'Waiting For You to Land on Mars': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 2)

The STS-81 and Mir crews gather for a group portrait in the space station's base block. Front row, from left, are Mike Baker, John Grunsfeld, John Blaha and Aleksandr Kaleri. Back row, from left, are Jerry Linenger, Valeri Korzun, Marsha Ivins, Jeff Wisoff and Brent Jett. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The STS-81 and Mir crews gather for a group portrait in the space station’s base block. Front row, from left, are Mike Baker, John Grunsfeld, John Blaha, and Aleksandr Kaleri. Back row, from left, are Jerry Linenger, Valeri Korzun, Marsha Ivins, Jeff Wisoff, and Brent Jett. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years […]

'Horrendous Gas Mileage': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 1)

Mir, as viewed from Atlantis on STS-81. The orange-colored Docking Module (DM), at the end of the Kristall module, is visible at the right of the image. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Mir, as viewed from Atlantis on STS-81. The orange-colored Docking Module (DM), at the end of the Kristall module, is visible at the right of the image. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, this week, America’s Space Shuttle Program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, […]

'Because I'm Scared to Death': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 2)

Fred Gregory leads the STS-44 crew out of the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 25 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fred Gregory leads the STS-44 crew out of the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 25 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, this week, what should have been the third-longest space shuttle mission of its time—and the longest Department of Defense piloted […]

'Not a Dysfunctional Family': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 1)

The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, attached to is Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, is deployed from Atlantis' payload bay at the beginning of the STS-44 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, attached to is Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, is deployed from Atlantis’ payload bay at the beginning of the STS-44 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century has now elapsed since a space shuttle mission was forced to come home early, having already lost its original commander and […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo’s Ride on STS-34 (Part 2)

The STS-34 (from left) were Don Williams, Ellen Baker, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Shannon Lucid and Mike McCulley. Photo Credit: NASA

Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io were key focuses for the Galileo mission. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

Almost three decades ago, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis rocketed into orbit to launch NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on a lengthy odyssey to Jupiter. As described […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo's Ride on STS-34 (Part 1)

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted towards Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Atlantis roars into orbit on 18 October 1989 to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989, on the first leg of its voyage to Jupiter, the sight was a moving one […]

Sprint to the Finish: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 2)

The 61G crew, tasked with deploying Galileo. From left are Norm Thagard, Ron Grabe, Dave Walker and James 'Ox' van Hoften. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted toward Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month—had the hands of fate showed greater kindness—two shuttles might have rocketed into orbit within days of each other to deliver a pair of […]

Willing to Compromise: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 1)

Artist's impression of the Galileo-Centaur deployment on Mission 61G in May 1986. The deployment of Ulysses, less than a week earlier, on Mission 61F would have been similar. Image Credit: NASA

The Centaur-G Prime, mounted in its Centaur Integrated Support Structure (CISS), is readied for launch in the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA

When Challenger was lost in the skies of Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986, it brought to an end the space shuttle’s “age of innocence” […]

'Probably Earned My Keep': 25 Years Since the Launch of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (Part 2)

The Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) is readied for deployment on 7 April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) is readied for deployment on 7 April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this week, the crew of Atlantis delivered into orbit the heaviest scientific payload ever launched at that time by the space shuttle. Commander Steve Nagel, Pilot Ken Cameron, and Mission Specialists Linda […]

'If It Goes Poorly, You Take the Blame': 25 Years Since the Launch of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (Part 1)

Astronaut Jerry Ross grins through shuttle Atlantis' aft flight deck windows, as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is readied for deployment in April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Astronaut Jerry Ross grins through Shuttle Atlantis’ aft flight deck windows, as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is readied for deployment in April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For a few hours in early April 1991, it seemed that things could not get any worse for NASA. A year earlier, the first […]