Almost exactly a year ago, the Museum was approached by Sydney start-up Cuberider with an unusual offer. In December 2016 Cuberider had launched Australia’s first ever payload to the International Space Station (ISS) – a Raspberry Pi computer used to run science experiments designed by high school students around the country.
Inside the Collection
Today, Friday 21st July 2017*, marks 48 years since Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.
You’ve probably seen the image above many times: it is, after all, said to be the most widely reproduced image in history. However, you may not be aware that it was taken during the Apollo 17 mission, NASA’s last lunar landing mission, that came to a successful conclusion 40 years ago today.
This week we have said goodbye to Dr. Sally K. Ride, the first American woman to make a spaceflight and a passionate promoter of science and engineering education for girls, who passed away on July 23 after a seventeen month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Fifty years ago today, on April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into orbit, becoming the first person in space. In the Cold War climate of the times, this event was not only a major technological and scientific achievement, but also a tremendous propaganda victory for the Soviet Union in the Space Race with the United States.
It’s a little known fact that Britain is the only country to have developed its own satellite launch capability and then abandoned it. Britain’s launch vehicle was called Black Arrow and it was launched four times from the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia between 1969 and 1971 before the program was cancelled.
April was a busy month for milestone anniversaries of space events: so busy in fact that I didn’t have time to write this article and post it until now-on the 49th anniversary of the first US Mercury space mission.
Name Kerrie Dougherty What is your speciality area? I’m the museum’s Curator of Space Technology and my areas of interest cover the history of astronautics and space flight, space education and public awareness, and social and cultural responses to space.
Curators at the Powerhouse not only research information about the artefacts in our own collection, from time to time we assist external colleagues with their object research as well. Satellite propulsion engineer Alan Lawrie, author of histories of the Saturn V and Saturn I rockets, contacted the museum seeking information about the F-1 rocket motor in the Space exhibition.
With all the media attention focussed on the Apollo 11 Moon landing 40th anniversary, another space anniversary of particular interest to Australia passed un-noticed in July. Thirty years ago, in the early hours of July 12, 1979, the United States’ first space station, Skylab, re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and broke up scattering debris across the southern Indian Ocean and the south-eastern part of Western Australia.