AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
21 Oct 14 2:29:00 GMT
20 Oct 14 22:29:00 EDT

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'Engines in Post-Shutdown Standby': 20 Years Since STS-68 (Part 1)

For the second time in less than six months, the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) rode Endeavour into orbit in September-October 1994. However, the launch of STS-68 was delayed extensively, following the shuttle program’s last Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort. Photo Credit: NASA

One day in the summer of 1993, astronaut Tom Jones was [...]

Global Partnerships Pave Path Forward for Private International Dream Chaser for Multiple Purposes: One-on-One Interview With SNC VP Mark Sirangelo (Part 4)

Global partnerships could one day lead to European or Japanese versions of the Dream Chaser docking at the ISS in this artist’s concept. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

By amassing “global partnerships with 21 space agencies,” the private Dream Chaser space plane has a solid foundation and “a path to continue” forward, Mark Sirangelo, [...]

First Private Dream Chaser Construction Pace Accelerates Toward 2016 Maiden Blastoff: One-on-One Interview With SNC VP Mark Sirangelo (Part 2)

SNC’s Commercial Dream Chaser atmospheric test vehicle under construction. Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

Construction of the first commercial Dream Chaser space plane that will propel Americans back to space from American soil is well underway and accelerating to insure “its ready for the first launch in November 2016,” Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president [...]

NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne Complete Final Hot-Fire Tests on J-2X Engine, Move Forward to RS-25 Testing

J-2X Engine No. 10002 during its final 330-second hot-fire test on the A-1 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in September 2013. NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have completed the J-2X hot-fire testing campaign earlier this year, with the last tests on engine No. 10003. Image Credit: NASA/Stennis Space Center

During his testimony before [...]

Training to Fly on Boeing’s First Private CST-100 ‘Space Taxi’: One-on-One Interview With Chris Ferguson, Last Shuttle Commander (Part 2)

Boeing CST-100 manned space capsule in free flight in low-Earth orbit will transport astronaut crews to the International Space Station. Credit: Boeing

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL — Boeing’s CST-100 commercial “space taxi“ will be capable of flying to the space station “as a single piloted vehicle” starting from the first manned orbital test flight in 2017, [...]

‘A Big Mental Switch': The Maiden Voyage of Endeavour (Part 2)

Two decades have passed since Endeavour’s maiden voyage; a voyage which set record after record in terms of EVA, accomplishment and astronaut endurance, including the first (and so far only) three-person spacewalk. She continued to set records for the rest of her operational life. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-two years ago, on 7 May 1992, the [...]

'A Mission We Wanted to Do': The Maiden Voyage of Endeavour (Part 1)

With the possible exception of Columbia and the very first space shuttle mission, few orbiters had as dramatic and exciting a maiden voyage as Endeavour. On STS-49, she provided a reliable stage for the longest EVA in history and the first three-man EVA in history. Despite the trials and tribulations of the flight, she [...]

'I Wouldn’t Call it Fear': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 2)

The closest the shuttle ever came to a launch at the time of abort was T-1.9 seconds, on 18 August 1994. So close was the shuttle to launch, the on-board General Purpose Computers had already moded to their 102 ascent software configuration at the time of the abort. Photo Credit: NASA

In the pre-dawn [...]

'Quiet as a Crypt': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 1)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines—still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984—in the wake of the shuttle program’s first RSLS abort. Photo Credit: NASA

Throughout its 30-year career—consciously or unconsciously—the space shuttle was acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous piloted space vehicles ever brought to [...]

Chasing the Dream of Suborbital Space Tourism: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two Successfully Conducts Third Powered Test Flight

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two—pictured here—recently conducted its third successful flight test in a row, reaching its highest altitude to date of 71,000 ft. Image Credit: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic, the private space company that aims to become the first commercial spaceliner in the world, kicked 2014 into high gear with the third successful powered [...]