Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 2)

An artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its closest approach to Pluto and Charon on 14 July. This spacecraft is the only successful outcome in a long line of unrealized missions to Pluto. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

When a Kansan farmboy-turned-astronomer named Clyde Tombaugh discovered […]

'Houston, Atlantis, We Have Capture': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 2)

By pure happenstance, Atlantis was about to enter a protracted period of modification when the Shuttle-Mir contracts were signed in 1992. As a result, she was the primary orbiter outfitted for the docking missions. Photo Credit: NASA

The coming days and weeks mark a pair of significant anniversaries in the history of co-operation between the […]

Three Weeks to Pluto: A World of Tiny Moons and Missed Mission Opportunities (Part 1)

An artist’s depiction of Pluto, as seen from the surface of its largest moon, Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Three weeks now remain before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft—launched in January 2006—sweeps past the dwarf world Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and at least four tiny moons, reaching the climax […]

'Houston, Atlantis, We Have Capture': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 1)

Space Shuttle Atlantis, as viewed through one of Mir’s windows, during the extraordinary docking mission in June 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years after the remarkable flight of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)—which saw U.S. astronauts Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton work together in orbit for a handful of days with Soviet […]

Four Weeks to Pluto: From a Point of Light to a Real World (Part 2)

Artist’s conception of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: ESO

Thirty days from now, on 14 July, a machine fashioned by human hands will speed silently past one of the last great unexplored wildernesses of our Solar System. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, launched 9.5 years ago, is close to the culmination of its mission to […]

'The Sultans of Space': 30 Years Since the Multi-Cultural Mission of STS-51G (Part 2)

Pictured on Discovery’s aft flight deck, the STS-51G crew featured three discrete sovereign nations for the first time in shuttle history. Front row, from left, are John Creighton, Shannon Lucid, and Dan Brandenstein, with Sultan Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Steve Nagel, John Fabian, and Patrick Baudry in the background. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, on […]

Four Weeks to Pluto: From a Point of Light to a Real World (Part 1)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during closest approach to Pluto on July 14. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

In a little more than four weeks’ time, on 14 July, NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft will sweep past the dwarf planet Pluto, its large binary companion Charon, and […]

'The Sultans of Space': 30 Years Since 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

Three decades ago, on 17 […]

After 28 Weeks in Orbit, Multi-National Soyuz TMA-15M Crew Returns Safely to Earth

The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 43 commander Terry Virts of NASA, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from European Space Agency (ESA) near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Virts, Shkaplerov, and Cristoforetti are returning […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 1—'One Small Step'

One of the relatively few images of Neil Armstrong at work on the lunar surface, close to Eagle. Photo Credit: NASA

On Sunday, 20 July 1969, the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC)—later to become the Johnson Space Center (JSC)—in Houston, Texas, was filled with tension and expectant quiet. […]