'The Lord Protected Grandpa': 30 Years Since Mission 51B (Part 2)

During the majority of the seven-day mission, Challenger operated in a gravity gradient orientation, with her vertical stabilizer directed Earthward and her starboard wing pointing in the direction of travel. Image Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, a seven-man crew with a combined age of 340 years rocketed into orbit […]

A Long Wait for Space: 30 Years Since Mission 51B (Part 1)

Challenger roars into orbit on 29 April 1985. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, Challenger was circling the Earth on the first dedicated Spacelab science flight of the shuttle era. For seven days, the crew of Mission 51B—Commander Bob Overmyer, Pilot Fred Gregory, Mission Specialists Don Lind, Norm Thagard, […]

Dale Gardner, MMU Spacewalker, Dies Aged 65

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the shuttle’s credentials as infallible … but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense of […]

'I Hope That Flight Works Out For You': 15 Years Since John Glenn's Return to Space

Fifteen years ago today, at age 77, John Glenn became the oldest person ever to venture into space. It is a record which still stands. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago today (29 October), John Glenn became the oldest human ever to venture beyond the thin veil of Earth and into space. He was […]

30 Years Ago: First Shuttle Night Launch, First African-American Astronaut, Oldest Man in Space (Part 2)

Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, the first African-American astronaut, Guy Bluford, rode into orbit aboard Challenger on the space shuttle’s first-ever night launch as a member of the STS-8 crew. He was joined by crewmates Dick Truly, Dan Brandenstein, Dale Gardner, and the then-oldest man in space, 54-year-old Bill Thornton. After […]

30 Years Ago: First Shuttle Night Launch, First African-American Astronaut, Oldest Man in Space (Part 1)

“Dan, how do the engines look?” As Gardner worried, and Bluford chuckled, Challenger roared into the history books on the morning of 30 August 1983. Photo Credit: NASA

At about midnight on the rainy evening of 30 August 1983, the adventure began for Guy Bluford, NASA’s first African-American astronaut. Together with his four STS-8 […]