AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AsiaSat-6 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
27 Aug 14 4:50:00 GMT
27 Aug 14 0:50:00 EDT

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Fixing Solar Max: 30 Years Since Mission 41C (Part 2)

Backdropped by the glorious Earth, Challenger drifts serenely with Solar Max secured in her payload bay. Photo Credit: SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago today (6 April 1984), the shuttle launched on arguably its most ambitious mission to date: a mission which would demonstrate the reusable orbiter’s capabilities of rendezvous, retrieval, satellite repair, and spacewalking with [...]

Fixing Solar Max: 30 Years Since Mission 41C (Part 1)

Thirty years ago this week, Mission 41C put the shuttle’s capabilities to the test. In a single flight, the reusable vehicle demonstrated its capacity to support satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, untethered spacewalking and robotics … and served as a highlight of the ingenuity of the human spirit. Photo Credit: SpaceFacts.de

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Mission 61C: The Original ‘Mission Impossible’ (Part 2)

“Mission Impossible” finally launches as Columbia roars into the darkened Florida skies on 12 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA

On Mission 61C, launched on this day (12 January) in 1986, Space Shuttle Columbia was making her first orbital flight in over two years. Late in January 1984, a month after returning from her STS-9 [...]

Mission 61C: The Original ‘Mission Impossible’ (Part 1)

Columbia swoops like a bird of prey into Edwards Air Force Base on 18 January 1986, just 10 days ahead of the Challenger tragedy. Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson would later refer to this mission as “The End of Innocence” … for after Challenger the shuttle program would never be the same again. Photo Credit: [...]

'To Launch Americans Into Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 2)

 

After 32 months of agony and introspection, the Kennedy Space Center was again rocked by the roar of shuttle main engines and Solid Rocket Boosters on the morning of 29 September 1988. It was the dawn of a new era. Photo Credit: NASA

Setting aside the enormity of the fact that STS-26 would [...]

'Americans Return to Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 1)

Twenty-five years have now passed since STS-26, the mission which laid the ghosts of Challenger to rest and opened the gates for a second Golden Age of shuttle operations. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the voice of launch commentator Hugh Harris exulted “Americans return to space” on the morning of [...]

'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 [...]