'Wide-Eyed Dreamers': 20 Years Since STS-77's Record-Setting Rendezvous Mission (Part 1)

The Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) extends from the SPARTAN-207 free-flying satellite, after deployment. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Early on 20 May 1996, NASA astronaut Mario Runco, Jr., grappled SPARTAN-207—a small, free-flying spacecraft, equipped with a very unique experiment—and lifted it from Shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay with the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) […]

'How Adaptable Humans Are': 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 2)

Grappled by Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU) satellite is readied for installation in the payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, last week, in January 1996, Shuttle Endeavour and a six-man crew—Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Brent Jett, and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, […]

Mission for Japan: 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this week, STS-72 showcased the space shuttle’s myriad capabilities in satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous, science, and spacewalking. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, six astronauts executed a mission which put virtually all of the space shuttle’s capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, research, and spacewalking—to the […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 2)

Spectacular view of Hurricane Marilyn, centered over the Caribbean Sea, during the STS-69 mission in September 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades have now passed since an 11-day period in September 1995, when the “Dogs of War” barked, woofed, and yelped their way through a remarkable mission which put virtually all of the space […]

Red Dog's Pack: 20 Years Since STS-69 (Part 1)

Mike Gernhardt, pictured during his EVA with fellow astronaut Jim Voss, on STS-69. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 7 September 1995—20 years ago, last week—five astronauts, clad in bulky orange pressure suits, departed the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), bound for Pad 39A and their ride […]

Sinkholes on Titan: New Study Shows How Hydrocarbon Lakes May Form by Earth-Like Erosion

Colored mosaic of lakes near Titan’s north pole. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has seas and lakes of liquid methane and ethane dotting its surface, but one question scientists have been trying to figure out is how the hollows in the ground, which hold the lakes, form to begin with. Now, a […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 5—'Just Building a Space Station'

Jim Newman waves to Jerry Ross’ camera whilst working outside the Unity node on STS-88. Photo Credit: NASA

For over 16 years, a bright star has nightly graced Earth’s skies, easily visible to the naked eye, serving to pique our curiosity and inspire our minds. Now, in 2015, the International Space Station (ISS) is […]

'Big Mental Switch': Remembering Shuttle Endeavour's Maiden Voyage (Part 2)

With the possible exception of Columbia and the very first space shuttle mission, few orbiters had as dramatic and exciting a maiden voyage as Endeavour. On STS-49, she provided a reliable stage for the longest EVA in history and the first three-man EVA in history. Despite the trials and tribulations of the flight, she […]

'Where We Either Succeeded or Failed': Remembering Shuttle Endeavour's Maiden Voyage (Part 1)

In the first, and so far only, three-person EVA, astronauts Rick Hieb, Tom Akers and Pierre Thuot manhandle Intelsat 603 into Endeavour’s payload bay for the attachment of a new rocket motor. Photo Credit: NASA

“Ready. Ready. Grab!”

The words of Rick Hieb echoed through the silent Mission Control Center (MCC) at the Johnson […]

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 […]