Sprint to the Finish: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 2)

The 61G crew, tasked with deploying Galileo. From left are Norm Thagard, Ron Grabe, Dave Walker and James 'Ox' van Hoften. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted toward Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month—had the hands of fate showed greater kindness—two shuttles might have rocketed into orbit within days of each other to deliver a pair of […]

Willing to Compromise: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 1)

Artist's impression of the Galileo-Centaur deployment on Mission 61G in May 1986. The deployment of Ulysses, less than a week earlier, on Mission 61F would have been similar. Image Credit: NASA

The Centaur-G Prime, mounted in its Centaur Integrated Support Structure (CISS), is readied for launch in the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA

When Challenger was lost in the skies of Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986, it brought to an end the space shuttle’s “age of innocence” […]

Mission to Jupiter: 25 Years Since the Launch of Galileo (Part 1)

Emblazoned with the script-like “Galileo” lettering and the block “NASA” letters, the spacecraft represented a marriage of romance and adventure with science and technology for STS-34’s Shannon Lucid. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989—25 years ago, next week—on the […]

Mission to Unveil Earth's Twisted Sister: 25 Years Since STS-30 (Part 2)

Atlantis roars into orbit on her fourth mission to deploy NASA’s Magellan spacecraft on a 15-month voyage to Venus. Photo Credit: NASA, via SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago today, on 4 May 1989, Shuttle Atlantis thundered into orbit on a remarkable mission which would unveil the planet Venus—nicknamed Earth’s “twisted sister”—in a wholly new light. During […]

Mission to Unveil Earth's Twisted Sister: 25 Years Since STS-30 (Part 1)

Mounted atop Boeing’s Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Magellan departs Atlantis’ payload bay on 4 May 1989. Had Challenger not been lost, Magellan might have flown a year earlier, in April 1988, aboard Mission 81I, with a quite different booster: the Centaur-G Prime. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago this week, in May 1989, Shuttle […]

To Follow After Knowledge: STS-41 and the Odyssey of Ulysses

Pictured in its horizontal position in Discovery’s payload bay, the circular dish antenna and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) of Ulysses are clearly visible in this image. Photo Credit: NASA

Human hands have stretched far into the cosmos during our half-century of exploring the final frontier. Men and women have circled hundreds of miles above […]

The Romance of Adventure: STS-34 and the Voyage of Galileo

Artist’s concept of Galileo – its high-gain antenna only partially unfurled – in orbit around Jupiter. When one considers the trials and tribulations that Galileo faced, both before launch and during its mission, it is quite remarkable that it turned into a success story as one of the grandest voyages of discovery ever undertaken. […]