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 […]

Sleeping On Alien Shores: The Unquiet Slumbers of the Apollo Moonwalkers

Covered in lunar grime, and clad only in his water-cooled underwear, Gene Cernan manages a grin for Jack Schmitt’s camera, aboard the Lunar Module (LM) Challenger during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. The astronauts’ space suits can be seen, stashed at the back of the cramped cabin. Above the helmets can be […]

Operational EVAs: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 3)

The final Skylab mission marked the first occasion on which a spacewalk was conducted on Christmas Day. Photo Credit: NASA

Three weeks have now passed since a trio of Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) took place outside the International Space Station (ISS) to prepare the orbital outpost for a significant period of expansion and hardware relocation […]

Walking on an Alien World: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 2)

A mere four years after humanity’s first spacewalk, EVA and space suit technology advanced sufficiently to permit Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, yesterday, on 18 March 1965, humanity became an “extravehicular” spacefaring civilization for the first time, when 30-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov ventured outside […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Surveyor and the Lonely Man (Part 4)

The Surveyor 3 landing craft, backdropped by the Apollo 12 lunar module Intrepid, as viewed by Pete Conrad and Al Bean at the Ocean of Storms in November 1969. Photo Credit: NASA

Within minutes of arriving on the Moon’s surface, early on 19 November 1969, Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad began erecting an […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Hammer and the Protuberances (Part 3)

Al Bean carries the panniers of the first Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) across the dusty terrain for installation. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, in November 1969, the human race comprised an estimated three billion souls on Planet Earth … and three others. A quarter of a million miles away, Apollo 12 […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The Surveyor Crater and the Belly of the Snowman (Part 2)

Eerie perspective of one of the Apollo 12 astronauts at work with the Apollo Lunar Hand Tool (ALHT) on the desolate Ocean of Storms. Photo Credit: NASA

Rocketing our fleshy bodies into space has never—and, some might say, can never—be truly routine, and certainly rocketing our fleshy bodies out of Earth’s gravitational well and […]

45 Years Since Apollo 12: The $500 Bet and the Lightning Strike (Part 1)

Al Bean begins his descent from the hatch of the lunar module Intrepid toward the surface at the Ocean of Storms. Photo Credit: NASA

One thing that irritated Charles “Pete” Conrad was the public belief that astronauts were told to say certain things during their missions. He knew that when Neil Armstrong became the […]

All the King's Horses: The Final Mission to Skylab (Part 1)

Boosted aloft atop a Saturn IB rocket, and utilizing a special “milk stool” to raise its umbilical connections to the proper levels on the Pad 39B gantry, the third and final Skylab crew takes flight on 16 November 1973. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, on 14 May 1973, the United States launched its […]

A Sick Crew and A Sick Ship: The Trials of Skylab 3 (Part 4)

Skylab 3 and astronauts Al Bean, Owen Garriott, and Jack Lousma returned safely to Earth on 25 September 1973, after 59 days in orbit. Yet for the first quarter of their mission, the exact duration of their flight remained open to question. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago this summer, America’s first space station—Skylab—was […]