'Those Things Don't Happen By Accident': 20 Years Since 'The Spirit of '76' (Part 1)

STS-76 marked the fourth shuttle to rendezvous with Mir, and the third to dock. It also marked the first shuttle flight to land with fewer crew members than it launched with. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

STS-76 was the fourth shuttle mission to rendezvous, and the third to dock, with Russia’s Mir space station. It also marked the first shuttle mission to deliver a long-duration crew member and return to Earth with a smaller crew than that with which it launched. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago, […]

Fifteen Midnights: Celebrating the New Year in Space (Part 1)

Bill Shepherd (center) and his Expedition 1 crewmates Yuri Gidzenko (left) and Sergei Krikalev juggle oranges during their time aboard the International Space Station. They celebrated both Christmas and the dawn of 2001 in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Bill Shepherd (center) and his Expedition 1 crewmates Yuri Gidzenko (left) and Sergei Krikalev juggle oranges during their time aboard the International Space Station. They celebrated both Christmas and the dawn of 2001 in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

With a naval officer in command of the International Space Station (ISS), it might have seemed […]

Five Decades of Celebrating Christmas in Space (Part 1)

The new crew, as well as the incumbent "core" of Expedition 46, meet in Russia's Zvezda service module for the customary post-docking press conference. Photo Credit: NASA TV

Truly the voyage of Apollo 8 over the Christmas period in 1968 carried with it the most profound message of the Greatest Story Ever Told: a message of peace, goodwill and harmony to the inhabitants of Planet Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

For the first time, an American citizen recorded as many as three Christmases […]

Who Is This? Remembering the Flight of STS-81 (Part 2)

The combined shuttle and Mir crews, pictured during the STS-81 visiting mission in January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Almost two decades ago, America’s shuttle program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, equipment, and supplies to an Earth-circling space station. And in the small hours of […]

Stepping Stones to Space Station: Remembering the Flight of STS-81 (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into the night on 12 January 1997, kicking off the shuttle program’s fifth docking mission to Mir. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Almost two decades ago, America’s shuttle program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, equipment, and supplies to an Earth-circling space station. And in […]

'Fifteen Midnights': Celebrating the New Year in Space (Part 1)

Bill Shepherd (center) and his Expedition 1 crewmates, Yuri Gidzenko (left) and Sergei Krikalev, juggle oranges during their time aboard the International Space Station. They celebrated both Christmas and the dawn of 2001 in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

With a naval officer in command of the International Space Station, it might have seemed obvious […]

Ding-Dong Merrily On-Orbit: Celebrating Yuletide in Space (Part 1)

Truly the voyage of Apollo 8 over the Christmas period in 1968 carried with it the most profound message of the Greatest Story Ever Told: a message of peace, goodwill and harmony to the inhabitants of Planet Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

For the first time in history, two women will celebrate Christmas on Thursday, […]

Shuttle on the Night Shift: 25 Years Since STS-33

STS-33 was the first nocturnal shuttle launch and landing of the post-Challenger era; entirely appropriate, perhaps, in light of the shroud of darkness which covered its primary payload. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, this week, in November 1989, the shuttle embarked on its first launch and landing in the hours of darkness since […]

'The Choreography Was Incredible': 21 Years Since the Controversial Mission of STS-58 (Part 2)

Columbia roars into orbit at 10:53 a.m. EST on 18 October 1993, 21 years ago yesterday. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-one years ago, yesterday, on 18 October 1993, the longest flight ever attempted in shuttle history—the 14-day STS-58 mission, carrying the second Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-2) research payload—was launched into orbit. Aboard Columbia were astronauts […]

'A Unique Opportunity': 21 Years Since the Controversial Mission of STS-58 (Part 1)

Glorious view of the Home Planet from STS-58, with the SLS-2 Spacelab module clearly visible in Columbia’s payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA

“John, we’re going to fly you one of these days,” Launch Director Bob Sieck called over the communications loop on 15 October 1993. The disappointment of another scrubbed launch attempt was evident […]