

BONUS BRIEFING

2019-03-2900:07:48

As you may have heard, astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were scheduled to perform a spacewalk today. It would have been the first all-woman spacewalk in history. Based on feedback from McClain following her March 22 spacewalk, NASA decided to alter the astronaut assignments. Why the change? AirSpace hosts Emily, Matt, and Nick break down the multiple factors at play.
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