'A Proud Legacy': Remembering Atlantis on 30th Anniversary of Maiden Flight (Part 1)

Atlantis alights on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida at 5:57 a.m. EDT on 21 July 2011, wrapping up a remarkable 33-mission career. Photo Credit: NASA/Kenny Allen

In the pre-dawn darkness of 21 July 2011, the small black-and-white dot of Atlantis glided smoothly into […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 2)

For the final time in the 30-year shuttle program, Endeavour’s engines blaze for their Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) on 6 April 1992. Photo Credit: NASA

“Three engines up. All going well.”

Thirty years ago, last week, the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) of the orbiter Atlantis roared to life and burned fiercely for […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 1)

Each shuttle was powered by a trio of RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). These were test-fired before each orbiter’s maiden voyage, during the Flight Readiness Firing (FRF). Image Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne

“And we have a Go for Autosequence Start. Atlantis’ on-board computers now controlling the final sequence.”

Thirty years ago, last week, NASA […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 2)

Spectacular view of Hurricane Marilyn, centered over the Caribbean Sea, during the STS-69 mission in September 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades have now passed since an 11-day period in September 1995, when the “Dogs of War” barked, woofed, and yelped their way through a remarkable mission which put virtually all of the space […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 1)

Mike Gernhardt, pictured during his EVA with fellow astronaut Jim Voss, on STS-69. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 7 September 1995—20 years ago, last week—five astronauts, clad in bulky orange pressure suits, departed the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), bound for Pad 39A and their ride […]

'A Heck of a Push': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 2)

The sheer size of the 15,000-pound (6,800-kg) Leasat-3 satellite is illustrated in this view of James “Ox” van Hoften manhandling it into space on Mission 51I. Photo Credit: NASA

For Dick Covey, the instant Space Shuttle Discovery broke the shackles of Earth on the cusp of daybreak on 27 August 1985 had been a […]

'Winging It': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 1)

In a triumphant ending to a triumphant space salvage, James “Ox” van Hoften strikes a Charles Atlas pose on the end of the shuttle’s RMS mechanical arm, seemingly hoisting the world on his shoulders. Photo Credit: NASA

When Discovery touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in […]

Venus, Unmasked: 25 Years Since the Arrival of Magellan at Earth's Evil Twin

Radar image of the northern hemisphere of Venus, taken by the Magellan spacecraft. During its 50 months in orbit around Earth’s evil twin, which began 25 years ago today, Magellan radar-mapped 98 percent of the surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Twenty-five years ago, today, a spacecraft slipped silently into orbit around Venus to begin an […]

'Return to Flight, Not Rush to Flight': 10 Years Since Discovery Came Safely Home to Earth (Part 1)

Discovery sits on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 9 August 2005, after completing STS-114, the first post-Columbia shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years have now passed since the first space shuttle streaked safely back to Earth on 9 August 2005, in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. The crew of […]

Orbital ATK Signs Contract to Provide Launch Abort Motor for Orion

From ESA: "The ESA-provided European Service Module behind the crew capsule as it will be configured for Orion’s Exploration Mission. During launch, the module is encapsulated by three fairings, while the crew capsule is covered by the Launch Abort System." Image Credit: NASA

An expanded view of NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, showing the crew module, service module, launch escape system, and protective fairings.” Image Credit: NASA

On Tuesday, July 7, Orbital ATK signed a contact with Lockheed Martin to provide the solid rocket motor for the launch abort system of NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The […]