AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch GPS IIF-7 on a Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL scheduled for 1 Aug 14 3:27:00 GMT

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'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 [...]

Veteran Astronauts Dave Leestma and Andy Thomas Depart NASA

Between them, Dave Leestma and Andy Thomas launched aboard no less than seven shuttle missions. This view shows the early-morning ascent of STS-77 on 19 May 1996, which marked Thomas’ first flight. Photo Credit: NASA

With seven space missions, two EVAs, and almost 200 cumulative days in orbit between them, two of NASA’s best [...]

'The Sultans of Space': The Multi-Cultural Mission of STS-51G (Part 2)

Pictured on Discovery’s aft flight deck, the STS-51G crew featured three discrete sovereign nations for the first time in shuttle history. Front row, from left, are John Creighton, Shannon Lucid, and Dan Brandenstein, with Sultan Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, Steve Nagel, John Fabian, and Patrick Baudry in the background. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost three decades ago, [...]

'The Sultans of Space': The Multi-Cultural Mission of STS-51G (Part 1)

By the end of his seven days in space, Sultan Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud had given up looking for his own country, or even his own continent, and came to realize that all humans belonged to just “One World.” It is a message which continues to resonate today. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost three decades ago, on [...]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 2)

Fully deployed, the Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) sprouts from the SPARTAN-207 satellite. Photo Credit: NASA

Eighteen years ago this week, six men orbited Earth aboard Shuttle Endeavour on one of the most complex research flights ever conducted in the program’s 30-year history. With such a large number of payloads aboard, it was imperative for [...]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 1)

At the cusp of daybreak on 19 May 1996, Endeavour thunders into orbit to begin the multi-faceted STS-77 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 20 May 1996, astronaut Mario Runco Jr. grappled SPARTAN-207—a small, free-flying spacecraft, equipped with a very unique payload—and unberthed it from Endeavour’s payload bay with the shuttle’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator [...]

Wubbo Ockels, Holland's First Citizen in Space, Dies Aged 68

Wubbo Ockels (fourth from left) poses with his fellow 61A crewmates and backup Ulf Merbold (in dark suit) before the October 1985 mission. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Wubbo Ockels, Holland’s first man in space and a member of the only shuttle mission to launch and land with a crew of eight, died earlier today [...]

‘A Big Mental Switch’: The Maiden Voyage of Endeavour (Part 2)

Two decades have passed since Endeavour’s maiden voyage; a voyage which set record after record in terms of EVA, accomplishment and astronaut endurance, including the first (and so far only) three-person spacewalk. She continued to set records for the rest of her operational life. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-two years ago, on 7 May 1992, the [...]

'A Mission We Wanted to Do': The Maiden Voyage of Endeavour (Part 1)

With the possible exception of Columbia and the very first space shuttle mission, few orbiters had as dramatic and exciting a maiden voyage as Endeavour. On STS-49, she provided a reliable stage for the longest EVA in history and the first three-man EVA in history. Despite the trials and tribulations of the flight, she [...]

Mission to Unveil Earth's Twisted Sister: 25 Years Since STS-30 (Part 2)

Atlantis roars into orbit on her fourth mission to deploy NASA’s Magellan spacecraft on a 15-month voyage to Venus. Photo Credit: NASA, via SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago today, on 4 May 1989, Shuttle Atlantis thundered into orbit on a remarkable mission which would unveil the planet Venus—nicknamed Earth’s “twisted sister”—in a wholly new light. During [...]