AmericaSpace Countdown

Next Launch CRS-6 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
13 Apr 15 20:33:00 GMT
13 Apr 15 16:33:00 EDT

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Veteran Shuttle Pilot and Adventurer Bill Oefelein Turns 50 Today

Bill Oefelein was one of the first members of his astronaut class to venture into space and the first Alaskan to reach orbit. He turns 50 today. Photo Credit: NASA

Although he forged an unfortunate place in popular culture and gained intense media attention in early 2007 as part of a bizarre “love triangle,” […]

'As Long As It's Not a Hurricane': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of Norm Thagard (Part 2)

Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar participate in Soyuz-TM training in October 1994. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, the first U.S. astronaut in history was launched in a non-U.S. spacecraft, from a non-U.S. nation, with a crew entirely composed of non-U.S. comrades. Four-time shuttle veteran Norm Thagard had spent more than a […]

Now You Don't: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 2)

Atlantis rockets into the night on 28 February 1990, headed for the shuttle’s first “dogleg” maneuver and the highest orbital inclination ever attained by a U.S. piloted spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century has now passed since one of the quietest missions in the shuttle’s 30-year operational history. On 28 February […]

Now You See It: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 1)

The official crew patch for shuttle mission STS-36, which launched 25 years ago today, on 28 February 1990. Image Credit: NASA

Something strange happened in March 1990. Ground-based observers were busy tracking the orbital progress of a classified Department of Defense payload, recently deployed by the crew of Shuttle Atlantis on STS-36—Commander John “J.O.” […]

'The Most Complex So Far': What 2003 Might Have Been

Columbia roars into orbit for the 28th and final time on 16 January 2003. Eighty-two seconds into the ascent, a chunk of foam from her External Tank would spell disaster for the outcome of STS-107. Photo Credit: NASA

Twelve years ago, last weekend, Shuttle Columbia and the crew of STS-107—Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie […]

'Up Against a Wall': What 1986 Might Have Been

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years and all crews, including the other missions planned for 1986, were stood down. Photo Credit: NASA

On three occasions in NASA’s history, the dawn of February has brought […]

'Man of Destiny': Astronaut Tom Jones Turns 60 Today

Tom Jones waves during his first career EVAs on STS-98, the mission which installed the U.S. Destiny laboratory onto the International Space Station (ISS) in February 2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Tom Jones—a man who did, then didn’t, and then did again, embark on the hundredth spacewalk in U.S. history—turns 60 today (Thursday, 22 […]

Who Is This? Remembering the Flight of STS-81 (Part 2)

The combined shuttle and Mir crews, pictured during the STS-81 visiting mission in January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Almost two decades ago, America’s shuttle program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, equipment, and supplies to an Earth-circling space station. And in the small hours of […]

Stepping Stones to Space Station: Remembering the Flight of STS-81 (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into the night on 12 January 1997, kicking off the shuttle program’s fifth docking mission to Mir. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Almost two decades ago, America’s shuttle program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, equipment, and supplies to an Earth-circling space station. And in […]

Jerry Linenger, First American to Make Spacewalk in Russian EVA Suit, Turns 60 Today

Pictured during his STS-64 mission in September 1994, Jerry Linenger’s later career saw him become the first U.S. astronaut to perform a spacewalk on a non-U.S. spacecraft, wearing a non-U.S. space suit. Photo Credit: NASA

Former shuttle flier and Mir resident Jerry Linenger—who holds the unenviable reputation of becoming the first “Hog” in history […]