'Thanks for the Lift': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took Free-Flight

Enterprise’s flights, 40 years ago, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

They gathered in their thousands—65,000, in fact—at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the cool, pre-dawn hours of Friday, 12 August 1977, to witness America’s first Space Shuttle take flight and perform […]

'To Make Life as Good as Possible': 25 Years Since STS-50 Stretched the Space Shuttle

A quarter-century ago, STS-50 set a new record for the longest Space Shuttle mission at that time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, next week, the crew of Columbia roared into orbit to begin the longest shuttle mission ever attempted at that time. Equipped with the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) hardware—a […]

Throwback to the Good Old Days: 25 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue Mission of STS-49 (Part 1)

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. Photo Credit: NASA

“Ready. Ready. Grab!”

The words of […]

Voyages of Endeavour: 25 Years Since NASA's Youngest Space Shuttle Took Flight (Part 2)

In December 1993, Endeavour’s fifth crew successfully captured, repaired and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). STS-61 was one of the most ambitious and dramatic missions in the 30-year Space Shuttle Program. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the maiden voyage of Endeavour, the youngest member of NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet, […]

Voyages of Endeavour: 25 Years Since NASA's Youngest Space Shuttle Took Flight (Part 1)

Endeavour makes landfall under her own power for the final time on 1 June 2011, closing out a remarkable chapter in human space exploration. Photo Credit: NASA

From the moment she left Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, on the evening of 7 May 1992, to the instant her Main […]

Adding Backbone to the Space Station: 15 Years Since STS-110 (Part 1)

Rex Walheim works on the installation of S-0 truss connections during EVA-1. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, on the morning of 8 April 2002, U.S. astronaut Jerry Ross—veteran of seven space missions and seven spacewalks—settled into orbit aboard shuttle Atlantis, having just launched from Earth more times than any other human being. Ross […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: 25 Years Since the Last Flight Readiness Firing (Part 2)

Each Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) presented the opportunity to extensively test the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) in as close to real-flight operations. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, on 6 April 1992, the roar of three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) echoed across the marshy landscape of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: 25 Years Since the Last Flight Readiness Firing (Part 1)

Before each orbiter’s maiden voyage, the Space Shuttle Program completed a Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) of the three main engines. The last FRF, by Endeavour, occurred 25 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-minus 31 seconds…Endeavour’s four redundant computers have primary control of critical vehicle functions for the remainder of the count…”

Twenty-five […]

Ready for a Margarita: 20 Years Since the Second Hubble Servicing Mission (Part 2)

Twenty years ago, on STS-82, the Hubble Space Telescope was transformed from a 1970s instrument with 1980s optics into an observatory for 21st-century scientific discovery. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades ago, yesterday, on 11 February 1997, Space Shuttle Discovery roared into the night with a seven-strong crew—Commander Ken Bowersox, Pilot Scott “Doc” Horowitz, Payload […]

Tooled Up for a Telescope: 20 Years Since the Second Hubble Servicing Mission (Part 1)

Barely illuminated by sunlight, Joe Tanner is pictured during EVA-4 on STS-82. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years have now passed since a seven-man rocketed into the night to begin the second servicing mission to the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Coming on the heels of the ambitious STS-61 shuttle flight in December 1993—during […]