Riding the 'Big Maumoo': 50 Years Since Apollo 7 Brought America's Lunar Goal Closer (Part 1)

Build-up of the Saturn IB gets underway at Pad 34 in April 1968, ahead of Apollo 7, the giant rocket’s first mission with a human crew. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, a gigantic rocket—nicknamed “the big maumoo” by Apollo 7 Commander Wally Schirra—stood primed on Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy, ready to launch […]

'Without Breaking the Shell': 50 Years Since the Saturn V's Maiden Launch

At the stroke of 7 a.m. EST on 9 November 1967, the first Saturn V took flight. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-minus-25…,” came the calm, measured tones of the launch announcer in the pre-dawn darkness of Thursday, 9 November 1967. “Stages reporting Ready for Launch…”

Fifty years ago, the largest and most powerful rocket ever […]

Around the Moon for Eighty Days: Remembering the Half-Century Anniversary of Lunar Orbiter-1

The grainy significance of this image, acquired by Lunar Orbiter-1 on 23 August 1966, is that it is the very first view of Earth, as seen from lunar distance. At the time, the spacecraft was on its 16th orbit around the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

For countless millennia, the Moon has captivated the fascination […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': 50 Years Since Gemini V (Part 1)

Illustrating the cramped nature of their eight-day home, astronauts Pete Conrad (background) and Gordo Cooper are in jubilant spirits ahead of their 21 August 1965 launch. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad experienced “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” Gemini V was the […]

Reviving a 'Dream Deferred': Remembering the Flight of Apollo 7

From NASA’s Human Spaceflight Gallery: “The prime crew of the first manned Apollo space mission, Apollo 7, stands on the deck of the NASA Motor Vessel Retriever after suiting up for water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico. Left to right, are astronauts Walter Cunningham, Donn F. Eisele, and Walter M. Schirra, Jr.” […]

Popeye Forearms: The Challenge of Gemini IX-A (Part 1)

An exhausted Gene Cernan can barely manage a grimace for Tom Stafford’s camera after completing his spacewalk on Gemini IX-A. Had the hands of fate played out a little differently, this seat might instead have been occupied by Charlie Bassett. Photo Credit: NASA

In the late spring of 1966, the Gemini IX mission seemed […]

'From the Lovely Apollo Room': 45 Years Since Apollo 7 Charted a Course for the Moon (Part 2)

Glorious view of the Florida peninsula from Apollo 7. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago this week, Project Apollo—the effort to set American boots on the surface of the Moon—rose from the ashes of despair and triumphantly flew an 11-day mission in low-Earth orbit. Apollo 7 astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walt Cunningham […]

'Yabadabadoo!' 45 Years Since Apollo 7 Charted a Course for the Moon (Part 1)

Commander Wally Schirra (center) and crewmates Donn Eisele (left) and Walt Cunningham restored America’s confidence in the Apollo spacecraft and enabled NASA to put its bold plan for a voyage to lunar orbit in motion. Photo Credit: NASA

On 30 May 1968, a brand-new spacecraft arrived at Cape Kennedy, Fla. Known formally as “Spacecraft […]

'M Equals 1': The All-Up Mission of Gemini XI (Part 1)

Dick Gordon (left) and Pete Conrad await the start of an emergency water egress training exercise in the Gulf of Mexico in July 1966. Photo Credit: NASA

Not all astronauts get on with one another, but if there ever was a crew whose members could be described as best buddies, it would be Gemini […]

From People on Wheels to People and Wheels on the Moon: The Automotive Lunar Explorers

Jim Irwin works with the lunar rover, backdropped by the grandeur of Hadley, in July-August 1971. Photo Credit: NASA

Chrysler, Delco, Ford, and General Motors are hardly the sort of names—at first glance—that might be associated with Project Apollo, the grandest and boldest adventure of exploration in human history. Since the dawn of the […]