'Whatever Was Needed': Remembering the Hair-Raising Rise to Orbit of STS-93

After two false starts, Columbia rises to orbit at 1:21 a.m. EDT on 23 July 1999. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost two decades ago, on 23 July 1999, the first woman ever to lead a space mission was launched aboard shuttle Columbia to deliver NASA’s $1.5 billion Chandra X-ray Observatory into a highly elliptical orbit. […]

A Sore Head: Americans in Space on Independence Day

On 4 July 1982, the crew of STS-4 became the first U.S. astronauts to spend Independence Day in space. It also marked the date of their spectacular return to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

For almost two decades, the Fourth of July—that most quintessential day of celebration in the United States—has […]

In Honor of Chandra: 20 Years Since the Naming of NASA's Wild-Orbiting X-Ray Observatory

Backdropped by the stunning vista of Earth, the Chandra X-ray Observatory departs Columbia to begin its voyage of exploration. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, NASA opened a worldwide contest to name its third Great Observatory, devoted to X-ray studies of the Universe. Previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), […]

'All You See Are Red Lights': 25 Years Since Columbia's Dramatic Aborted Launch Attempt

Columbia’s engines flare to life on 22 March 1993, a quarter-century ago, this week, in the third Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort of the shuttle program. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, in March 1993, shuttle Columbia stood ready on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, awaiting liftoff on […]

'To Fly the First One': 40 Years Since the First Space Shuttle Crews

In March 1978, a “pool” of crew members were announced for the first four Orbital Flight Tests (OFTs) of the shuttle. At their initial press conference (from left) are Gordon Fullerton, Vance Brand, Jack Lousma, Fred Haise, Richard Truly, Joe Engle, Robert Crippen and John Young. Photo Credit: NASA

In the coming months, the […]

Remembering John Young, an 'Astronaut's Astronaut', Gone at Age 87

Apollo 16 Commander John Young gazes across the rugged terrain during humanity’s fifth piloted lunar landing. Photo Credit: NASA

John Young, one of only 12 humans to have walked the dusty surface of the Moon, one of only three of mankind’s sons to have traveled twice to lunar distance, the only astronaut to fly […]

'Copy and Concur': 20 Years Since Shuttle Columbia's Heads-Up Ride to Space

Columbia launches on STS-87, 20 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago today, on 19 November 1997, a shuttle mission with a difference rose from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. It was the first flight from the 39B complex since January, and on STS-87 […]

Speed and Power: Remembering Columbia's STS-52 Launch, 25 Years Later

Twenty-five years ago, STS-52 launched on a truly international mission, with U.S., European and Canadian participation. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

“A very long six seconds,” said STS-52 Commander Jim Wetherbee, of his final moments on Earth, “because by now, your brain’s working overtime!” A quarter-century ago, today, on 22 October 1992, Wetherbee […]

'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 […]

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 […]