'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 […]

Pad 39A, America's Moonport, Celebrates Over 100 Launches in 50 Years of Service

The launch of Apollo 11 on 16 July 1969 was arguably Pad 39A’s finest hour. Photo Credit: NASA

In a strange twist of irony, Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida was not originally meant to be named “39A” at all. Having supported its first launch, 50 years ago, last week, […]

OA-8 Cygnus Mission to Honor Gene Cernan, 45 Years After Last Moonwalks

The OA-8 Cygnus, pictured in the clean room, with an image of its astronaut namesake, veteran Moonwalker Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: Elliot Severn/AmericaSpace

Only months before its purchase by Northrop Grumman is expected to be finalized, Orbital ATK plans to launch its next Cygnus cargo freighter (OA-8) to the International Space Station (ISS), no […]

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 […]

'Without Breaking the Shell': 50 Years Since the Saturn V's Maiden Launch

At the stroke of 7 a.m. EST on 9 November 1967, the first Saturn V took flight. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-minus-25…,” came the calm, measured tones of the launch announcer in the pre-dawn darkness of Thursday, 9 November 1967. “Stages reporting Ready for Launch…”

Fifty years ago, the largest and most powerful rocket ever […]

Paul Weitz, Skylab Savior and First Challenger Commander, Dies Aged 85

Paul Weitz, pictured at Skylab’s Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM), during his 28-day mission in May-June 1973. Photo Credit: NASA

Veteran astronaut Paul “P.J.” Weitz, who spacewalked to save America’s Skylab space station and later commanded shuttle Challenger on its maiden voyage, died yesterday (Monday, 23 October). He was 85. During a NASA career which […]

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 […]

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 […]

'More Confidence Than Ever': Remembering the Trailblazing Mission of Apollo 9 (Part 2)

Apollo 9 marked the first “all-up” flight of the entire Apollo spacecraft, as well as the first mission to feature Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 5 March 1969, two men floated through a tunnel from their command ship into a spider-shaped vehicle whose descendants would soon carry astronauts to the surface […]

'Certainly Not Supposed to Happen': Remembering the Trailblazing Mission of Apollo 9 (Part 1)

On the “D” mission, which later became Apollo 9, astronauts Jim McDivitt, Dave Scott and Rusty Schweickart would put the Lunar Module (LM) through its paces for the first time on a piloted space mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The year 1969 was pivotal in so many ways for humanity. At its dawn, American astronauts […]