'Most Serious and Significant Work': 25 Years Since the Secret Mission of STS-38 (Part 1)

The STS-38 crew consisted of (from left) Pilot Frank Culbertson, Mission Specialists Carl Meade, Bob Springer and Sam Gemar, and Commander Dick Covey. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The STS-38 crew consisted of (from left) Pilot Frank Culbertson, Mission Specialists Carl Meade, Bob Springer and Sam Gemar, and Commander Dick Covey. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, the world stood on the brink of outright conflict in the Middle East, following the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by the […]

'Ice Cream Sandwiches': 20 Years Since the Second Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 2)

The orange-colored Docking Module (DM) is clearly visible at the extreme end of the Kristall module in this view of Mir, as seen by the departing crew of STS-74. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For 15 years, Americans and Russians have lived together, on a continuous basis, aboard the International Space Station (ISS). […]

'A Real Thrill': 20 Years Since the Second Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 1)

Becoming the first Canadian to operate the shuttle’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS), Chris Hadfield installs the Docking Module (DM) atop the Orbiter Docking System (ODS), ahead of the shuttle’s second docking mission to Mir, 20 years ago this month. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The second is rarely remembered in the same […]

'This True American Icon': Remembering Atlantis on 30th Anniversary of Maiden Flight (Part 5)

The final launch, Atlantis STS-135. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

The final launch, Atlantis STS-135. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

A string of “Go” calls—interspersed with an occasional poignant remark about the contributions of the Space Shuttle program over three decades of operational service—reached the ears of Launch Director Mike Leinbach, seated at his console in the Launch Control Center (LCC) at the […]

Cosmic Ballet: Remembering Atlantis on 30th Anniversary of Maiden Flight (Part 4)

 

Between June 1995 and October 1997, Atlantis completed no fewer than seven dockings with Russia’s Mir space station, more than twice as many as any of her sister orbiters combined. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, in October 1985, Atlantis became the fourth member of NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet to launch […]

On Opposing Sides of Tragedy: Remembering Atlantis on 30th Anniversary of Maiden Flight (Part 3)

Jerry Ross participates in the assembly of the EASE and ACCESS structures on Mission 61B in the fall of 1985. Ross became the first person to fly Atlantis twice and three times and is the only human to have flown her on as many as five occasions. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty […]

'I'm Not Worthy': Remembering Atlantis on 30th Anniversary of Maiden Flight (Part 2)

During almost 26 years of operational service, Atlantis flew 33 missions, travelled an estimated 125.9 million miles (202.7 million km), circled Earth 4,848 times, and spent over 306 cumulative days in orbit. She is the second most-flown member of NASA’s shuttle fleet, after Discovery. Photo Credit: NASA

For the crew of STS-132, it was […]

'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 […]

'A New Orbiter Joins the Shuttle Fleet': 30 Years Since Atlantis' Maiden Voyage (Part 2)

Not until the summer of 1998 were any images from this most “vanilla” of Department of Defense flights revealed … although the nature of the flight had long since trickled into the public domain. A pair of Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS)-III satellites, mounted atop a Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage, are here raised to […]

'For Tasks That Might or Might Not Take Place': 30 Years Since Atlantis' Maiden Voyage (Part 1)

During the course of her 33-mission career, which began 30 years ago on 3 October 1985, Atlantis flew more Department of Defense assignments than any other orbiter, beginning with her maiden voyage, 51J. In keeping with DoD missions, the patch was both highly symbolic and patriotic. Image Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years […]