'An Evolving Process': Remembering the Shuttle's First Landing in Darkness, 35 Years Ago

Challenger alights on concrete Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the small hours of 5 September 1983. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Characterized by NASA as “any landing which occurs no later than 15 minutes before sunrise”, nighttime landings were among the most dramatic events in the 30-year span of […]

'Limits to Inhibit': Remembering Challenger's Dramatic 51F Launch, On This Day in 1985

After one false start, Challenger roars into orbit on 29 July 1985, to begin the Spacelab-2 science mission. It would be one of the most dramatic near-misses in the 30-year shuttle program. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

More than three decades ago, one of the most complex Space Shuttle science missions ever undertaken […]

Summer of the Shuttle: Remembering the Ill-Fated Summer of '84

An ominous cloud of smoke billows away from Pad 39A in the seconds after a problematic Main Engine Start on 26 June 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

More than 30 summers ago, America’s shuttle program should have entered its prime. Touted for over a decade as capable of flying regularly and routinely, the early summer […]

Ride, Sally Ride: 35 Years Since America's First Woman in Space

Sally Ride on Challenger’s flight deck during STS-7. Her mission opened the door for U.S. women to venture into orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty-five years ago, this week, America launched its first woman into space. Physicist Dr. Sally Ride rocketed into orbit aboard shuttle Challenger—accompanied by fellow STS-7 astronauts Bob Crippen, Rick Hauck, John […]

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger 32 Years Ago (Part 1)

Of all the fragments of Challenger which were recovered, this shard of the craft, bearing part of her name, was particularly poignant. Photo Credit: NASA

On 7 March 1986, six weeks after the loss of Challenger, divers from the U.S.S. Preserver found the remains of the ill-fated shuttle’s crew cabin. It “was disintegrated, with […]

Christa McAuliffe's Lessons Remembered, As Space Station 'Year of Education' Enters Second Half

Members of the 51L crew during training. From left are Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Christa McAuliffe (seated on table) and backup crew member Barbara Morgan. Photo Credit: NASA

Just a few days shy of the 32nd anniversary of the loss of Challenger, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold announced […]

Paul Weitz, Skylab Savior and First Challenger Commander, Dies Aged 85

Paul Weitz, pictured at Skylab’s Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM), during his 28-day mission in May-June 1973. Photo Credit: NASA

Veteran astronaut Paul “P.J.” Weitz, who spacewalked to save America’s Skylab space station and later commanded shuttle Challenger on its maiden voyage, died yesterday (Monday, 23 October). He was 85. During a NASA career which […]

Firing Up the Shuttle: 25 Years Since the Last Flight Readiness Firing (Part 2)

Each Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) presented the opportunity to extensively test the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) in as close to real-flight operations. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, on 6 April 1992, the roar of three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) echoed across the marshy landscape of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in […]

'Go at Throttle Up': Remembering the Sacrifice of the Challenger Seven (Part 2)

Flocks of terrified birds fly away in the face of Challenger’s roaring ascent from Pad 39B at 11:38 a.m. EST on 28 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty-one winters have now passed since the frightful morning of Tuesday, 28 January 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger roared into the crystal-blue Florida sky, […]

Lost Innocence: Remembering the Sacrifice of the Challenger Seven (Part 1)

The infamous image, flashed around the world on 28 January 1986, immediately after Challenger’s tragic destruction. The disaster stalled the shuttle program for almost three years. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty-one years ago, today, on 28 January 1986, one of the worst and most public disasters in U.S. space history unfolded with horrifying suddenness in […]