AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
31 Jan 15 14:22:00 GMT
31 Jan 15 6:22:00 PST
31 Jan 15 9:22:00 Eastern

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'Lock the Doors': Remembering Columbia's Final Return to Earth

As evidenced by the clock on the main screen at 14:15:05 GMT (9:15:05 a.m. EST), this view of a tense Mission Control was acquired a quarter of an hour after the first sign of trouble … and a minute ahead of Columbia’s expected landing. By now, everyone was aware that all hope was gone […]

'Not By a Single Centimeter': 20 Years Since STS-63 (Part 1)

Valeri Polyakov, pictured at Mir’s windows during the STS-63 shuttle rendezvous mission in February 1995, is the incumbent record-holder for the longest single spaceflight. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago, next week, in February 1995, the crew of Shuttle Discovery roared into the night on a mission which featured the first […]

Mars Science Treasure Dead Ahead as Opportunity Celebrates 11th Year Alive Roving Martian Mountain

11 Years on Mars! New mountain top view from NASA’s Opportunity rover taken on the day of her 11th anniversary exploring the Red Planet on Sol 3911, Jan. 24, 2015, since Martian touchdown on Jan. 24, 2004. The view from atop Cape Tribulation was taken just after departing the summit and shows the down […]

'Major Malfunction': The Final Launch of Challenger, 28 Years Ago Today

Challenger’s final crew, as they should be remembered: positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity’s reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) are Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) are Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and […]

'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the Sacrifice of Apollo 1

After the first cry from Roger Chaffee (left), even super-fit Ed White (center) was unable to even fully release the first bolt from the command module’s inner hatch before he was overcome by fumes. The most likely origin of the fire was somewhere beneath the seat of Gus Grissom (right). Photo Credit: NASA

Almost […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 2)

Since the conception of the Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE) program, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 1)

Mission 51C roars into orbit on 24 January 1985, kicking off the shuttle program’s first dedicated Department of Defense assignment. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space program: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to […]

'Man of Destiny': Astronaut Tom Jones Turns 60 Today

Tom Jones waves during his first career EVAs on STS-98, the mission which installed the U.S. Destiny laboratory onto the International Space Station (ISS) in February 2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Tom Jones—a man who did, then didn’t, and then did again, embark on the hundredth spacewalk in U.S. history—turns 60 today (Thursday, 22 […]

Dawn’s Greatest Glimpse Yet of Ceres Hints at Startling Revelations Soon to Come

GIF animation of Ceres images taken by Dawn spacecraft on Jan. 13, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

We’ve wondered about Ceres‘ nature and true identity for over two centuries, ever since it was discovered on New Year’s Day, 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi of Italy. It’s been alternately classified as a planet, asteroid, and more recently as […]

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 […]