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AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch MUOS-3 on a Atlas V 551 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
21 Jan 15 1:04:00 GMT
20 Jan 15 20:04:00 EST

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The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 1)

Mission 51C roars into orbit on 24 January 1985, kicking off the shuttle program’s first dedicated Department of Defense assignment. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space program: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to […]

'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 […]

Wubbo Ockels, Holland's First Citizen in Space, Dies Aged 68

Wubbo Ockels (fourth from left) poses with his fellow 61A crewmates and backup Ulf Merbold (in dark suit) before the October 1985 mission. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Wubbo Ockels, Holland’s first man in space and a member of the only shuttle mission to launch and land with a crew of eight, died earlier today […]

‘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 […]

'Plenty of People to Talk to Me': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 2)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man crew and a relatively “vanilla” pair of […]

'To Face Their Wives': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 1)

This iconic image, captured by astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, shows Bruce McCandless participating in humanity’s first untethered EVA. McCandless’ historic spacewalk with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) occurred 30 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man crew […]

'Moderately Complex': The Mission That 51L Should Have Been

Members of the 51L crew during training. From left are Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Christa McAuliffe (seated on table), and backup crew member Barbara Morgan. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-eight years passed on Tuesday since one of the worst and most public disasters ever witnessed in the U.S. human […]

Star Voyagers: Remembering the Challenger Seven

Emblazoned with the names of its seven “star voyagers”, the crew patch for Mission 51L illustrated its myriad objectives. Halley’s Comet is prominently displayed, as is an apple next to the name of school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Image Credit: NASA

Yesterday’s passage of 28 years since the loss of Challenger on 28 January 1986 […]

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger (Part 2)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. Photo Credit: NASA

In late April 1985, three months after the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) of Mission 51C had first drawn the attention of Morton Thiokol structural engineer Roger Boisjoly, another shuttle crew took flight. Mission 51B carried […]