'Big Mental Switch': Remembering Shuttle Endeavour's Maiden Voyage (Part 2)

With the possible exception of Columbia and the very first space shuttle mission, few orbiters had as dramatic and exciting a maiden voyage as Endeavour. On STS-49, she provided a reliable stage for the longest EVA in history and the first three-man EVA in history. Despite the trials and tribulations of the flight, she […]

Cristoforetti Set for Endurance Record, as Expedition 43 Return Reportedly Delayed to Mid-June

If Soyuz TMA-15M’s return date moves to the 11-13 June timeframe, Samantha Cristoforetti will establish a new record for the longest single space mission ever undertaken by a woman. Photo Credit: NASA

Only days before their scheduled 13-14 May return to Earth, it is understood that Soyuz TMA-15M crew members—and the “core” of the […]

'Where We Either Succeeded or Failed': Remembering Shuttle Endeavour's Maiden Voyage (Part 1)

In the first, and so far only, three-person EVA, astronauts Rick Hieb, Tom Akers and Pierre Thuot manhandle Intelsat 603 into Endeavour’s payload bay for the attachment of a new rocket motor. Photo Credit: NASA

“Ready. Ready. Grab!”

The words of Rick Hieb echoed through the silent Mission Control Center (MCC) at the Johnson […]

PHOTOS: SpaceX Successfully Completes Rapid Pad Abort Test From Cape Canaveral

More than 120,000 pounds (54,430 kg) of propulsive yield from eight SuperDraco thrusters pulled the Dragon spacecraft to an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters), ahead of a perfect oceanic splashdown. Photo Credit: John Studwell/AmericaSpace

SpaceX has successfully conducted its long-awaited Pad Abort Test of a mockup Crew Dragon spacecraft, ahead of the In-Flight […]

Astronaut Don Thomas, Veteran of 'Repeat' Shuttle Mission, Turns 60 Today

Don Thomas, pictured in March 2002, during training for Expedition 6. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Don Thomas—one of only four humans to have flown Shuttle Columbia as many as three times, joint record-holder for the shortest interval between two discrete space flights, and a member of 1995’s famous “All-Ohio Mission”—turns 60 today (Wednesday, 6 […]

SpaceX Prepares for Latest in Long History of Critical Pad Abort Tests (Part 2)

The launch escape apparatus pulls an Apollo Command Module (CM) to safety during the Pad Abort Test-2 in June 1965. Photo Credit: NASA

Tomorrow, if all goes well, more than 120,000 pounds (54,430 kg) of thrust will rock Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., as SpaceX stages the long-awaited […]

SpaceX Prepares for Latest in Long History of Critical Pad Abort Tests (Part 1)

The LJ-1B Little Joe mission launches from Wallops on 21 January 1960, carrying “Miss Sam”, the second rhesus passenger, on a critical Pad Abort Test for Project Mercury. Photo Credit: NASA

Following the recent successes of the CRS-6 Dragon launch toward the International Space Station (ISS) on 14 April and last week’s flight of […]

'The Lord Protected Grandpa': 30 Years Since Mission 51B (Part 2)

During the majority of the seven-day mission, Challenger operated in a gravity gradient orientation, with her vertical stabilizer directed Earthward and her starboard wing pointing in the direction of travel. Image Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, a seven-man crew with a combined age of 340 years rocketed into orbit […]

'Education Can Take You Anywhere': Teacher-Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger Turns 40 Today

Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger is pictured close to the window in Japan’s Kibo laboratory module, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), during STS-131 in April 2010. Photo Credit: NASA

More than five years have now passed since Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger—geologist, astronomer, cross-country runner, and the first Space Camp alumnus ever to journey beyond Earth’s atmosphere and into […]

A Long Wait for Space: 30 Years Since Mission 51B (Part 1)

Challenger roars into orbit on 29 April 1985. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, Challenger was circling the Earth on the first dedicated Spacelab science flight of the shuttle era. For seven days, the crew of Mission 51B—Commander Bob Overmyer, Pilot Fred Gregory, Mission Specialists Don Lind, Norm Thagard, and […]