'In A Heartbeat': 25 Years Since STS-42 Inaugurated International Space Year (Part 2)

Discovery spears for orbit on 22 January 1992, after an hour-long delay, caused by a fuel cell anomaly. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this month, a space mission rooted in disappointment and tragedy finally took flight. Aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, astronauts from the United States, Germany, and Canada embarked on […]

'Traumatic Decisions': 25 Years Since STS-42 Inaugurated International Space Year (Part 1)

The tunnel adaptor for the IML-1 Spacelab module is prepared for installation in the Orbiter Processing Facility. STS-42 was the first human launch of International Space Year 1992. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the International Space Year (ISY) in 1992, during which 29 national space agencies and 10 international organizations […]

Record-Breaker for Women Astronauts: 20 Years Since STS-79 (Part 2)

For the first time on STS-79, a shuttle crew saw Mir in its complete configuration, with six research and habitation modules. It had been Shannon Lucid’s home for six months and would be John Blaha’s home for the next four. Photo Credit: NASA

A glass half-full, or half-empty, was Bill Readdy’s perspective on the […]

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 […]

'I Wouldn’t Call it Fear': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 2)

The closest the shuttle ever came to a launch at the time of abort was T-1.9 seconds, on 18 August 1994. So close was the shuttle to launch, the on-board General Purpose Computers had already moded to their 102 ascent software configuration at the time of the abort. Photo Credit: NASA

In the pre-dawn […]

'Quiet as a Crypt': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 1)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines—still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984—in the wake of the shuttle program’s first RSLS abort. Photo Credit: NASA

Throughout its 30-year career—consciously or unconsciously—the space shuttle was acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous piloted space vehicles ever brought to […]

The Shuttle Flight That Did it All: Twenty Years Since STS-51 (Part 2)

Jim Newman (left) and Carl Walz at work in Discovery’s payload bay during STS-51. Their EVA involved several key tool tests, ahead of the ambitious Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. Photo Credit: NASA

In the entirety of its 30-year operational career, none of the voyages of the space shuttle could be truly described as […]

The Shuttle Flight That Did it All: Twenty Years Since STS-51 (Part 1)

Thanks to the camera aboard the ASTRO-SPAS payload, this remarkable view of Discovery drifting against the blue and white backdrop of Earth was acquired. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-30 seconds … “

The words of the launch commentator at the Kennedy Space Center on the morning of 12 August 1993 were calm and measured, as […]

Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit Opens at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Fanfa […]

International Year, International Mission: The Changing Fortunes of STS-42

STS-42 mission brochure, personally signed to me by Commander Ron Grabe. I received this brochure in January 1992 – only days before the mission was launched – and for a 15-year-old space enthusiast it was a priceless treasure. Image Credit: Ben Evans personal collection

One summer evening, early in August 1492 three ships – […]