'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 […]

Soyuz TMA-16M Crew Prepares for Spacecraft Switch, Ahead of Soyuz TMA-18M Arrival

Soyuz TMA-16M approaches the International Space Station (ISS) on 26/27 March, as viewed by Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts. After five months attached to the station, Soyuz TMA-16M and its crew of Gennadi Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, and Scott Kelly will perform a relocation flyabout tomorrow. Photo Credit: Terry Virts/NASA/Twitter

After five months in a […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': 50 Years Since Gemini V (Part 2)

Glorious view of Baja California, with the nose of Gemini V visible at bottom right. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades have now passed since a mission which Pete Conrad once described as “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” Gemini V was the third manned flight of NASA’s two-man spacecraft, […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': 50 Years Since Gemini V (Part 1)

Illustrating the cramped nature of their eight-day home, astronauts Pete Conrad (background) and Gordo Cooper are in jubilant spirits ahead of their 21 August 1965 launch. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad experienced “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” Gemini V was the third […]

First Successful Mars Landing Mission: 40 Years Since the Launch of Viking 1

 

The first “clear” image of the surface of Mars, captured by Viking 1 in July 1976. The lander and its orbiter were launched 40 years ago, today, on 20 August 1975. Photo Credit: NASA

In the second decade of the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to a steady output of scientific data […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 2)

Training for a mission which, for one of them, would never come to pass, Dick Gordon (left) and Jack Schmitt work with a mockup of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during their Apollo 15 backup duties. Schmitt’s importance as a professional geologist assured him a seat on Apollo 17. Gordon was not so lucky. […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 1)

Apollo 15, originally the last of the H-series lunar landing missions, evolved to become the first member of the J-series, following the tumultuous events of 1970. Photo Credit: NASA

In 2011, Hollywood had us believe that the crew of Apollo 18 fell victim to spider-like aliens and a sinister conspiracy, spearheaded by the Department […]

Smooth Sailing, Mr. O: 10 Years Since the Launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is depicted in orbit above Mars with its large solar arrays and Earth communications dish at top. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

After more than 40,000 orbits of the Red Planet, NASA’s $720 million Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)—launched 10 years ago today, on 12 August 2005—is showing no signs of slowing […]

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 […]