AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
27 Oct 14 22:44:00 GMT
27 Oct 14 18:44:00 EDT

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'If Something Happens': Mission 51I and the End of an Era

The sheer size of the 15,000-pound 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 pilot of Mission 51I, the instant that Space Shuttle Discovery broke the shackles of Earth on the cusp of daybreak on 27 [...]

'Crankin’ APUs': Mission 51I and NASA’s ‘Can-Do’ Spirit

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 Space Shuttle Discovery touched down in Florida on 19 April 1985—suffering seized brakes and enduring a [...]

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 [...]