'Thanks for the Lift': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took Free-Flight

Enterprise’s flights, 40 years ago, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

They gathered in their thousands—65,000, in fact—at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the cool, pre-dawn hours of Friday, 12 August 1977, to witness America’s first Space Shuttle take flight and perform […]

'Magic Carpet Ride': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 2)

Enterprise’s Captive-Active flights, which began 40 years ago, this month, laid the groundwork for the Free Flights and eventually the maiden Space Shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The Approach and Landing Test (ALT) series of the Space Shuttle, which began 40 years ago, in the summer of 1977, were “just that”, in the words […]

'In a Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Space Shuttle to Altitude (Part 1)

Flying Enterprise for her test flights were (from left) Gordon Fullerton, Fred Haise, Joe Engle and Dick Truly. Photo Credit: NASA

Four decades ago, this summer, a shuttle (though not a “space” shuttle) took to the skies above Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to show the world what she could do. Outwardly, Orbiter Vehicle […]

'Better Than Any Simulation': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 2)

Boasting the aerodynamic tail cone for four of the independent flights, Enterprise demonstrated the capabilities of the space shuttle in the low atmosphere. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years ago, this fall, the first member of NASA’s space shuttle fleet was structurally complete and well on the way toward her first mission. Yet unlike the […]

'In A Real Flight Environment': 40 Years Since Enterprise Took the Shuttle From Ground to Air (Part 1)

NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is pictured here with Shuttle Enterprise during the first of the shuttle program’s Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in summer 1977. Photo Credit: NASA

When we think of the space shuttle, we think of the five spaceworthy orbiter vehicles—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, […]

Edgar Mitchell, Sixth Apollo Moonwalker, Dies at 85

Ed Mitchell, who died Thursday, 4 February 2016, aged 85. Photo Credit: NASA, with thanks to Michael Galindo/AmericaSpace

Forty-five years to the week since he arrived in lunar orbit and subsequently became one of only 12 humans ever to leave his footprints in the dust of another world, Apollo 14 astronaut Ed Mitchell has […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 2)

Training for a mission which, for one of them, would never come to pass, Dick Gordon (left) and Jack Schmitt work with a mockup of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during their Apollo 15 backup duties. Schmitt’s importance as a professional geologist assured him a seat on Apollo 17. Gordon was not so lucky. […]

'A Nation of Quitters': 45 Years Since the Summer Apollo Ended (Part 1)

Apollo 15, originally the last of the H-series lunar landing missions, evolved to become the first member of the J-series, following the tumultuous events of 1970. Photo Credit: NASA

In 2011, Hollywood had us believe that the crew of Apollo 18 fell victim to spider-like aliens and a sinister conspiracy, spearheaded by the Department […]

'We Show You on the Mains': 45 Years Since the Unlucky Voyage of Apollo 13 (Part 4)

Seen later in the mission, the damage to an entire side panel of Apollo 13’s service module is apparent. It remains miraculous that the crew survived. Photo Credit: NASA

By the middle of April 1970, Project Apollo—America’s effort to land a man on the lunar surface—had reached one of its most decisive points of […]

'It's a Beauty': 45 Years Since the Unlucky Voyage of Apollo 13 (Part 3)

Astronauts gather in Mission Control at the height of the crisis. Seated (from left) are Deke Slayton, Jack Lousma and John Young, with Ken Mattingly and Vance Brand standing. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this week, the lives of three humans literally hung in the balance, more than 200,000 miles (320,000 km) from […]