AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch GPS IIF-8 on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
29 Oct 14 17:21:00 GMT
29 Oct 14 13:21:00 EDT

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'The Right Man': A Restoration of Faith (Part 2)

Atop a converted Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile, America launches its fourth man into orbit on 15 May 1963. Gordon Cooper’s 34-hour, 22-orbit voyage aboard Faith 7 would be NASA’s most challenging space mission to date. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, [...]

'How About Now?' The Faith in Gordon Cooper (Part 1)

Fifty years ago, on 15 May 1963, America launched astronaut Gordon Cooper on its longest manned space mission to date. In doing so, NASA began to take strides toward meeting President John Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. The humiliation of Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight had been [...]

50 Years Since Sigma 7: “Solved By a Human”

Wally Schirra looks on as artist Cecelia ‘Cece’ Bibby stencils the Sigma 7 logo onto the side of the spacecraft. “Sigma,” wrote Schirra in his autobiography, “a Greek symbol for the sum of the elements of an equation, stands for engineering excellence. That was my goal – engineering excellence. I would not settle for [...]

50 Years Since Sigma 7: A Tale of Turtles

Signed image of Dee O’Hara with Wally Schirra’s enormous urine specimen bottle. Photo Credit: NASA/Wallyschirra.com

Urine samples were part and parcel of an astronaut’s medical regimen in the days and weeks surrounding a mission. For the Mercury Seven, their nurse, Dolores ‘Dee’ O’Hara, was all-powerful. The astronauts feared that the doctors, whilst highly educated, [...]

50 Years Since Sigma 7: A Word About Wally

Fifty years ago, Wally Schirra became America’s fifth man in space and only the third to orbit the Earth. His achievement cleared yet another hurdle in the nation’s plan to achieve a piloted lunar landing before the end of the decade. Photo Credit: NASA

On the day that he and six others were publicly [...]

First (and Last) Among Equals: NASA’s Astronauts of ‘62

When the ‘New Nine’ were introduced to the world’s media on 17 September 1962, speculation was rife that one of them would become the first man to set foot on the Moon. As circumstances transpired, three of the group – Neil Armstrong (pictured), Pete Conrad and John Young – accomplished the historic journey to [...]

“The Best All-Around Group”: NASA’s Astronauts of ‘62

The members of the ‘New Nine’ in comical pose surrounding a model of the Gemini spacecraft. Clockwise from top right are Frank Borman, John Young, Tom Stafford, Pete Conrad, Jim McDivitt, Jim Lovell, Elliot See, Ed White and Neil Armstrong. Two-thirds of them would journey to lunar orbit and one-third of them would leave [...]

Pad 14: A Place of History and Destiny (Part 2)

Gordon Cooper arrives at the base of the Pad 14 gantry on the morning of 15 May 1963, to become the last man to be launched from this historic site. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, America launched its first man into orbit around the Earth. John Glenn spent five hours aloft, completed three [...]

Pad 14: A Place of History and Destiny

Fifty years ago, in 1962, Pad 14 provided the stage for America's first manned orbital mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, the 45th Space Wing, based at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, began the laborious process of restoring one of the most important landmarks in America’s early space programme. Led by Lieutenant-Colonel [...]

“Lucky to be Alive”: The Controversy of Aurora 7

John Glenn (right) congratulates Scott Carpenter after his five-hour, three-orbit voyage. In December 1960, each of the Mercury Seven was asked to 'peer-vote' which of their colleagues was the best candidate for America's first astronaut. Glenn placed Carpenter at the top of his list. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, Scott Carpenter [...]