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” […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 2)

Spectacular view of Hurricane Marilyn, centered over the Caribbean Sea, during the STS-69 mission in September 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades have now passed since an 11-day period in September 1995, when the “Dogs of War” barked, woofed, and yelped their way through a remarkable mission which put virtually all of the space […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 1)

Mike Gernhardt, pictured during his EVA with fellow astronaut Jim Voss, on STS-69. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 7 September 1995—20 years ago, last week—five astronauts, clad in bulky orange pressure suits, departed the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), bound for Pad 39A and their ride […]

Venus, Unmasked: 25 Years Since the Arrival of Magellan at Earth's Evil Twin

Radar image of the northern hemisphere of Venus, taken by the Magellan spacecraft. During its 50 months in orbit around Earth’s evil twin, which began 25 years ago today, Magellan radar-mapped 98 percent of the surface. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Twenty-five years ago, today, a spacecraft slipped silently into orbit around Venus to begin an […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 8—'It'll Be A Miracle'

Dale Gardner holds up the famous “For Sale” sign to commemorate the successful salvage operation on Palapa-B2 and Westar-VI in November 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance Brand rocket into orbit aboard Challenger on Mission […]

'Stop the Clock': 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 2)

Discovery thunders into orbit on 8 November 1984 to begin the first shuttle mission to deploy and retrieve two pairs of spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA

By the summer of 1984, the space shuttle had enjoyed success and disappointment in equal measure. Astronauts had successfully tested a new jet-propelled backpack, the Manned Manoeuvring Unit (MMU), […]

Halcyon Days: 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 1)

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. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance Brand […]

Dog Names, Dog Tags, Dog Bowls: The 11 Barking Days of STS-69 (Part 2)

The SPARTAN-201 science satellite, pictured during its period of free flight on STS-69. Photo Credit: NASA

Nineteen years ago, last week, the “Dogs of War” barked, woofed, and yelped their way through a remarkable mission which put virtually all of the space shuttle’s capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, spacewalking, and science—to […]

Dog Names, Dog Tags, Dog Bowls: The 11 Barking Days of STS-69 (Part 1)

Mike Gernhardt, pictured during his EVA on STS-69. Photo Credit: NASA

Nineteen years ago, last week, the “Dogs of War” barked, woofed, and yelped their way through a remarkable mission which put virtually all of the space shuttle capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, spacewalking, and science—to the test. During STS-69 in […]