The History of Spaceflight by David Bryant

On December 19th I attended the Cambridge Astronomy Association Christmas talk, which was entitled The History of Spaceflight by David Bryant. The CAA also laid on Christmas cake to have with our teas and coffees and we also had an annual competition/quiz where we had to guess what 15 strange objects were used for. I found these difficult to guess, but after hearing the actual answers I think I could have actually won as most of my guesses were correct, nevermind there is always next year!

David gave a personal insight into the history spaceflight. He showed us lots of photos of himself together with many famous astronauts, including ten Apollo astronauts of which seven have visited the Moon.

David started by talking about the history of rockets including the use of rockets by the Chinese Mongols in the 13th Century and the Congreve Rocket in 1805.  He also discussed how rockets work, such as how liquid fuel and liquid oxidizer are pumped together.

He also mentioned the v2 and A4 rockets of World War II and how gyroscopic guidance was introduced. Werner Von Braun was said to be a major influence in US missile design in the 1950’s and 1960’s including working on the Redstone and Saturn rockets. It was also mentioned that Sergei Korolev turned the v2 rocket into the R7 rocket.

David’s presentation was good as it included a lot of video content of shuttle and rocket launches. It was good to learn all about the various NASA launches that have been made.

Overall, David was a very interesting speaker and very funny as he told lots of jokes, a speaker I would like to hear more from.

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