AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
27 Oct 14 22:44:00 GMT
27 Oct 14 18:44:00 EDT

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'What a Beautiful View': The 15 Minutes of Freedom 7

Alan Shepard is hoisted aboard the helicopter, deftly piloted by Wayne Koons, after completing his 15-minute suborbital flight. The patch of fluorescent green marker dye in the water around Freedom 7 is particularly obvious. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Eastern time on 5 May 1961, the United States [...]

'Poyekhali!' Remembering Our First Space Voyager (Part 2)

Yuri Gagarin (left) was proudly displayed to the world by a joyful Nikita Khrushchev (right), who recognized the political and ideological advantage which his flight had acquired over the United States. Photo Credit: Roscosmos/The Telegraph

The location at which the feet of Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin—the first human ever to break the bonds of Earth [...]

Gemini 3 and the Misfortune of Al Shepard (Part 1)

In addition to carrying the equipment of the prime crew, Gemini 3 backups Wally Schirra (third from the right) and Tom Stafford (second from right) saw to it that they fulfilled the mission’s humor requirements. As a result, Gemini 3 would forever come to be known as “The Corned Beef Sandwich Mission.” Photo Credit: [...]

In Search of Cone Crater: 43 Years Since Triumphant Mission of Apollo 14 (Part 2)

Beneath a gloomy sky, Apollo 14 takes flight on the afternoon of 31 January 1971. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-three years ago this week, the sixth team of Apollo lunar explorers—and only the third to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s dusty surface—headed back to Earth after a mission which restored confidence in America’s space [...]

Juicing It: 43 Years Since Triumphant Mission of Apollo 14 (Part 1)

 

Bathed by the intense lunar sunlight, Antares sits on the undulating plain of Fra Mauro in February 1971. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-three years ago this week, the sixth team of Apollo lunar explorers—and only the third to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s dusty surface—headed back to Earth after a mission which restored [...]

In Honor of David: The Astronaut Who Inspired Orbital’s First Cygnus Mission (Part 2)

The Cygnus 1 spacecraft is seen here being integrated onto the Antares launch vehicle. Cygnus 1 has been renamed in honor of the late David G. Low. Photo Credit: NASA / Orbital

Only days remain before the scheduled 18 September launch of the first Cygnus cargo mission to the International Space Station by Orbital [...]

Retro Space Images: Hoping for a Launch

Photo Credit: NASA / Retro Space Images

Zooming In: Photographers perched near Complex 17 have Alan Shepard’s Redstone rocket at Complex 5 in their viewfinders. A classic Chevrolet station wagon sits in the foreground. The attempted launch of the first American in space was scrubbed on this morning of May 2, 1961. The nation [...]

'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 [...]