AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch CRS-5 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
19 Dec 14 18:20:00 GMT
19 Dec 14 13:20:00 EST

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' ... T-9 Minutes and Counting ... ': NASA's First Secret Shuttle Flight

Since the conception of the manned spaceflight engineer programme, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and Ellison […]

Into the Black – NASA’s Secret Shuttle Missions: A Gold Star for an Admiral

STS-33 was the first nocturnal Shuttle launch and landing of the post-Challenger era; entirely appropriate, perhaps, in light of the shroud of darkness which covered its primary payload. Photo Credit: NASA

The delays in preparing Columbia for her first post-Challenger launch and the need to despatch the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter during a critical […]

Into the Black – NASA’s Secret Shuttle Missions -‘Tasting’ the Unknown

Space shuttle Columbia lands at Edwards Air Force base in California after the successful completion of the STS-28 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Dick Richards was five weeks from his first launch into space when the Challenger disaster snatched the opportunity, cruelly, from him. In January 1985, he had been assigned as Jon McBride’s […]

Into the Black: NASA’s Secret Shuttle Missions – Part Five


Atlantis awaits her new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. While Atlantis will undoubtedly become the star attraction at the Visitor Complex – she was always have her secrets. STS-44 is the last of the "middle child" of NASA's shuttle fleet secret missions. Photo Credit: Alan Walters/

The Secret […]

Into the Black: NASA’s Secret Shuttle Missions – Part Four

"Into the Black" continues with a review of STS-38, the 37th flight of the space shuttle era and the seventh dedicated Department of Defense mission. Photo Credit: NASA

 The Secret History of NASA’s Middle Child: Part 4: The Mystery of the ‘Prowler’

‘High profile’ are two words which can easily be applied […]

Into the Black: NASA’s Secret Shuttle Missions – Part Three

Astonishing view of Atlantis' nocturnal launch on 28 February 1990, with the Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control Center in the foreground. Seconds after this photograph was taken, the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) were jettisoned and Atlantis performed a unique 'dog-leg' maneuver to achieve a 62-degree orbit…the highest ever attained in the shuttle program. […]