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AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch CRS-5 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
scheduled for:
6 Jan 15 11:18:00 GMT
6 Jan 15 6:18:00 EST

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Kevin Chilton, Most Senior Ranking Military Astronaut, Turns 60 Today

Kevin Chilton (right) greets cosmonaut Yuri Onufrienko during the third shuttle-Mir docking mission in March 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

On the evening of 11 May 1992, Kevin Chilton and Rick Hieb stayed up late on the flight deck of Shuttle Endeavour, brainstorming a thorny problem which threatened to ruin their mission. Four days earlier, […]

Jeff Hoffman, First 1,000-Hour Shuttle Flier, Turns 70 Today

During STS-75, Jeff Hoffman (left) and Franklin Chang-Diaz became the first and second humans to record 1,000 cumulative hours aboard the shuttle. Hoffman hit the record on 29 February 1996, with Chang-Diaz following on 8 March. In total, Hoffman accrued more than 1,211 hours (over 50 days) in space on five shuttle missions. Photo […]

The 'MAHRSI Football' and Shuttle-Mir: 20 Years Since Atlantis' Return to Space (Part 2)

Beautiful view of the ATLAS-3 instruments aboard Atlantis’ payload bay during STS-66. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, the Space Station era began in earnest with the return to flight of Shuttle Atlantis, following a lengthy period of refurbishment. Since her STS-46 mission in July 1992, she had undergone many modifications to […]

'Back to the Skies': 20 Years Since Atlantis' Return to Space (Part 1)

STS-66 signed crew portrait, sent to the author by Commander Don McMonagle (seated at right). He was joined on the crew by (from left) Jean-Francois Clervoy, Scott Parazynski, Curt Brown, Joe Tanner and Ellen Ochoa. Photo Credit: NASA/Ben Evans personal collection

Twenty years ago, this week, the Space Station era began in earnest with […]

'The Choreography Was Incredible': 21 Years Since the Controversial Mission of STS-58 (Part 2)

Columbia roars into orbit at 10:53 a.m. EST on 18 October 1993, 21 years ago yesterday. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-one years ago, yesterday, on 18 October 1993, the longest flight ever attempted in shuttle history—the 14-day STS-58 mission, carrying the second Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS-2) research payload—was launched into orbit. Aboard Columbia were astronauts […]

'A Unique Opportunity': 21 Years Since the Controversial Mission of STS-58 (Part 1)

Glorious view of the Home Planet from STS-58, with the SLS-2 Spacelab module clearly visible in Columbia’s payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA

“John, we’re going to fly you one of these days,” Launch Director Bob Sieck called over the communications loop on 15 October 1993. The disappointment of another scrubbed launch attempt was evident […]

Roberto Vittori, Last European Shuttle Flier, Turns 50 Today

Roberto Vittori (right), who turns 50 today, is pictured with fellow Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli in Europe’s Columbus laboratory, aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2011. Photo Credit: NASA

Only six Italian citizens in human history have ventured beyond the thin veil of Earth’s atmosphere and into space, and today (Wednesday, 15 […]

Mission to Jupiter: 25 Years Since the Launch of Galileo (Part 2)

Atlantis roars into orbit on 18 October 1989 to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, next week, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis rocketed into orbit to launch NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on a lengthy odyssey to Jupiter. As described in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history […]

Mission to Jupiter: 25 Years Since the Launch of Galileo (Part 1)

Emblazoned with the script-like “Galileo” lettering and the block “NASA” letters, the spacecraft represented a marriage of romance and adventure with science and technology for STS-34’s Shannon Lucid. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989—25 years ago, next week—on the […]

'Desk in the Middle of a Prairie': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 41G and America's First Female Spacewalk (Part 2)

Dave Leestma (with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Kathy Sullivan work on the refuelling experiment during their historic EVA. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, today (on 5 October 1984), history was made when Shuttle Challenger rocketed into orbit on Mission 41G, an ambitious science and technology flight. On-board was […]