'Broken at the Boom': 20 Years Since STS-75 (Part 2)

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Spectacular view of Columbia’s payload bay and aft compartment, during STS-75. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, Space Shuttle Columbia rocketed into orbit carrying one of the most unusual experiments on record: the reflight of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1R). It was intended to demonstrate the “electrodynamics” of a conducting tether […]

'A Little Adrenaline Rush': 20 Years Since STS-75 (Part 1)

The seven-man STS-75 included four veterans of the first Tethered Satellite System (TSS) mission, as well as marking the first shuttle flight to include as many as three European astronauts. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

The STS-75 crew pose for their official portrait. Seated are Pilot Scott “Doc” Horowitz, Commander Andy Allen, and Payload Commander Franklin Chang-Diaz, with Maurizo Cheli, Umberto Guidoni, Jeff Hoffman, and Claude Nicollier standing. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, Space Shuttle Columbia rocketed into orbit carrying one of the most unusual experiments on record: […]

'You Need to Hear All the Notes': 25 Years Since STS-35 (Part 2)

Stunning perspective of Namibia, as viewed by the STS-35 crew, 25 years ago, in December 1990. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Had history smiled with more favor, ASTRO-1 might have taken place almost three decades ago, but the space shuttle’s first mission totally dedicated to astrophysics was repeatedly delayed in the aftermath of […]

'Like Night Flying in an Airplane': 25 Years Since STS-35 (Part 1)

But for the tragic loss of Challenger, the ASTRO-1 mission might have flown just five weeks later, in March 1986. As circumstances transpired, it would be more than four years before the mission rose into orbit. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this week, four powerful ultraviolet and X-ray “eyes” peered […]

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). […]

'Vide Mater, Sine Manibus': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 2)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, next week, the crew of Mission 51D watched open-mouthed as a powerful communications satellite which they had […]

'It's Gonna Be Great': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 1)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

None of the 135 missions flown by NASA’s five-strong fleet of shuttle orbiters between April 1981 and July 2011 could […]

Repair and Salvage: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 4)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Ironically, the spacecraft from which the most Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) were performed—the space shuttle—was not originally intended to carry the capability for spacewalking at […]

The Flight That Wasn't: 30 Years Since the Unflown Mission 51E (Part 2)

In its third incarnation, the mission of Karol “Bo” Bobko finally takes flight on 12 April 1985. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Three decades ago, the shuttle program appeared bulletproof. In 1984, astronauts embarked on untethered EVAs, deployed satellites and performed scientific research, retrieved and repaired the crippled Solar Max observatory, and salvaged […]

The Flight That Wasn't: 30 Years Since the Unflown Mission 51E (Part 1)

The “core” NASA crew of Mission 41F, scheduled for launch on 9 August 1984 for a seven-day flight. From left to right are Commander Karol “Bo” Bobko, Pilot Don Williams and Mission Specialists Dave Griggs, Rhea Seddon and Jeff Hoffman. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, the shuttle program […]