'Not a Dysfunctional Family': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 1)

The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, attached to is Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, is deployed from Atlantis’ payload bay at the beginning of the STS-44 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century has now elapsed since a space shuttle mission was forced to come home early, having already lost its original commander and […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo’s Ride on STS-34 (Part 2)

Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io were key focuses for the Galileo mission. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

Almost three decades ago, 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 […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo's Ride on STS-34 (Part 1)

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

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989, on the first leg of its voyage to Jupiter, the sight was a moving one […]

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

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)

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” […]

'Probably Earned My Keep': 25 Years Since the Launch of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (Part 2)

The Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) is readied for deployment on 7 April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this week, the crew of Atlantis delivered into orbit the heaviest scientific payload ever launched at that time by the space shuttle. Commander Steve Nagel, Pilot Ken Cameron, and Mission Specialists Linda […]

'If It Goes Poorly, You Take the Blame': 25 Years Since the Launch of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (Part 1)

Astronaut Jerry Ross grins through Shuttle Atlantis’ aft flight deck windows, as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is readied for deployment in April 1991. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For a few hours in early April 1991, it seemed that things could not get any worse for NASA. A year earlier, the first […]

'No Reason For the People Inside to Starve': 20 Years Since 'The Spirit of '76' (Part 2)

As well as becoming the first woman to serve in the Lead Spacewalker (EV1), Linda Godwin also participated in the first U.S. spacewalk outside a space station since the Skylab era. Her historic EVA with STS-76 crewmate Rich Clifford took place 20 years ago, today, on 27 March 1996. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim […]

'Those Things Don't Happen By Accident': 20 Years Since 'The Spirit of '76' (Part 1)

STS-76 was the fourth shuttle mission to rendezvous, and the third to dock, with Russia’s Mir space station. It also marked the first shuttle mission to deliver a long-duration crew member and return to Earth with a smaller crew than that with which it launched. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago, […]

America's 'Destiny': 15 Years Since the Launch of the US Lab (Part 2)

The Destiny laboratory is maneuvered toward its final location at the forward port of the Unity node in February 2001. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A decade and a half ago, yesterday, on 20 February 2001, the crew of Atlantis glided a textbook landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., wrapping up a […]