Independence Weekend: Launches, Landings, and Working in Space on the Fourth of July (Part 2)

The Stars and Stripes floats inside the multi-windowed cupola of the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six … Go for Main Engine Start … ”

It was a familiar preamble from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) launch commentator which closely mirrored the final seconds before each of the […]

Independence Weekend: Launches, Landings, and Working in Space on the Fourth of July (Part 1)

 

Thirty-three years ago, today, on 4 July 1982, the crew of STS-4 became the first U.S. astronauts to spend Independence Day in space. It also marked the date of their spectacular return to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 4 July 1982, a rapidly moving black and white […]

'To Work Co-operatively': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 4)

Mir Commander Vladimir Dezhurov (left) and STS-71 Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson shake hands after hatch opening on 29 June 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades have passed, this week, since one of the most remarkable instances of international co-operation ever seen in human history. For 10 days, between 27 June and 7 July 1995, six […]

'To Work Co-operatively': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 3)

Russia’s space station Mir, as pictured by the crew of STS-71. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, today, on 27 June 1995, a new era began. Space Shuttle Atlantis rocketed into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, as she had done 13 times previously, over the course of almost a full […]

'Houston, Atlantis, We Have Capture': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 1)

Space Shuttle Atlantis, as viewed through one of Mir’s windows, during the extraordinary docking mission in June 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years after the remarkable flight of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)—which saw U.S. astronauts Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton work together in orbit for a handful of days with Soviet […]

Traversing the New Frontier: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 6)

Terry Virts is pictured working on cable-routing activities in support of the future International Docking Adapters (IDAs) during EVA-29 on 21 February 2015. This was the first spacewalk in the 50th anniversary year since Alexei Leonov’s pioneering EVA. Photo Credit: NASA

Less than a month ago, on 1 March 2015, U.S. astronauts Barry “Butch” […]

'As Long As It's Not a Hurricane': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of Norm Thagard (Part 2)

Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar participate in Soyuz-TM training in October 1994. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, the first U.S. astronaut in history was launched in a non-U.S. spacecraft, from a non-U.S. nation, with a crew entirely composed of non-U.S. comrades. Four-time shuttle veteran Norm Thagard had spent more than a […]

'To Live Like Russians': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of Norm Thagard (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this week, NASA astronaut Norm Thagard embarked on the United States’ first long-duration space station expedition in more than two decades. Photo Credit: NASA

Today, in 2015, it seems hard to imagine U.S. astronauts being totally unaccustomed to long-duration spaceflight. Over the past two decades, around 50 Americans—from civilian medical doctors […]

'Next Time, We Will Shake Your Hand': 20 Years Since STS-63 (Part 2)

The Mir space station, as viewed by the crew of STS-63. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, next week, in February 1995, U.S. astronauts Jim Wetherbee, Eileen Collins, Bernard Harris, Mike Foale, and Janice Voss, together with veteran Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Titov, launched aboard Shuttle Discovery on one of the most ambitious missions in the […]

'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 […]