Sprint to the Finish: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 2)

The 61G crew, tasked with deploying Galileo. From left are Norm Thagard, Ron Grabe, Dave Walker and James 'Ox' van Hoften. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted toward Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month—had the hands of fate showed greater kindness—two shuttles might have rocketed into orbit within days of each other to deliver a pair of […]

Willing to Compromise: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 1)

Artist's impression of the Galileo-Centaur deployment on Mission 61G in May 1986. The deployment of Ulysses, less than a week earlier, on Mission 61F would have been similar. Image Credit: NASA

The Centaur-G Prime, mounted in its Centaur Integrated Support Structure (CISS), is readied for launch in the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA

When Challenger was lost in the skies of Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986, it brought to an end the space shuttle’s “age of innocence” […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 8—'It'll Be A Miracle'

Dale Gardner holds up the famous “For Sale” sign to commemorate the successful salvage operation on Palapa-B2 and Westar-VI in November 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance Brand rocket into orbit aboard Challenger on Mission […]

'Stop the Clock': 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 2)

Discovery thunders into orbit on 8 November 1984 to begin the first shuttle mission to deploy and retrieve two pairs of spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA

By the summer of 1984, the space shuttle had enjoyed success and disappointment in equal measure. Astronauts had successfully tested a new jet-propelled backpack, the Manned Manoeuvring Unit (MMU), […]

Halcyon Days: 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 1)

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance Brand […]

Mission to Unveil Earth's Twisted Sister: 25 Years Since STS-30 (Part 1)

Mounted atop Boeing’s Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Magellan departs Atlantis’ payload bay on 4 May 1989. Had Challenger not been lost, Magellan might have flown a year earlier, in April 1988, aboard Mission 81I, with a quite different booster: the Centaur-G Prime. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago this week, in May 1989, Shuttle […]

Dale Gardner, MMU Spacewalker, Dies Aged 65

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the shuttle’s credentials as infallible … but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense of […]

'To Launch Americans Into Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 2)

 

After 32 months of agony and introspection, the Kennedy Space Center was again rocked by the roar of shuttle main engines and Solid Rocket Boosters on the morning of 29 September 1988. It was the dawn of a new era. Photo Credit: NASA

Setting aside the enormity of the fact that STS-26 would […]

'Americans Return to Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 1)

Twenty-five years have now passed since STS-26, the mission which laid the ghosts of Challenger to rest and opened the gates for a second Golden Age of shuttle operations. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the voice of launch commentator Hugh Harris exulted “Americans return to space” on the morning of […]

Ride, Sally Ride: Thirty Years Since America's First Woman in Space (Part 2)

 

Sally Ride at work on Challenger’s flight deck during STS-7. Her mission opened the door for U.S. women to venture into orbit. Thirty years since her pioneering flight, her legacy is represented aboard the International Space Station by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. Photo Credit: NASA

Next week marks the 30th anniversary of the […]