Category Archives: History

Apollo 11: 50 Years On

On 16th July 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off in a Saturn V rocket from Cape Kennedy in Florida, headed for the Moon. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin – in their lunar … Continue reading

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Hillsborough: 30 Years On

Last Monday, the fifteenth of April, saw the thirtieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, when what should have been an enjoyable day out for thousands of football fans turned into a horrific and avoidable catastrophe that saw ninety-six people dead … Continue reading

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The Black Arrow: When Britain Launched A Satellite

In the news this week, the battered first stage of a Black Arrow rocket has arrived in Scotland, after spending over forty-seven years resting in the Australian outback, where it crashed down following its successful launch. But what’s so special about this … Continue reading

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Disasters: The Kegworth Air Disaster

This week has marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Kegworth air disaster, a plane crash on British soil caused by a long chain of mistakes. At 7:52pm on Sunday 8th January 1989, British Midland Flight 092 – a new Boeing … Continue reading

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Apollo 8: 50 Years On

Fifty years ago, the Apollo 8 mission gave the world an especially exciting Christmas, as it became the first ever manned space flight to leave Earth orbit and travel to the Moon. The crew of Apollo 8 consisted of commander … Continue reading

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R.I.P. Alan Bean

Yesterday, it was announced that another Apollo moonwalker has sadly passed away: Apollo 12 lunar module pilot, Alan LaVern Bean. Born in Wheeler, Texas in 1932, Bean was a US Navy test pilot when he was selected for NASA’s third … Continue reading

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Explorer 1: 60 Years On

I’ve already talked about the first two artificial satellites in history, Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2, both launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. But what about the Soviets’ Cold War rivals, the United States? Their first successful satellite, Explorer … Continue reading

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R.I.P. John Young

Today, I was deeply saddened to learn that one of my favourite astronauts, John Young, has passed away at the age of 87. And in this post, I’d like to briefly go over what a truly exceptional career he had. … Continue reading

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Sputnik 2: 60 Years On

On 3rd November 1957, a month after Sputnik 1, the Soviet Union launched the second man-made satellite into Earth orbit: Sputnik 2. It was a very different construction from its predecessor: cone-shaped, 4 metres tall and weighing 508kg, it also … Continue reading

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Sputnik 1: 60 Years On

Today, there are thousands of artificial satellites orbiting Earth; so many, in fact, that debris is becoming a significant problem for space activities and there are fears that it might eventually prevent us from doing anything in low Earth orbit. … Continue reading

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