Inside the Russian Space Program
Our behind-the-scenes exploration of the Russian space program features a VIP viewing of the manned launch of a Soyuz spacecraft.
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Cathleen Lewis is curator of International Space Programs and Spacesuits at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, specializing in Soviet and Russian programs. Lewis curates Soviet and Russian components of the Space Race exhibition at the Museum. She also has interests in the history of astrobiology and the history of African Americans in aviation and spaceflight. Between 1998-2007 she chaired the museum-wide Collections Committee. In the past, Lewis was chief curator in the development process for a new gallery, Dream to Fly. Her current research is on the history of the public and popular culture of Russian fascination with the idea of human spaceflight in the Soviet Union. She has written about the artifacts in the Smithsonian’s Soviet and Russian collection and has published articles comparing the Soviet and American approaches to exhibiting spaceflight during the Space Race and the history of film portrayals of spaceflight prior to Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight. She is also working on a comparative history of the development of American and Russian spacesuits.
Lewis completed both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Russian and East European Studies at Yale University and completed her dissertation for her PhD in history at George Washington University in 2008. (Her dissertation was on "The Red Stuff: A History of the Public and Material Culture of Early Human Spaceflight in the USSR, 1959-1968.")
David A. Mindell, a historian and electrical engineer, is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing at MIT. He is an expert on human/machine relationships in broad technical, social, and historical context. At MIT, Mindell teaches courses that combine engineering and the history of technology, including a doctoral seminar in engineering systems. For the past fifteen years, Mindell has been combining engineering and historical research into the evolution humans’ relationships to machines. His most recent book, Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight (MIT Press, 2008) examined the computers, automation, and software in the Apollo moon landings their effects on human performance and won the Gardner Lasser award from the American institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He teaches “Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System,” which integrates technical, political, and operational perspectives on the history of space exploration. He has degrees in Literature and in Electrical Engineering from Yale University, and a doctorate in the history of technology from MIT.