AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch SMAP on a Delta II 7320 rocket from Vandenberg AFB, CA
scheduled for:
31 Jan 15 14:22:00 GMT
31 Jan 15 6:22:00 PST
31 Jan 15 9:22:00 Eastern

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NASA Observes Annual Remembrance Day, Pays Tribute to Lost US Crews

An honor guard pays tribute to lost U.S. astronauts, flanked by NASA’s Suzy Cunningham, at the Space Mirror Memorial on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 28. Photo Credit: Talia Landman/AmericaSpace

This week in spaceflight history is a somber and difficult one, as the anniversaries of three major U.S. spaceflight tragedies occur within days of […]

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger (Part 2)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. Photo Credit: NASA

In late April 1985, three months after the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) of Mission 51C had first drawn the attention of Morton Thiokol structural engineer Roger Boisjoly, another shuttle crew took flight. Mission 51B carried […]

Looking Back: Day of Remembrance Held Marking 10th Anniversary of Columbia Disaster

NASA and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, along with the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, held a “Day of Remembrance” to honor those that lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration, on Feb. 1, 2013, the 10th anniversary of the Columbia disaster. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth Studio


'Not in This Lifetime': The Final Minutes of Columbia (Part 3)

Hundreds of balloons and floral tributes are laid outside the gates of the Johnson Space Center in the days after the tragedy. Photo Credit: NASA

A few seconds after 8:58 a.m. EST on 1 February 2003, the otherwise normal re-entry profile of Columbia—which was already displaying many abnormal characteristics—changed abruptly from a vehicle barely […]

'Losing the Battle': The Final Minutes of Columbia (Part 2)

As evidenced by the clock on the main screen at 14:15:05 GMT (9:15:05 a.m. EST), this view of a tense Mission Control was acquired a quarter of an hour after the first sign of trouble … and a minute ahead of Columbia’s expected landing. By now, everyone was aware that all hope was gone […]

'Probably Waylon Jennings': The Final Minutes of Columbia (Part 1)

Pictured from Columbia’s aft flight deck, this view shows the payload bay and Spacehab research double module. The grey-colored RCC panels lining the leading edges of the wings can clearly be seen, but the Panel 8/9 junction on the left wing (to the right of this image) is out of sight. Investigators would later […]

'Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope' to Air on PBS

Image Credit: PBS / Vimeo

It has been a decade since the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-107 was lost just sixteen minutes from home. The nation, by-and-large, has moved on. A documentary, entitled Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope, has been produced to mark the occasion and to pay special honor to […]

'One of the Smoothest': Columbia’s Final Flight (Part 3)

The dual-shift nature of STS-107 required the inclusion of sleep stations in Columbia’s middeck. In this image, Red Team members Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, and Kalpana Chawla peek out of their bunks. Photo Credit: NASA

When Columbia’s payload bay doors opened at around midday EST on 16 January 2003, they exposed a cargo unlike […]

Working as a Team: Columbia’s Final Flight (Part 2)

Columbia roars into orbit for the 28th and final time on 16 January 2003. Photo Credit: NASA

“We’ve had a Go for Auto Sequence Start. Columbia’s on-board computers have primary control of all the vehicle’s critical functions … ”

More than two decades since her first flight, Columbia, the oldest orbiter in NASA’s fleet […]

'Just a Research Mission': Columbia’s Final Flight (Part 1)

With less than six weeks remaining before the scheduled 16 January 2003 launch date, the STS-107 stack inches its way toward Pad 39A. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in the spring of 2001, the mission of STS-107 first sparked my interest, for two reasons. One was the fact that its seven-strong crew was relatively inexperienced—like […]