Inside the Collection

Steam

Rocketing away!

November 26, 2010

Kerrie Dougherty
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.

Setting a Martian Endurance Record

May 27, 2010

Kerrie Dougherty
On May 20, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity set a new endurance record for operating on the surface of Mars, surpassing the record of six years and 116 days set by NASA’s Viking 1 lander almost 30 years ago.

On loan from the Smithsonian

November 10, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
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.

Skylab debris

October 9, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
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.

Apollo at 40: celebrating the first Moon landing

July 20, 2009

Kerrie Dougherty
Photo courtesy of NASA Forty years ago, on July 21, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 Moon mission, became the first person to set foot on another world. This historic spaceflight marked the culmination of the so-called “Space Race”, one of the major Cold War propaganda battles between the United States and the USSR, which began in 1957, when the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching the first satellite, Sputnik 1.

Matthew Boulton and the Imperial Bank Mint in St Petersburg

June 3, 2009

Debbie Rudder
At first glance, this drawing shows an old building holding a steam engine and other machinery. Then the eye focuses on the figures, men in formal eighteenth century Russian dress; perhaps they are there to provide scale, or to suggest that this is an important building holding important machinery.

Sydney Observatory Star Camera

May 20, 2009

Geoff Barker
I think one of the most underrated curatorial skills is the ability to remain engaged in your current research while at the same time making mental notes of everything that wanders across your field of vision.