'Like a Big Ol' Freight Train': 45 Years Since the Launch of Apollo 17

Apollo 17 launches into the night at 12:33 a.m. EST on 7 December 1972. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Forty-five years ago, the combined spacecraft of Apollo 17—the Command and Service Module (CSM), named “America”, and the spider-like Lunar Module (LM), dubbed “Challenger”—slipped smoothly into lunar orbit. In doing so, it represented the […]

Dick Gordon, Gemini High-Flyer and Solo Lunar Orbiter, Dies Aged 88

Dick Gordon (left) and Pete Conrad await the start of an emergency water egress training exercise in the Gulf of Mexico in July 1966. Photo Credit: NASA

Veteran astronaut Dick Gordon, who passed away on Monday, aged 88, brings to just 14 the number of remaining spacefarers who have traveled to the Moon and […]

Lockheed Unveils Plans for Orbiting Mars Base Camp and Lander Within 10 Years

Mars Base Camp is Lockheed Martin’s vision for sending humans to Mars in about a decade. The Mars surface lander called the Mars Accent Descent Vehicle (MADV) is a single-stage system that uses Orion systems as the command deck. It could allow astronauts to explore the surface for two weeks at a time before […]

New Evidence Suggests the Moon Holds More Water Than Ever Previously Believed

Illustration depicting how magma in ancient volcanic deposits on the Moon contains more water than expected. Image Credit: Olga Prilipko Huber

To some people, the Moon can seem like a rather boring place – gray, dusty and covered in craters. It is also usually thought to be bone dry, not the first place that […]

Lockheed's Prototype Habitat Plans for NASA's Lunar Orbiting Deep Space Gateway

Artist rendering of the NextSTEP habitat docked with Orion in cislunar orbit as part of a concept for the Deep Space Gateway. Orion will serve as the habitat’s command deck in early missions, providing critical communications, life support and navigation to guide long-duration missions. Credits: Lockheed Martin

Last summer, NASA selected six companies to […]

Intruders in a Foreign Land: 45 Years Since Apollo 16 Almost Didn't Land on the Moon (Part 2)

Apollo 16 Commander John Young salutes the American flag on the surface of the moon. Photo Credit: NASA/Charles Duke

Apollo 16 Commander John Young salutes the American flag on the surface of the moon. Photo Credit: NASA/Charles Duke

Forty-five years ago, this week, Apollo 16 landed late on the surface of the Moon…and a carefully choreographed flight plan was instantly thrown into disarray. As outlined in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history article, a problem had […]

Billy Rubin and Typhoid Mary: 45 Years Since Apollo 16 Almost Didn't Land on the Moon (Part 1)

Apollo 16 Commander John Young gazes across the rugged terrain during humanity’s fifth piloted lunar landing. Two days before this photograph was taken, the chances of Young and Charlie Duke landing on the Moon at all quite literally hung by a thread. Photo Credit: NASA

For anyone born within the last five decades, it […]

NASA Remembers Gene Cernan, Last Apollo Moonwalker

Gene Cernan salutes the U.S. flag at Taurus-Littrow in December 1972. Photo Credit: NASA

A little more than a week since his passing, aged 82, veteran astronaut and Navy Capt. Eugene Cernan—the last man to have left his footprints on the surface of the Moon—was honored today in a touching funeral service at St. […]

'All Sorts of Planning Problems': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 2)

Apollo 8 in December 1968 marked the first occasion on which humans had departed Earth’s gravitational “well,” entered cislunar space, and traveled to the Moon. The flight design originated from the “E-mission” of Apollo 3. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week—just three days before Christmas 1966—NASA announced the names of a group […]

Around the Moon for Eighty Days: Remembering the Half-Century Anniversary of Lunar Orbiter-1

The grainy significance of this image, acquired by Lunar Orbiter-1 on 23 August 1966, is that it is the very first view of Earth, as seen from lunar distance. At the time, the spacecraft was on its 16th orbit around the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

For countless millennia, the Moon has captivated the fascination […]