AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch AsiaSat-6 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
26 Aug 14 5:50:00 GMT
26 Aug 14 1:50:00 EDT

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'Like Drowned Rats': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 2)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines, still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984, in the wake of the shuttle program’s first Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … We have a Go for main engine start … ”

The preparations proceeded remarkably smoothly [...]

'Silent, Except for the Wind': 30 Years Since the Maiden Countdown of Discovery (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, this week, Discovery prepared for her maiden voyage and the third shuttle flight of 1984. On 26 June, it brought NASA face to face with the harsh nature of launching humans into space. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-31 seconds … We have a Go for autosequence start … Discovery’s computers now taking [...]

'Freeze the Sim': The Unflown International Mission of STS-61H (Part 2)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years and all crews, including 61H, were stood down. Photo Credit: NASA

The beginning of the end of Mission 61H came on 28 January 1986, when Challenger and her [...]

'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 [...]