AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AsiaSat-6 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
27 Aug 14 4:50:00 GMT
27 Aug 14 0:50:00 EDT

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'You'd Be Booked Up': 30 Years Since the Maiden Voyage of Shuttle Discovery (Part 1)

Hank Hartsfield (bottom center), surrounded by his STS-41D crewmates on the maiden voyage of Discovery in August 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today (30 August 1984), the Shuttle Discovery—which would become, in time, the most-flown member of NASA’s fleet of orbiters—embarked on her maiden space voyage, launching from Pad 39A at the [...]

'A Woman in the Driver's Seat': Remembering STS-93, First Flight Helmed by a Female Shuttle Commander

The STS-93 crew poses with a model of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. This shuttle mission also entered into the history books for having the first female commander (Eileen Collins, here joined by Steven Hawley, Jerry Ashby, Michel Tognini, and Cady Coleman). Photo Credit: NASA

The 2009 book Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to [...]

Hank Hartsfield, Shuttle Discovery's First Commander, Dies Aged 80

Hank Hartsfield (left), pictured with crewmate Ken Mattingly, shortly before the launch of STS-4 in June 1982. Photo Credit: NASA

Former NASA astronaut Hank Hartsfield, a veteran of three shuttle missions in the early 1980s—including command of the maiden voyage of the fleet leader, Discovery—passed away earlier today (Thursday, 17 July), reportedly due to [...]

'Like Drowned Rats': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 2)

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 Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … We have a Go for main engine start … ”

The preparations proceeded remarkably smoothly [...]

'Silent, Except for the Wind': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, this week, Discovery prepared for her maiden voyage and the third shuttle flight of 1984. On 26 June, it brought NASA face to face with the harsh nature of launching humans into space. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-31 seconds … We have a Go for autosequence start … Discovery’s computers now taking [...]

'The Sultans of Space': The Multi-Cultural Mission of STS-51G (Part 1)

By the end of his seven days in space, Sultan Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud had given up looking for his own country, or even his own continent, and came to realize that all humans belonged to just “One World.” It is a message which continues to resonate today. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost three decades ago, on [...]

'The Shuttle Begins': Book Review of 'Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972–1986,' by David Hitt and Heather R. Smith

Bold They Rise, by authors David Hitt and Heather R. Smith, captures the excitement of the early space shuttle days, including highlights from this 1984 mission, STS-41D. Photo Credit: NASA

Heywood Floyd: …What? What’s going to happen? Dave Bowman: Something wonderful. — 2010: The Year We Make Contact, 1984

It would be easy to [...]

To the Brink, From the Brink: Happy 24th Birthday, Hubble (Part 2)

Discovery rockets into the highest orbit ever attained by a shuttle on 24 April 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades ago, this very week, one of the most important missions in the annals of scientific discovery got underway with the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This enormous, $1.5 billion observatory, with [...]

'Repairing Hubble' Showcases Space Telescope's Components on Anniversary

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was photographed by Space Shuttle Discovery’s IMAX Cargo Bay Camera being deployed on April 25, 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

On Wednesday, April 23, Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum observed the 24th anniversary of NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s launch into orbit by unveiling “Repairing Hubble.” This new [...]

The Eighth Wonder: Happy 24th Birthday, Hubble (Part 1)

Since its inaugural deployment from the shuttle in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has peered deeper into the cosmos than ever before in human history. Photo Credit: NASA

“If there were ever two missions that were completely opposite in terms of the public attention that was given to them,” astronaut Loren Shriver once [...]