'To Come to California': Remembering Shuttle Columbia's Maiden Voyage

Columbia approaches touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., 34 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA

More than three decades have passed since the maiden voyage of the space shuttle. On 12 April 1981, orbiter Columbia rocketed away from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), kicking off a new era which would […]

Dawn of an Era: Remembering Shuttle Columbia's Maiden Launch

 

Thirty-four years ago, today, at dawn, Columbia roared into orbit, heralding the dawn of a new era in U.S. space exploration. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty-four years ago, today, on 12 April 1981, the first winged orbital space vehicle carrying human pilots was launched from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) […]

'Vide Mater, Sine Manibus': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 2)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, next week, the crew of Mission 51D watched open-mouthed as a powerful communications satellite which they had […]

'It's Gonna Be Great': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 1)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

None of the 135 missions flown by NASA’s five-strong fleet of shuttle orbiters between April 1981 and July 2011 could […]

Stretching the Shuttle: 25 Years Since the EDO Decision

Columbia is approached by servicing vehicles on the runway on 7 December 1996, after concluding STS-80, the shuttle program’s longest Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, NASA and Rockwell International reached a historic agreement which would, both figuratively and literally, “extend” the shuttle and its myriad capabilities […]

Scott Kelly Describes Return to Space Station as 'Coming to My Old Home'

Scott Kelly’s first selfie, taken after setting up camp in his crew quarters in the station’s Harmony node on 27/28 March 2015. Photo Credit: Scott Kelly/Twitter/NASA

With about 1 percent of his 342-day mission—which began Thursday, with a rousing launch aboard Soyuz TMA-16M, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan—now complete, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly spoke […]

Veteran Shuttle Pilot and Adventurer Bill Oefelein Turns 50 Today

Bill Oefelein was one of the first members of his astronaut class to venture into space and the first Alaskan to reach orbit. He turns 50 today. Photo Credit: NASA

Although he forged an unfortunate place in popular culture and gained intense media attention in early 2007 as part of a bizarre “love triangle,” […]

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” […]

Ready for Space Station Building: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 5)

Story Musgrave works at the end of Endeavour’s mechanical arm during activities to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in December 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost a quarter-century ago, in April 1991, the effort to build today’s International Space Station (ISS) got underway with a pair of spacewalks—one unplanned—outside the shuttle Atlantis. During STS-37, […]

Identical Twin, Former Paratrooper, and Ecologist to Launch Friday Aboard Soyuz TMA-16M (Part 1)

Soyuz TMA-16M will launch on 27 March 2015, carrying (from left) Scott Kelly, Gennadi Padalka, and Mikhail Kornienko. Photo Credit: NASA

Two sons of Earth are presently enjoying their final hours in terrestrial gravity, before embarking on almost an entire orbit of the Sun, as they prepare to journey to the International Space Station […]