Repair and Salvage: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 4)

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

Ironically, the spacecraft from which the most Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) were performed—the space shuttle—was not originally intended to carry the capability for spacewalking at […]

'To Live Like Russians': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of Norm Thagard (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this week, NASA astronaut Norm Thagard embarked on the United States’ first long-duration space station expedition in more than two decades. Photo Credit: NASA

Today, in 2015, it seems hard to imagine U.S. astronauts being totally unaccustomed to long-duration spaceflight. Over the past two decades, around 50 Americans—from civilian medical doctors […]

'Desk in the Middle of a Prairie': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 2)

Dave Leestma (with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Kathy Sullivan work on the refuelling experiment during their historic EVA. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today (on 5 October 1984), history was made when Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit on Mission 41G, an ambitious science and technology flight. On-board was […]

'What Did You Guys Do?' 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 1)

On Mission 41G, which took place 30 years ago, this week, Kathy Sullivan became the first U.S. female spacewalker. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, on 5 October 1984, history was made when Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit on Mission 41G, an ambitious science and technology flight. On-board was the largest crew […]

'The Worst Tasting Coffee': 25 Years Since the Secret Mission of STS-28 (Part 2)

Columbia rockets into orbit on the first (and only) wholly classified mission of her career. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, the Shuttle Columbia returned to flight, following a three-year down time in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. Aboard STS-28 for a five-day flight were Commander Brewster Shaw, Pilot Dick Richards, […]

'Constrained Arrangement': 25 Years Since the Secret Mission of STS-28 (Part 1)

Pictured during her rollout to Pad 39B, Columbia was embarking on her first flight since the Challenger disaster. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Astronaut Dick Richards was five weeks from his first launch into space when the Challenger disaster cruelly snatched the opportunity from him. In January 1985, Richards had been named as Jon McBride’s […]

Veteran Astronauts Dave Leestma and Andy Thomas Depart NASA

Between them, Dave Leestma and Andy Thomas launched aboard no less than seven shuttle missions. This view shows the early-morning ascent of STS-77 on 19 May 1996, which marked Thomas’ first flight. Photo Credit: NASA

With seven space missions, two EVAs, and almost 200 cumulative days in orbit between them, two of NASA’s best […]

In the Shadow of Challenger: The Lost Mission of STS-61E (Part 1)

Had Challenger not been lost, these seven men were the next scheduled shuttle crew. Seated from left to right are Pilot Dick Richards, Commander Jon McBride, and Mission Specialist Dave Leestma, the “orbiter” crew in charge of shuttle systems. Standing from left to right are the “science” crew: Payload Specialist Sam Durrance, Mission Specialists […]

A Meeting of Minds: The Earth-Centred Voyage of STS-45

Surrounded by the black spheres of the SEPAC experiment, ATLAS-1 represented the first Shuttle payload fully dedicated to exploring the relationship between the Earth’s atmosphere and its interaction with the Sun. Photo Credit: NASA

Two remarkable men met on the morning of 2 April 1992, three months into International Space Year. One of them […]