Skylab's Long-Haired Messenger: The Visitation of Comet Kohoutek

Skylab and its Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM)—seen here with its “windmill” of solar arrays—was a critical asset in observing Comet Kohoutek in the winter of 1973-74. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, nine men occupied America’s first space station, high above the Earth. Much of the history of Skylab is clouded by its early […]

Opinion: At Long Last, Is the International Space Station Worth It?

The International Space Station is a sprawling complex the size of a football field. However, after decades of designs, redesigns, and being placed in a less-than-optimal orbit, is the complex worth the $100 billion price tag? Image Credit: NASA

For a long time, it looked as if it would never happen: the Reagan-era Space […]

“It’ll Be A Miracle”: The Rescue of Palapa and Westar (Part 2)

Secured into the Manned Manoeuvring Unit (MMU), and with the stinger positioned ahead of him, Dale Gardner enters the shadow of Westar. Minutes after this photograph – one of the most spectacular of 1984 – was taken, Gardner announced success with the capture of 51A’s second satellite. Photo Credit: NASA

By the summer of […]

“It’ll Be A Miracle”: The Rescue of Palapa and Westar (Part 1)

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a ‘For Sale’ sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the Shuttle’s credentials as infallible…but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense of complacency. The […]

Next Station Crew Heads “Off the Earth...For the Earth”

The rocket bearing the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft, destined to carry astronaut Kevin Ford and cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeni Tarelkin to the International Space Station tomorrow morning, is raised to a vertical position on its desolate Baikonur pad. Photo Credit: AFP

One Sunday afternoon, in the none too distant future, Kevin Ford hopes to […]