'Some Serious Fireworks': Celebrating Independence Day in Space (Part 2)

Throughout the 30-year Space Shuttle era, six missions were in orbit on Independence Day. Of those six, just one (STS-121) launched on the holiday and another (STS-4) landed on the holiday. Photo Credit: NASA

Commander Ken Mattingly and Pilot Hank Hartsfield salute President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan on Edwards’ concrete Runway 22 on Independence Day in 1982. Columbia is clearly visible in the background. Photo Credit: NASA

“Eight, seven, six … Go for Main Engine Start … ”

It was a familiar preamble from the […]

100th Shuttle Commander and STS-100 Spacewalker Inducted into Astronaut Hall of Fame

Underneath the Saturn V rocket and Space Shuttle Atlantis, veteran spacefarers Brian Duffy and Scott Parazynski were inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHOF) over the weekend. Photo Credit: Talia Landman

This weekend saw the induction of veteran shuttle fliers Brian Duffy (left) and Scott Parazynski into the Astronaut Hall of Fame (AHOF). Photo Credit: NASA

Having circled hundreds of miles above Earth, a pair of NASA spacefarers with a personal affinity for the word hundred were this weekend inducted into the Astronaut Hall of […]

Malarkey Milkshakes: 25 Years Since STS-39 (Part 2)

After almost two months of delays, Discovery roars into orbit on 28 April 1991, 25 years ago, this week. Her STS-39 mission marked the longest shuttle flight ever conducted for the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

After almost two months of delays, Discovery roars into orbit on 28 April 1991, 25 years ago, this week. Her STS-39 mission marked the longest shuttle flight ever conducted for the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, next week, one of the most complex space shuttle missions in […]

'What Did You Tell My Wife?': 25 Years Since STS-39 (Part 1)

The Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS), attached to a deployable Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), was one of the principal payloads aboard STS-39. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS), attached to a deployable Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), was one of the principal payloads aboard STS-39. The eight-day flight was the longest shuttle mission ever conducted in support of the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, the loss of Challenger, on 28 […]

'On its Way': 25 Years Since STS-41 Sent Ulysses to the Sun (Part 2)

Mounted atop its IUS and PAM-S boosters, Ulysses departs Earth at the start of its odyssey to explore the Sun. Image Credit: NASA

Dick Richards enjoyed a sound night’s sleep on 5 October 1990. In the astronaut crew quarters at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, he was only hours away from commanding […]

Many Twists and Turns: 25 Years Since STS-41 Sent Ulysses to the Sun (Part 1)

Ulysses drifts serenely above Earth in the moments after deployment on 6 October 1990, 25 years ago, this week. Shortly after this image was taken, the attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and Payload Assist Module (PAM)-S boosters would propel the craft faster than any previous man-made object out of Earth’s gravitational clutches. Photo Credit: […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 2)

For the final time in the 30-year shuttle program, Endeavour’s engines blaze for their Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) on 6 April 1992. Photo Credit: NASA

“Three engines up. All going well.”

Thirty years ago, last week, the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) of the orbiter Atlantis roared to life and burned fiercely for […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 1)

Each shuttle was powered by a trio of RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). These were test-fired before each orbiter’s maiden voyage, during the Flight Readiness Firing (FRF). Image Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne

“And we have a Go for Autosequence Start. Atlantis’ on-board computers now controlling the final sequence.”

Thirty years ago, last week, NASA […]

'A Heck of a Push': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 2)

The sheer size of the 15,000-pound (6,800-kg) Leasat-3 satellite is illustrated in this view of James “Ox” van Hoften manhandling it into space on Mission 51I. Photo Credit: NASA

For Dick Covey, the instant Space Shuttle Discovery broke the shackles of Earth on the cusp of daybreak on 27 August 1985 had been a […]

'Winging It': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 1)

In a triumphant ending to a triumphant space salvage, James “Ox” van Hoften strikes a Charles Atlas pose on the end of the shuttle’s RMS mechanical arm, seemingly hoisting the world on his shoulders. Photo Credit: NASA

When Discovery touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in […]