Mapping Planet Earth: 15 Years Since STS-99 (Part 1)

Computer-generated image of Endeavour performing radar observations with instruments in her payload bay and affixed to the deployable Outboard Antenna on STS-99. Image Credit: NASA

At the dawn of the year 2000, more precise radar maps existed of Venus—thanks to NASA’s Magellan imaging spacecraft—than of our own Home Planet. Although areas of Earth had […]

'The Most Complex So Far': What 2003 Might Have Been

Columbia roars into orbit for the 28th and final time on 16 January 2003. Eighty-two seconds into the ascent, a chunk of foam from her External Tank would spell disaster for the outcome of STS-107. Photo Credit: NASA

Twelve years ago, last weekend, Shuttle Columbia and the crew of STS-107—Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie […]

'Man of Destiny': Astronaut Tom Jones Turns 60 Today

Tom Jones waves during his first career EVAs on STS-98, the mission which installed the U.S. Destiny laboratory onto the International Space Station (ISS) in February 2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Tom Jones—a man who did, then didn’t, and then did again, embark on the hundredth spacewalk in U.S. history—turns 60 today (Thursday, 22 […]

How Adaptable Humans Are: Looking Back at STS-72 (Part 2)

 

Grappled by Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU) satellite is readied for installation in the payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Nineteen years ago, today, on 11 January 1996, Shuttle Endeavour and a six-man crew—Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Brent Jett, and Mission Specialists Leroy […]

Mission for Japan: Looking Back at STS-72 (Part 1)

Leroy Chiao (foreground) works in Endeavour’s payload bay during one of the STS-72 EVAs. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost two decades ago, six astronauts rocketed into the night on a mission which put virtually all of the shuttle’s capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, research, and spacewalking—to the test, as well as providing […]

'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 […]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 2)

Fully deployed, the Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) sprouts from the SPARTAN-207 satellite. Photo Credit: NASA

Eighteen years ago this week, six men orbited Earth aboard Shuttle Endeavour on one of the most complex research flights ever conducted in the program’s 30-year history. With such a large number of payloads aboard, it was imperative for […]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 1)

At the cusp of daybreak on 19 May 1996, Endeavour thunders into orbit to begin the multi-faceted STS-77 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 20 May 1996, astronaut Mario Runco Jr. grappled SPARTAN-207—a small, free-flying spacecraft, equipped with a very unique payload—and unberthed it from Endeavour’s payload bay with the shuttle’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator […]

‘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 […]