'We Had 'Em By the Short Hairs': How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 2)

The Mercury-Redstone Booster Development (MR-BD) mission launches on 24 March 1961. This mission cleared the final concerns, ahead of entrusting the rocket with a human pilot. Photo Credit: NASA

In early 1961, the Mercury Seven were ready to begin the United States’ first missions into space. However, the need to conduct a final unpiloted Mercury-Redstone mission caused America to lose the race to beat the Soviet Union into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, next week, on 24 March 1961, the final […]

Timid Doctors and Timid Germans: How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 1)

One of the earliest rockets to be launched from Cape Canaveral was the Army’s Redstone missile, which later evolved into the vehicle seen here delivering America’s first man into space. Photo Credit: NASA

More than five decades have now passed since one of the most unfortunate episodes in human spaceflight history. In late March […]

America's Next Record-Breaker Rockets to Orbit for Six-Month Mission

The last Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft roars to orbit on 18/19 March 2016. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

The last Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft roars to orbit on 18/19 March 2016. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

Piercing the pre-dawn skies of Baikonur Cosmodrome, on the desolate steppe of Kazakhstan, a veteran Soyuz-FG booster roared into space tonight, carrying a new crew for the International Space Station (ISS). Aboard Soyuz TMA-20M—the final member of this latest […]

Last Soyuz TMA-M Crew Ready for Friday Launch to Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-20M crew, from left, consists of U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka. Photo Credit: NASA

The highly reliable Soyuz-FG has been used to launch every piloted Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS) since October 2002. Photo Credit: NASA

For the second time in less than a year, a NASA astronaut will soon set a new record for the longest cumulative time spent in space by an American […]

The Changing Bright Spots of Ceres: New Evidence for Geological Activity?

Artist’s conception based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. New observations show that the bright spots change in brightness from day to night, suggesting that they change under the influence of sunlight as Ceres rotates, and may also indicate subsurface geological activity. Image Credit: ESO/L.Calçada/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Steve Albers/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

Artist’s illustration of the brights spots Occator crater and elsewhere, based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. New observations show that the bright spots change in brightness from day to night, suggesting that they change under the influence of […]

Ten Years at Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Celebrates a Decade of Discovery

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The Martian rover Opportunity has become famous for its amazing longevity, but it is not the only one; orbiting spacecraft also usually enjoy long lifespans, and today the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is celebrating its 10th year exploring Mars from […]

'Tumbling End Over End': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission of Gemini VIII (Part 2)

Gemini VIII's nose edges into the docking collar of the Agena target. Although this mission achieved a successful rendezvous and docking, it fell victim to violent oscillations, due to a stuck-on thruster, which almost cost Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott their lives. Photo Credit: NASA

Gemini VIII’s nose edges into the docking collar of the Agena target. Although this mission achieved a successful rendezvous and docking, it fell victim to violent oscillations, due to a stuck-on thruster, which almost cost Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott their lives. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong […]

'Really a Smoothie': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission of Gemini VIII (Part 1)

Neil Armstrong (left) and Dave Scott sought to fulfil many of the objectives needed to reach the Moon, including orbital rendezvous and docking. They were the only Gemini crew whose two members both walked on the Moon in their later careers. Photo Credit: NASA

Gemini VIII (foreground) enters into the final stages of rendezvous with the Agena target vehicle. Photo Credit: NASA

At the dawn of 1966, America’s drive to land a man on the Moon had accelerated into high gear. Five Gemini crews had shown that astronauts could survive in space for long enough to complete the […]

NASA Eyes May 2018 for InSight Mars Lander Launch, Pending Instrument Redesign

NASA's InSight Mars mission is now being targeted for a May 2018 launch. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s InSight mission to Mars is now being targeted for a May 2018 launch. Image has been cropped for publication. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In December, those following the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, planned to launch on a trek to Mars this month aboard a ULA Atlas-V launch […]

Three Spacefarers From Three Nations Discuss Four-Month Mission to Space Station

The crew were seated for the conference in the same configuration that they will adopt aboard the Soyuz-MS spacecraft. At the center is Commander Anatoli Ivanishin, with Flight Engineer-1 Takuya Onishi to his left and Flight Engineer-2 Kate Rubins to his right. Photo Credit: Michael Galindo/AmericaSpace

The Soyuz-MS crew will form the second half of Expedition 48, before rotating into the core of Expedition 49, under Anatoli Ivanishin’s command. Photo Credit: Michael Galindo/AmericaSpace

Destined to fly a slightly shorter increment than normal to the International Space Station (ISS), the Expedition 48/49 crew of Russian cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kate […]