'To Make Life as Good as Possible': 25 Years Since STS-50 Stretched the Space Shuttle

A quarter-century ago, STS-50 set a new record for the longest Space Shuttle mission at that time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, next week, the crew of Columbia roared into orbit to begin the longest shuttle mission ever attempted at that time. Equipped with the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) hardware—a […]

'The Most Beautiful Thing': 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 2)

In one of the final views of Challenger in space, the orbiter sails over the cloud-bedecked Earth, with the Spacelab D-1 module clearly visible in her payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, next week, Space Shuttle Challenger flew in space for the final time. Mission 61A—the ninth and last […]

'Dallas? You Mean the City?' 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, next week, Shuttle Challenger launched on her final successful mission. Photo Credit: NASA

It is a dismaying fact of history that the name “Challenger”—when spoken in relation to the second spaceworthy vehicle of NASA’s shuttle fleet—is so often associated only with the dreadful catastrophe which snuffed out seven lives on the […]

'To Work Co-operatively': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 4)

Mir Commander Vladimir Dezhurov (left) and STS-71 Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson shake hands after hatch opening on 29 June 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades have passed, this week, since one of the most remarkable instances of international co-operation ever seen in human history. For 10 days, between 27 June and 7 July 1995, […]

'To Work Co-operatively': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 3)

Russia’s space station Mir, as pictured by the crew of STS-71. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, today, on 27 June 1995, a new era began. Space Shuttle Atlantis rocketed into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, as she had done 13 times previously, over the course of almost a full […]

'Houston, Atlantis, We Have Capture': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 2)

By pure happenstance, Atlantis was about to enter a protracted period of modification when the Shuttle-Mir contracts were signed in 1992. As a result, she was the primary orbiter outfitted for the docking missions. Photo Credit: NASA

The coming days and weeks mark a pair of significant anniversaries in the history of co-operation between […]

'Houston, Atlantis, We Have Capture': 20 Years Since the First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission (Part 1)

Space Shuttle Atlantis, as viewed through one of Mir’s windows, during the extraordinary docking mission in June 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years after the remarkable flight of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)—which saw U.S. astronauts Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton work together in orbit for a handful of days with Soviet […]

'To Live Like Russians': 20 Years Since the Record-Setting Mission of Norm Thagard (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this week, NASA astronaut Norm Thagard embarked on the United States’ first long-duration space station expedition in more than two decades. Photo Credit: NASA

Today, in 2015, it seems hard to imagine U.S. astronauts being totally unaccustomed to long-duration spaceflight. Over the past two decades, around 50 Americans—from civilian medical doctors […]

'The Granddaddy of All Experiments': 25 Years Since the STS-32 Mission to Snatch LDEF (Part 2)

The 12-sided Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was intended to spend less than a year in orbit, but ended up remaining for almost six years, traveling the equivalent distance from Earth to Saturn. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, next week, the crew of Columbia embarked on the longest shuttle mission […]

'What You Saw Was What You Got': 25 Years Since the STS-32 Mission to Snatch LDEF (Part 1)

Twenty-five years ago, next week, the crew of Shuttle Columbia retrieved the giant Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). The satellite’s orbit had degraded to such an extent that it was only weeks away from an uncontrolled re-entry. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, next week, on 9 January 1990, the crew of Columbia rocketed […]