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 […]

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger 32 Years Ago (Part 2)

This photograph of the space shuttle Challenger accident Jan. 28, 1986 was taken by a 70mm tracking camera at UCS 15 south of Pad 39B, at 11:39:19.261 EST. Photo credit: NASA

At 11:39 a.m. EST on 28 January 1986, the unthinkable happened, when shuttle Challenger was lost, a mere 73 seconds after liftoff. All […]

'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 […]

'To Touch the Face of God': 30 Years Since the Loss of Challenger (Part 2)

Challenger’s final crew, as they should be remembered: Positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity’s reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ron McNair. […]

'Obviously A Major Malfunction': 30 Years Since the Loss of Challenger (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 years ago, on 28 January 1986, one of the worst and most public disasters in U.S. space history unfolded with horrifying suddenness in the […]

On Challenger's 30th Anniversary, NASA Reflects On its Fallen Heroes

Floral tributes offer a touch of color against the drab gray and black of the Space Mirror Memorial and the day itself. Photo Credit: Talia Landman/AmericaSpace

For NASA, the fourth and fifth weeks of each year have always carried a somber mood of reflection and resolve, in which the glories of past successes—including Voyager […]

'Major Malfunction': The Final Launch of Challenger, 28 Years Ago Today

Challenger’s final crew, as they should be remembered: positive and brilliant individuals, happily striving to explore space and further humanity’s reach into the Universe. In the back row (left to right) are Ellison S. Onizuka, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, and Judy Resnik. In the front row (left to right) are Mike Smith, Dick […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 2)

Since the conception of the Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE) program, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 1)

Mission 51C roars into orbit on 24 January 1985, kicking off the shuttle program’s first dedicated Department of Defense assignment. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space program: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to […]