McDowell discussed questions such as: 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 mathematics 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."