'Waiting For You to Land on Mars': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 2)

The STS-81 and Mir crews gather for a group portrait in the space station’s base block. Front row, from left, are Mike Baker, John Grunsfeld, John Blaha, and Aleksandr Kaleri. Back row, from left, are Jerry Linenger, Valeri Korzun, Marsha Ivins, Jeff Wisoff, and Brent Jett. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years […]

'Horrendous Gas Mileage': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 1)

Mir, as viewed from Atlantis on STS-81. The orange-colored Docking Module (DM), at the end of the Kristall module, is visible at the right of the image. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, this week, America’s Space Shuttle Program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, […]

'Because I'm Scared to Death': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 2)

Fred Gregory leads the STS-44 crew out of the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 25 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, this week, what should have been the third-longest space shuttle mission of its time—and the longest Department of Defense piloted […]

'Not a Dysfunctional Family': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 1)

The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, attached to is Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, is deployed from Atlantis’ payload bay at the beginning of the STS-44 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century has now elapsed since a space shuttle mission was forced to come home early, having already lost its original commander and […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo’s Ride on STS-34 (Part 2)

Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io were key focuses for the Galileo mission. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

Almost three decades ago, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis rocketed into orbit to launch NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on a lengthy odyssey to Jupiter. As described […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo's Ride on STS-34 (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into orbit on 18 October 1989 to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989, on the first leg of its voyage to Jupiter, the sight was a moving one […]

A Pilot for a Space Station: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 2)

For the first time on STS-79, a shuttle crew saw Mir in its complete configuration, with six research and habitation modules. This would form John Blaha’s home for four months from September 1996 through January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … And liftoff of Atlantis on the fourth flight to dock with the Russian […]

A Space Station Stay Before Retirement: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 1)

John Blaha gazes through Atlantis’ overhead flight deck windows, shortly after docking with Mir in September 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

Of all the NASA astronauts who have flown long-duration space missions—longer than a month or so—very few have moved from the commander’s or pilot’s seat of a space shuttle and rotated into a lengthy […]

Changing the Guard: 20 Years Since STS-79 (Part 1)

World record holder Shannon Lucid watches the growth of plants in a Russian greenhouse aboard Mir. This photograph was taken in September 1996, shortly after the crew of STS-79, including Lucid’s replacement, John Blaha, arrived to bring her home. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this month, an American national record-breaker circled high above […]

Camping Without Marshmallows: 10 Years Since STS-115 (Part 2)

Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean are barely visible, slightly right-of-center, working on the P-3/P-4 truss during EVA-2. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years ago, this month, the crew of Shuttle Atlantis—Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson, and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, and Canada’s Steve MacLean—roared into orbit to restart the construction […]