'Open-Ended': What 1967 Might Have Been

The Apollo 1 crew, pictured during training, would have embarked on an open-ended mission of up to 14 days in duration in February-March 1967. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Figuratively and literally, February is a gloomy month, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere—a four-week period of darkness, plunging temperatures, and poor weather, with the […]

'Major Malfunction': The Final Launch of Challenger, 28 Years Ago Today

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) are Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) are Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and […]

'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 […]

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 […]