AmericaSpace Countdown

Next Launch TMA-16M on a Soyuz-FG rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
scheduled for:
27 Mar 15 19:42:59 GMT
28 Mar 15 1:42:59 ALMT
27 Mar 15 15:42:59 Eastern

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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 […]

Repair and Salvage: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 4)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Ironically, the spacecraft from which the most Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) were performed—the space shuttle—was not originally intended to carry the capability for spacewalking at […]

'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 […]

Soyuz TMA-14M Crew Returns to Earth After 167-Day Mission

Tired but healthy and undoubtedly glad to be home, the Soyuz TMA-14M crew of (from left) Yelena Serova, Aleksandr Samokutyayev, and Barry “Butch” Wilmore spent 167 days in orbit during Expedition 41/42. Photo Credit: NASA

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the No. 42 may be the answer to the unknowable question, but […]

'Since the Earth Cooled': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of STS-67 (Part 2)

Endeavour touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 18 March 1995, after almost 17 days in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Records are there to be broken, and in March 1995—20 years ago, this week—the crew of Endeavour was midway through what turned out to be the longest flight in shuttle program history […]

'Instant Daylight': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of STS-67 (Part 1)

Commander Steve Oswald leads the STS-67 crew out of the Operations and Checkout Building on the late evening of 1 March 1995, bound for a liftoff in the small hours of the following morning. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, seven astronauts, including four professional astronomers, were midway through what turned out […]

Now You Don't: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 2)

Atlantis rockets into the night on 28 February 1990, headed for the shuttle’s first “dogleg” maneuver and the highest orbital inclination ever attained by a U.S. piloted spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century has now passed since one of the quietest missions in the shuttle’s 30-year operational history. On 28 February […]

Now You See It: 25 Years Since the Mysterious Mission of STS-36 (Part 1)

The official crew patch for shuttle mission STS-36, which launched 25 years ago today, on 28 February 1990. Image Credit: NASA

Something strange happened in March 1990. Ground-based observers were busy tracking the orbital progress of a classified Department of Defense payload, recently deployed by the crew of Shuttle Atlantis on STS-36—Commander John “J.O.” […]

Historic Satellite Retrieved by Three-Person Shuttle Spacewalk Ends its Life, According to Intelsat

Its new booster securely fitted, Intelsat 603 drifts away from Endeavour’s payload bay. After insertion into geosynchronous orbit, the satellite was instrumental in providing television coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost a quarter-century since its launch, and more than two decades since shuttle astronauts triumphantly snatched it from an unusable […]