In this final episode of 2020, we welcome author Phil Stamper onto the show for a discussion of adapting space history into fiction for a modern young adult audience, the literary inspirations for his book The Gravity of Us, and the realities LGBTQ+ astronauts faced throughout NASA history from Sally Ride all the way back to the days of Project Mercury.
Welcome to the
Flight Deck Podcast
Listen to all of the Museum’s best aviation and aerospace stories on the Flight Deck Podcast, a podcast that makes history personal. Episodes released every other Tuesday. We hope you enjoy it!!
What happens at the end of the world? Today’s episode is the finale of the playthrough of “Before There Were Stars,” a storytelling game about creating myths based on constellations. Join a team of science educators from around the world as they follow in the footsteps of the ancient storytellers and look to the stars for inspiration and a way to describe the world around them, bringing their stories to a conclusion at the End of Time. This episode will not make much sense unless you first listen to Part 1 of our Before There Were Stars playthrough, which you can check out at this link.
Join a team of storytellers as they look up at the stars to create myths and legends based on what they see. Today’s episode is Part I of a playthrough of the storytelling family game “Before There Were Stars,” featuring science educators from around the world improvising a creation myth based on images seen in an imaginary night sky. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.
We think of history in terms of grand, sweeping events and often forget that actual humans are at the center of it. Today’s episode reminds us that people drive history, everyday people like you and me who are swept up or have to react to these larger events. The discussion centers around Mike Caputo, a World War II B-24 Navigator, and his daughter Yvonne, the woman who helped him open up about the wartime experiences he’d hidden deep inside. While helping her father document his story in his own voice, she forged a stronger connection with him that she carries even today after he’s passed away.
It’s common to hear a visitor to The Museum of Flight wonder how astronauts go to the bathroom in space. Today is the continuation of a conversation with Museum of Flight staff member Brenda Mandt, who spearheads the tours of the Museum’s NASA Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer, where she talks about modern space toilets on the Space Shuttle and on the ISS. She also talks about what did and didn’t about toilet and personal care needs when women joined the US space program. As with the previous episode (which you can listen to here), this is a frank and honest conversation about toilets and what goes in them, so listen to learn more but maybe not while you’re snacking.
“How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?” This is a question we hear often at the Museum, asked by people young and old from all around the world. Host Sean Mobley enlisted Museum of Flight expert Brenda Mandt, one of the masterminds behind the Museum’s NASA Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer Tours, to investigate how humans carry out this universal body function in space. In this first of two episodes, Brenda shares about the early tests and solutions developed for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. They were messy and uncomfortable!
Bill Wilson, a Vietnam Veteran and Museum of Flight Docent, features in this episode of The Flight Deck, sharing his story of bailing out of his crashing General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark just a few miles from Hanoi, the capital of the Communist government of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. Surrounded by hills, jungle, and enemy combatants, Wilson did everything he could to evade capture long enough for a rescue attempt, a situation made more complicated by the constantly changing weather which foiled efforts to extract him.
Museum of Flight Docent Jerry Coy returns to The Flight Deck to share a story of survival behind enemy lines. When Captain Roger Locher’s McDonnell F-4 Phantom was hit by fire from a Vietnamese MiG-21, he safely bailed out…only to realize he was months away by foot from safety, and was deep in Communist territory, making an air rescue extremely dangerous. In order to extract him, the Air Force would have to essentially “pause” the war. Today’s episode details Locher’s saga deep in the northern reaches of Vietnam.
Wrapping up the Collections miniseries, today we’re looking at the oldest artifact in our archives. To find it, we need to go back behind-the-scenes, into the Rare Book Room of the Museum’s Harl V. Brackin library to find an object that predates the US Constitution.
Located in the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, an exhibit space dedicated to modern space exploration, you’ll find the youngest artifact in our collection: An American flag flown to space on the historic Blue Origin New Shepard NS-3 Launch. In today’s episode of the Flight Deck, we’ll take a look at the flag and it’s story, and also learn why stories are at the heart of any museum…and how the stories told in museums have changed over time.