Sprint to the Finish: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 2)

The 61G crew, tasked with deploying Galileo. From left are Norm Thagard, Ron Grabe, Dave Walker and James 'Ox' van Hoften. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted toward Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month—had the hands of fate showed greater kindness—two shuttles might have rocketed into orbit within days of each other to deliver a pair of […]

Willing to Compromise: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 1)

Artist's impression of the Galileo-Centaur deployment on Mission 61G in May 1986. The deployment of Ulysses, less than a week earlier, on Mission 61F would have been similar. Image Credit: NASA

The Centaur-G Prime, mounted in its Centaur Integrated Support Structure (CISS), is readied for launch in the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA

When Challenger was lost in the skies of Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986, it brought to an end the space shuttle’s “age of innocence” […]

'On its Way': 25 Years Since STS-41 Sent Ulysses to the Sun (Part 2)

Mounted atop its IUS and PAM-S boosters, Ulysses departs Earth at the start of its odyssey to explore the Sun. Image Credit: NASA

Dick Richards enjoyed a sound night’s sleep on 5 October 1990. In the astronaut crew quarters at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, he was only hours away from commanding […]

Many Twists and Turns: 25 Years Since STS-41 Sent Ulysses to the Sun (Part 1)

Ulysses drifts serenely above Earth in the moments after deployment on 6 October 1990, 25 years ago, this week. Shortly after this image was taken, the attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and Payload Assist Module (PAM)-S boosters would propel the craft faster than any previous man-made object out of Earth’s gravitational clutches. Photo Credit: […]

Summer of Discontent: 25 Years Since the Shuttle Hydrogen Leaks (Part 2)

In one of the most historic shuttle-era photographs ever taken, this image shows the STS-38/Atlantis stack (at right) returning to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for repairs on 9 August 1990. In doing so, it passed the STS-35/Columbia stack (at left), which was returning to the launch pad after several weeks of extensive repair […]

Summer of Discontent: 25 Years Since the Shuttle Hydrogen Leaks (Part 1)

Pictured in September 1990, the problem-plagued STS-35 stack is shown in the foreground, on Pad 39A, with the STS-41 stack in the background on Pad 39B. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, in the summer of 1990, the shuttle program was in chaos. Less than two years since the resumption of flight operations in […]

NASA Preparing for Juno's Historic Arrival at Jupiter, One Year Out

Artist's concept of the Juno spacecraft approaching Jupiter in 2016. Image Credit: NASA / JPL

Artist’s concept of the Juno spacecraft approaching Jupiter in 2016. Image Credit: NASA / JPL

“Jupiter’s welcome to more from his Juno if he can get it.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

While NASA and space enthusiasts the world over are waiting for New Horizons’ unprecedented Pluto flyby, the space agency is […]

To Follow After Knowledge: STS-41 and the Odyssey of Ulysses

Pictured in its horizontal position in Discovery’s payload bay, the circular dish antenna and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) of Ulysses are clearly visible in this image. Photo Credit: NASA

Human hands have stretched far into the cosmos during our half-century of exploring the final frontier. Men and women have circled hundreds of miles above […]