'How Adaptable Humans Are': 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 2)

With an octagonal centerpiece, to honor the Space Flyer Unit (SFU), the STS-72 crew patch highlighted each of the mission's core objectives, as well as the surnames of the crew. Image Credit: NASA

Grappled by Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU) satellite is readied for installation in the payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, last week, in January 1996, Shuttle Endeavour and a six-man crew—Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Brent Jett, and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, […]

Mission for Japan: 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 1)

Endeavour roars into the night on 11 January 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, STS-72 showcased the space shuttle’s myriad capabilities in satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous, science, and spacewalking. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, six astronauts executed a mission which put virtually all of the space shuttle’s capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, research, and spacewalking—to the […]

'Good Luck to the Building': 15 Years Since STS-97 Powered-Up the Space Station (Part 2)

By the end of his third EVA on STS-97, Joe Tanner had accrued over 33 hours of spacewalking time, counting his prior experience servicing the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For more than a decade, we grew used to the sight of shuttles approaching to dock at the International […]

'The First Shuttle Ever to Bounce': 15 Years Since STS-97 Powered-Up the Space Station (Part 1)

Fifteen years ago, next week, STS-97 installed the first set of U.S.-built solar arrays, radiators and batteries onto the International Space Station (ISS), transforming it into the brightest artificial object in Earth’s skies. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifteen years ago, next week, power—in the form of two immense, electricity-generating solar arrays, together […]

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 […]

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 […]

Cassidy Appointed Next Chief of Astronaut Office, Others Move to Management, As NASA Makes Commercial Crew Decisions

Chris Cassidy is helped from Soyuz TMA-08M by a group of supportive hands, including Chief Astronaut Bob Behnken (left) in September 2013. Behnken has now handed the reins of the Astronaut Office to Cassidy as the next chief. Photo Credit: NASA

Less than two years since returning from his most recent mission, and after […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 3—’Repackage Our Margin’

Astronaut Story Musgrave is positioned to replace components at the end of Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm on STS-61 in December 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades have passed since one of the most spectacular EVA missions in U.S. history: the long-awaited first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). […]