'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, […]

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 […]

In For the Long Haul: 10 Years Since STS-115 (Part 1)

Joe Tanner had already performed five EVAs before STS-115 left Earth. By the time he returned from the mission, he had completed seven EVAs and spent 46.5 hours outside a spacecraft. Even today, he stands as the 13th most seasoned spacewalker of all time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

At first glance, shuttle […]

'How Adaptable Humans Are': 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 2)

Grappled by Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU) satellite is readied for installation in the payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, last week, in January 1996, Shuttle Endeavour and a six-man crew—Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Brent Jett, and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, […]

Mission for Japan: 20 Years Since STS-72 (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this week, STS-72 showcased the space shuttle’s myriad capabilities in satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous, science, and spacewalking. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, six astronauts executed a mission which put virtually all of the space shuttle’s capabilities—satellite deployment and retrieval, rendezvous and proximity operations, research, and spacewalking—to the […]

'Good Luck to the Building': 15 Years Since STS-97 Powered-Up the Space Station (Part 2)

By the end of his third EVA on STS-97, Joe Tanner had accrued over 33 hours of spacewalking time, counting his prior experience servicing the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For more than a decade, we grew used to the sight of shuttles approaching to dock at the International […]

'The First Shuttle Ever to Bounce': 15 Years Since STS-97 Powered-Up the Space Station (Part 1)

Fifteen years ago, next week, STS-97 installed the first set of U.S.-built solar arrays, radiators and batteries onto the International Space Station (ISS), transforming it into the brightest artificial object in Earth’s skies. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifteen years ago, next week, power—in the form of two immense, electricity-generating solar arrays, together […]

'The Most Complex So Far': What 2003 Might Have Been

Columbia roars into orbit for the 28th and final time on 16 January 2003. Eighty-two seconds into the ascent, a chunk of foam from her External Tank would spell disaster for the outcome of STS-107. Photo Credit: NASA

Twelve years ago, last weekend, Shuttle Columbia and the crew of STS-107—Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie […]

Who Is This? Remembering the Flight of STS-81 (Part 2)

The combined shuttle and Mir crews, pictured during the STS-81 visiting mission in January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Almost two decades ago, America’s shuttle program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering experiments, equipment, and supplies to an Earth-circling space station. And in the small hours of […]