AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch CRS-3 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 18 Apr 14 19:25:22 GMT

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The Future That Wasn't: The Hermes Spaceplane

Hermes, Europe’s spaceplane, is depicted coasting in orbit in an artist’s rendering. Image Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)

The prose in the 1986 Aerospatiale advertisement was breathless: “10 years old, and still 20 years ahead,” it started. The ad continued, “At Aerospatiale, addressing the exciting aerospace challenges of tomorrow means capitalizing on the daring [...]

Fixing Solar Max: 30 Years Since Mission 41C (Part 2)

Backdropped by the glorious Earth, Challenger drifts serenely with Solar Max secured in her payload bay. Photo Credit: SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago today (6 April 1984), the shuttle launched on arguably its most ambitious mission to date: a mission which would demonstrate the reusable orbiter’s capabilities of rendezvous, retrieval, satellite repair, and spacewalking with [...]

Fixing Solar Max: 30 Years Since Mission 41C (Part 1)

Thirty years ago this week, Mission 41C put the shuttle’s capabilities to the test. In a single flight, the reusable vehicle demonstrated its capacity to support satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, untethered spacewalking and robotics … and served as a highlight of the ingenuity of the human spirit. Photo Credit: SpaceFacts.de

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'Quiet as a Crypt': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 1)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines—still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984—in the wake of the shuttle program’s first RSLS abort. Photo Credit: NASA

Throughout its 30-year career—consciously or unconsciously—the space shuttle was acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous piloted space vehicles ever brought to [...]

Dale Gardner, MMU Spacewalker, Dies Aged 65

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the shuttle’s credentials as infallible … but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense of [...]

'Plenty of People to Talk to Me': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 2)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man crew and a relatively “vanilla” pair of [...]

'To Face Their Wives': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 1)

This iconic image, captured by astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, shows Bruce McCandless participating in humanity’s first untethered EVA. McCandless’ historic spacewalk with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) occurred 30 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man crew [...]

Star Voyagers: Remembering the Challenger Seven

Emblazoned with the names of its seven “star voyagers”, the crew patch for Mission 51L illustrated its myriad objectives. Halley’s Comet is prominently displayed, as is an apple next to the name of school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Image Credit: NASA

Yesterday’s passage of 28 years since the loss of Challenger on 28 January 1986 [...]

'Major Malfunction': The Final Launch of Challenger, 28 Years Ago Today

Challenger’s final crew, as they should be remembered: positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity’s reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) are Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) are Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and [...]

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger (Part 2)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. Photo Credit: NASA

In late April 1985, three months after the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) of Mission 51C had first drawn the attention of Morton Thiokol structural engineer Roger Boisjoly, another shuttle crew took flight. Mission 51B carried [...]