Firing Up the Shuttle: Looking Back at the Flight Readiness Firings (Part 1)

Each shuttle was powered by a trio of RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). These were test-fired before each orbiter’s maiden voyage, during the Flight Readiness Firing (FRF). Image Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne

“And we have a Go for Autosequence Start. Atlantis’ on-board computers now controlling the final sequence.”

Thirty years ago, last week, NASA […]

'To Launch Americans Into Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 2)


After 32 months of agony and introspection, the Kennedy Space Center was again rocked by the roar of shuttle main engines and Solid Rocket Boosters on the morning of 29 September 1988. It was the dawn of a new era. Photo Credit: NASA

Setting aside the enormity of the fact that STS-26 would […]

'Americans Return to Space': The Voyage of STS-26 (Part 1)

Twenty-five years have now passed since STS-26, the mission which laid the ghosts of Challenger to rest and opened the gates for a second Golden Age of shuttle operations. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the voice of launch commentator Hugh Harris exulted “Americans return to space” on the morning of […]

Launch of Antares With Orbital's Cygnus 1 Spacecraft Delayed

Photo Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation / NASA

After a launch readiness review, mission planners with Orbital Sciences Corporation have opted to delay the first flight of the company’s Cygnus 1 cargo vessel, perched atop their Antares rocket, for no earlier than Sept. 18. The launch window extends from 10:50 to 11:05 a.m. (EDT). This […]

In Honor of David: The Astronaut Who Inspired Orbital's First Cygnus Mission (Part 1)

Orbital Sciences will honor the memory and achievements of G. David Low with its second Antares launch and the culmation of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract with NASA. Photo Credit: Mark Usciak / AmericaSpace

Only days remain before the scheduled Sept. 17 launch of the first Cygnus cargo mission to the International […]