AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
21 Oct 14 2:29:00 GMT
20 Oct 14 22:29:00 EDT

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Flying Free With Meade and Lee: 20 Years Since STS-64 (Part 1)

Equipped with the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) on its first mission, Mark Lee performs the shuttle program’s first untethered spacewalk in more than 10 years in September 1994. Photo Credit: NASA

One hundred and twenty-three times before 16 September 1994, astronauts and cosmonauts had clambered outside their space ships and maneuvered themselves around [...]

Claude Nicollier, First Swiss Astronaut and Europe's First Shuttle Spacewalker, Turns 70 Today

Despite being Switzerland’s first spacewalker, Claude Nicollier wore a U.S. flag (as opposed to the Swiss flag) on the arm of his space suit during his EVA to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in December 1999. Photo Credit: NASA

Claude Nicollier—who became Switzerland’s first and so far only space traveler, the first non-U.S. [...]

'Icebusters': 30 Years Since the Maiden Voyage of Shuttle Discovery (Part 2)

Discovery powers toward orbit on the morning of 30 August 1984, 30 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, the Shuttle Discovery—which would become, in time, the most-flown member of NASA’s fleet of orbiters—embarked on her maiden space voyage, launching from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on [...]

'You'd Be Booked Up': 30 Years Since the Maiden Voyage of Shuttle Discovery (Part 1)

Hank Hartsfield (bottom center), surrounded by his STS-41D crewmates on the maiden voyage of Discovery in August 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today (30 August 1984), the Shuttle Discovery—which would become, in time, the most-flown member of NASA’s fleet of orbiters—embarked on her maiden space voyage, launching from Pad 39A at the [...]

Endearing and Enthusiastic: 30 Years Since NASA's Teacher in Space Project

Mission 51L Commander Dick Scobee talks to schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe about the instrumentation of the shuttle’s flight deck during pre-launch training. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, yesterday, on 27 August 1984, one of the most momentous—and, as circumstances would transpire, also tragic—events in space history unfolded, when President Ronald Reagan announced the Teacher [...]

Men of Similarity: Jerry Ross Fondly Remembers His Friend, Steve Nagel

Steve Nagel (1946-2014). Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Veteran shuttle flyer Jerry Ross—the first human being to chalk up as many as seven discrete space missions—spoke touchingly and with humor yesterday (Tuesday, 26 August) at the funeral of his friend, astronaut Steve Nagel, who died from cancer last week, aged 67. Since their first meeting [...]

Veteran Shuttle Astronaut Steve Nagel Dies, Aged 67

Steve Nagel (1946-2014). Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Veteran shuttle astronaut Steve Nagel died Thursday, 21 August, following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 67. His passing was reported by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) and drew numerous tributes, including former astronaut Tom Jones, who wrote that he was “an exemplary role model [...]

'The Worst Tasting Coffee': 25 Years Since the Secret Mission of STS-28 (Part 2)

Columbia rockets into orbit on the first (and only) wholly classified mission of her career. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, the Shuttle Columbia returned to flight, following a three-year down time in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. Aboard STS-28 for a five-day flight were Commander Brewster Shaw, Pilot Dick Richards, [...]

'Constrained Arrangement': 25 Years Since the Secret Mission of STS-28 (Part 1)

Pictured during her rollout to Pad 39B, Columbia was embarking on her first flight since the Challenger disaster. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Astronaut Dick Richards was five weeks from his first launch into space when the Challenger disaster cruelly snatched the opportunity from him. In January 1985, Richards had been named as Jon McBride’s [...]

'Whatever Was Needed': 15 Years Since the First Female Shuttle Commander (Part 2)

Columbia roars into the darkened Florida sky at 12:31 a.m. EDT on 23 July 1999. It would be one of the most hazardous launch phases in shuttle history. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, this week, the first woman ever to lead a space mission was launched aboard Shuttle Columbia to deliver NASA’s $1.5 [...]