AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
30 Jan 15 14:20:42 GMT
30 Jan 15 6:20:42 PST
30 Jan 15 9:20:42 Eastern

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'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the Sacrifice of Apollo 1

After the first cry from Roger Chaffee (left), even super-fit Ed White (center) was unable to even fully release the first bolt from the command module’s inner hatch before he was overcome by fumes. The most likely origin of the fire was somewhere beneath the seat of Gus Grissom (right). Photo Credit: NASA

Almost […]

'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 […]

'The Granddaddy of All Experiments': 25 Years Since the STS-32 Mission to Snatch LDEF (Part 2)

The 12-sided Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was intended to spend less than a year in orbit, but ended up remaining for almost six years, traveling the equivalent distance from Earth to Saturn. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, next week, the crew of Columbia embarked on the longest shuttle mission […]

'What You Saw Was What You Got': 25 Years Since the STS-32 Mission to Snatch LDEF (Part 1)

Twenty-five years ago, next week, the crew of Shuttle Columbia retrieved the giant Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). The satellite’s orbit had degraded to such an extent that it was only weeks away from an uncontrolled re-entry. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, next week, on 9 January 1990, the crew of Columbia rocketed […]

'What's Tab November?': The Independence Day Mission of STS-4 (Part 2)

Columbia roars into orbit on 27 June 1982, kicking off the STS-4 mission. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

More than three decades ago, on Independence Day (4 July) in 1982, Columbia triumphantly touched down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., concluding the fourth shuttle mission. Aboard the reusable spacecraft were Commander Ken Mattingly and Pilot […]

'A Hundred Flights ... ': The Independence Day Mission of STS-4 (Part 1)

Columbia touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 4 July 1982, concluding the shuttle’s fourth and final Orbital Flight Test. Photo Credit: NASA

More than three decades ago, on Independence Day (4 July) in 1982, Columbia triumphantly touched down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., concluding the fourth shuttle mission. Aboard the […]

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, […]

'The Tether Is Broken': The Second Flight of the Tethered Satellite (Part 2)

The Tethered Satellite System (TSS) begins its deployment from the payload bay mast on STS-75. Photo Credit: NASA

Eighteen years ago this week, Space Shuttle Columbia rocketed into orbit carrying one of the most unusual experiments on record: the reflight of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1R). Originally conceived by the late Professor Guiseppe Colombo […]

Mission 61C: The Original ‘Mission Impossible’ (Part 2)

“Mission Impossible” finally launches as Columbia roars into the darkened Florida skies on 12 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA

On Mission 61C, launched on this day (12 January) in 1986, Space Shuttle Columbia was making her first orbital flight in over two years. Late in January 1984, a month after returning from her STS-9 […]

Mission 61C: The Original ‘Mission Impossible’ (Part 1)

Columbia swoops like a bird of prey into Edwards Air Force Base on 18 January 1986, just 10 days ahead of the Challenger tragedy. Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson would later refer to this mission as “The End of Innocence” … for after Challenger the shuttle program would never be the same again. Photo Credit: […]