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” […]

'To Touch the Face of God': 30 Years Since the Loss of Challenger (Part 2)

Challenger's final crew, as they should be remembered: Positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity's reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. Image Credit: NASA

Challenger’s final crew, as they should be remembered: Positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity’s reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. […]

City of Titusville Astronaut Memorial Ceremony Wraps Up Somber Week of Anniversaries, Remembrances

A single red carnation and, most touchingly, an apple decorate Christa McAuliffe's plaque at Titusville's Sand Point Park Saturday morning. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

A single red carnation and, most touchingly, an apple decorate Christa McAuliffe’s plaque at Titusville’s Sand Point Park Saturday morning. McAuliffe was the first Teacher in Space, but perished aboard Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

The dates marked Jan. 27, 28, and Feb. 1 are downcast days in U.S. spaceflight […]

'Obviously A Major Malfunction': 30 Years Since the Loss of Challenger (Part 1)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger's tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years. Photo Credit: NASA

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, on 28 January 1986, one of the worst and most public disasters in U.S. space history unfolded with horrifying suddenness in the […]

On Challenger's 30th Anniversary, NASA Reflects On its Fallen Heroes

Floral tributes offer a touch of color against the drab gray and black of the Space Mirror Memorial and the day itself. Photo Credit: Talia Landman/AmericaSpace

For NASA, the fourth and fifth weeks of each year have always carried a somber mood of reflection and resolve, in which the glories of past successes—including Voyager […]

'The Most Beautiful Thing': 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 2)

In one of the final views of Challenger in space, the orbiter sails over the cloud-bedecked Earth, with the Spacelab D-1 module clearly visible in her payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, next week, Space Shuttle Challenger flew in space for the final time. Mission 61A—the ninth and last […]

'Dallas? You Mean the City?' 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, next week, Shuttle Challenger launched on her final successful mission. Photo Credit: NASA

It is a dismaying fact of history that the name “Challenger”—when spoken in relation to the second spaceworthy vehicle of NASA’s shuttle fleet—is so often associated only with the dreadful catastrophe which snuffed out seven lives on the […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 2)

For the final time in the 30-year shuttle program, Endeavour’s engines blaze for their Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) on 6 April 1992. Photo Credit: NASA

“Three engines up. All going well.”

Thirty years ago, last week, the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) of the orbiter Atlantis roared to life and burned fiercely for […]

'Cola and Solar Wars': 30 Years Since the Unlucky Success of Mission 51F (Part 2)

The Instrument Pointing System (IPS) was flown for the first time on Mission 51F. It would later be reflown on a pair of dedicated astronomy missions in 1990 and 1995. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Three decades have now passed since one of the most dramatic missions—and one of the most dramatic months—in […]