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September 2, 2005

Dr. Jonathan McDowell to Talk on "Dawn of the Space Age" on Sept. 13

Dr. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist, will talk on "Dawn of the Space Age" at the Library of Congress from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the Science, Technology and Business Division, is free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required.

McDowell will retell the story of the first five years of the Space Age, from 1957 to 1961, using once-secret materials declassified in the 1990s by the United States and the former Soviet Union. He will discuss the following questions: Where does space begin? Whose rockets were really more reliable? Was the contemporary perception of a Soviet lead correct? Who invented the "apogee kick motor" (a rocket motor that sends the craft into orbit)?

McDowell is an astrophysicist in the Science Data Systems Planning Group in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which is based at Harvard University. He received a degree in math from Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and a doctorate from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge.

McDowell writes a monthly column for Sky and Telescope Magazine and a weekly e-mail-distributed newsletter, Jonathan’s Space Report. He is currently writing a book on the history of the space program.

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PR 05-185
ISSN 0731-3527

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