'I Went Flying, All Right!' Remembering Challenger Pilot Mike Smith on His 70th Birthday

Mike Smith, the pilot of Challenger’s final mission. Photo Credit: NASA

When we think of “astronauts,” we think of the hundreds of heroes who have voyaged beyond the sensible atmosphere, into low-Earth orbit, and beyond, into cislunar space, lunar orbit, and even the dusty surface of the Moon itself. However, it is a sad […]

'Somebody Get a Camera': 25 Years Since the Launch of Hubble (Part 2)

Twenty-five years after its April 1990 launch, the iconic Hubble Space Telescope remains functional. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, yesterday, on 24 April 1990, one of the most important missions in the annals of scientific discovery got underway, with the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. As described in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history article, […]

'Monster Flight': 25 Years Since Launch of Hubble (Part 1)

The moment of deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), as seen from the IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC). Photo Credit: NASA

“If there were ever two missions that were completely opposite in terms of the public attention that was given to them,” astronaut Loren Shriver once said, “it would be my first and […]

Don Pettit, Fourth Most Experienced US Astronaut, Turns 60 Today

Don Pettit holds a still camera as he looks through the nadir window in the Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS). The islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura of the Canary Island chain in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco are visible. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Don Pettit, a veteran of […]

All Hail the Deputy Chief: Veteran Spacewalker Chris Cassidy Assumes Senior Astronaut Office Role

Chris Cassidy conducts Earth observations and photography in the space station’s multi-windowed cupola during his six-month ISS expedition in 2013. Photo Credit: NASA

Less than a year since his elevation to Chief of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and Robotics within the Astronaut Office (Code CB) at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas—and only […]

'To Come to California': Remembering Shuttle Columbia's Maiden Voyage

Columbia approaches touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., 34 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA

More than three decades have passed since the maiden voyage of the space shuttle. On 12 April 1981, orbiter Columbia rocketed away from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), kicking off a new era which would […]

Dawn of an Era: Remembering Shuttle Columbia's Maiden Launch

 

Thirty-four years ago, today, at dawn, Columbia roared into orbit, heralding the dawn of a new era in U.S. space exploration. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty-four years ago, today, on 12 April 1981, the first winged orbital space vehicle carrying human pilots was launched from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) […]

'Vide Mater, Sine Manibus': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 2)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, next week, the crew of Mission 51D watched open-mouthed as a powerful communications satellite which they had […]

'It's Gonna Be Great': 30 Years Since Shuttle Mission 51D (Part 1)

Spacewalkers Jeff Hoffman and Dave Griggs work to outfit a makeshift fly swatter onto the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, in a fruitless attempt to activate Syncom 4-3’s deploy switch. Photo Credit: NASA

None of the 135 missions flown by NASA’s five-strong fleet of shuttle orbiters between April 1981 and July 2011 could […]

Stretching the Shuttle: 25 Years Since the EDO Decision

Columbia is approached by servicing vehicles on the runway on 7 December 1996, after concluding STS-80, the shuttle program’s longest Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this week, NASA and Rockwell International reached a historic agreement which would, both figuratively and literally, “extend” the shuttle and its myriad capabilities […]