AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AFSPC-4 on a Delta 4 - Medium+ rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 28 Jul 14 22:43:00 GMT

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'Whatever Was Needed': 15 Years Since the First Female Shuttle Commander (Part 2)

Columbia roars into the darkened Florida sky at 12:31 a.m. EDT on 23 July 1999. It would be one of the most hazardous launch phases in shuttle history. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, this week, the first woman ever to lead a space mission was launched aboard Shuttle Columbia to deliver NASA’s $1.5 [...]

'Making Superman Jealous': 15 Years Since the First Female Shuttle Commander (Part 1)

Eileen Collins, the first female spacecraft commander in history, floats in Columbia’s middeck, 15 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

“It’s great to be back in zero-g again,” said STS-93 commander Eileen Collins, early on 23 July 1999, as she and her four crewmates set about preparing the Shuttle Columbia for five days [...]

'Totally Different Moon': 45 Years Since Apollo 11 Changed the World (Part 2)

To Mike Collins, the contrast between the iridescence of life on Earth and the barren, forbidding nature of the Moon was striking and profound. Photo Credit: NASA

When Apollo 11 and its three-man crew—Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin—rose into space 45 years ago, this week, on the morning of 16 July 1969, they [...]

'All Engines Running': 45 Years Since Apollo 11 Changed the World (Part 1)

Captured from a remote camera, this ghostly image records the instant of our species’ first steps into the Universe around us. Even humanity’s first footfalls on the Red Planet or any other world in the years to come, nothing can ever match the history-making audacity of what Neil Armstrong achieved one hot summer’s night [...]

'What's Tab November?': The Independence Day Mission of STS-4 (Part 2)

Columbia roars into orbit on 27 June 1982, kicking off the STS-4 mission. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

More than three decades ago, on Independence Day (4 July) in 1982, Columbia triumphantly touched down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., concluding the fourth shuttle mission. Aboard the reusable spacecraft were Commander Ken Mattingly and Pilot [...]

'A Hundred Flights ... ': The Independence Day Mission of STS-4 (Part 1)

Columbia touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 4 July 1982, concluding the shuttle’s fourth and final Orbital Flight Test. Photo Credit: NASA

More than three decades ago, on Independence Day (4 July) in 1982, Columbia triumphantly touched down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., concluding the fourth shuttle mission. Aboard the [...]

'Like Drowned Rats': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 2)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines, still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984, in the wake of the shuttle program’s first Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … We have a Go for main engine start … ”

The preparations proceeded remarkably smoothly [...]

'Silent, Except for the Wind': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, this week, Discovery prepared for her maiden voyage and the third shuttle flight of 1984. On 26 June, it brought NASA face to face with the harsh nature of launching humans into space. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-31 seconds … We have a Go for autosequence start … Discovery’s computers now taking [...]

'Freeze the Sim': The Unflown International Mission of STS-61H (Part 2)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years and all crews, including 61H, were stood down. Photo Credit: NASA

The beginning of the end of Mission 61H came on 28 January 1986, when Challenger and her [...]

'Neat People': The Unflown International Mission of STS-61H (Part 1)

The view of the Home Planet from low-Earth orbit has been enjoyed by relatively few humans. Had the hands of fate turned more kindly, in June 1986 it might have been witnessed by a crew of U.S., British, and Indonesian astronauts. Photo Credit: NASA/Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

It has been almost a quarter of a century [...]