Jonathan McDowell—Grandmaster Archivist of the Space Age

Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts whose “day job” is a member of the Chandra X-ray Center, using the eponymous spacecraft to study energetic processes in the universe. For decades, he has edited and published Jonathan’s Space Report on the Internet, covering all forms of space activity from sounding rocket launches to deep space missions. He compiles and maintains the General Catalog of Artificial Space Objects (GCAT), the world’s most comprehensive database of objects launched into space.

In the course of his research, he has assembled an enormous collection of original documents covering space programs around the globe. In this conversation with the Foresight Institute Space Group, he takes the members on a tour of the collection, highlighting some of the many obscure items he has discovered in years of exploring archives of space projects.

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Here is Jonathan McDowell’s quick take on the Starship test flight in an interview with Deutsche Welle’s English service.