'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 […]

'A Wonderful Moment For Us All': 10 Years Since Discovery Came Safely Home to Earth (Part 2)

Discovery touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 9 August 2005. Ten years ago, today, STS-114 marked the Return to Flight (RTF) of the shuttle fleet after the Columbia tragedy and opened the door for the completion of the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years ago, today, Space Shuttle […]

'Return to Flight, Not Rush to Flight': 10 Years Since Discovery Came Safely Home to Earth (Part 1)

Discovery sits on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 9 August 2005, after completing STS-114, the first post-Columbia shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years have now passed since the first space shuttle streaked safely back to Earth on 9 August 2005, in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. The crew of […]

Summer of Discontent: 25 Years Since the Shuttle Hydrogen Leaks (Part 2)

In one of the most historic shuttle-era photographs ever taken, this image shows the STS-38/Atlantis stack (at right) returning to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for repairs on 9 August 1990. In doing so, it passed the STS-35/Columbia stack (at left), which was returning to the launch pad after several weeks of extensive repair […]

Summer of Discontent: 25 Years Since the Shuttle Hydrogen Leaks (Part 1)

Pictured in September 1990, the problem-plagued STS-35 stack is shown in the foreground, on Pad 39A, with the STS-41 stack in the background on Pad 39B. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, in the summer of 1990, the shuttle program was in chaos. Less than two years since the resumption of flight operations in […]