NASA Remembers Gene Cernan, Last Apollo Moonwalker

Gene Cernan salutes the U.S. flag at Taurus-Littrow in December 1972. Photo Credit: NASA

A little more than a week since his passing, aged 82, veteran astronaut and Navy Capt. Eugene Cernan—the last man to have left his footprints on the surface of the Moon—was honored today in a touching funeral service at St. […]

Gene Cernan, Last Apollo Moonwalker, Dies Aged 82

Gene Cernan salutes the U.S. flag at Taurus-Littrow in December 1972. Photo Credit: NASA

On 16 January, a day of reflection—the 14th anniversary of the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia on her final mission—the world lost a shining light in the early annals of human space exploration. Retired Navy Capt. Gene Cernan, veteran of […]

Chimpanzee Work: 50 Years Since NASA Closed Out Project Gemini (Part 2)

On Gemini XII, Buzz Aldrin became the first human being to embark on three discrete sessions of extravehicular activity. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, next week, Gemini XII astronauts Jim Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin roared into orbit on a four-day mission which would demonstrate many of the capabilities that NASA needed to […]

'Be Advised We Have a Solid Lock-On': 50 Years Since NASA Closed Out Project Gemini (Part 1)

Stunning perspective of Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba, captured by the Gemini XII astronauts. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades have now passed since the final curtain was drawn down on Project Gemini—America’s effort to perfect the techniques of rendezvous, docking, long-duration spaceflight, and spacewalking—ahead of fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a […]

'An Even Better Friend': 45 Years Since the Apollo 17 Decision (Part 2)

Forty-five years ago, this month, the names of the final crew of lunar explorers of the 20th century were announced. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this month, NASA made the decision which would close out human exploration of the lunar surface for more than two generations: the selection of the final crew to […]

'I Didn't Feel Any Obligation': 45 Years Since the Apollo 17 Decision (Part 1)

As Project Apollo wore on, the intensity of lobbying by the scientific community to get geologist-astronaut Jack Schmitt to the Moon increased. Originally assigned to the Apollo 15 backup crew, Schmitt might have flown Apollo 18, prior to a sweeping cancelation of the final missions in the program. Photo Credit: NASA

For almost five […]

'Otherwise Engaged': 50 Years Since the Double-Rendezvous, Double-Spacewalk Mission of Gemini X (Part 1)

Six hours after launching from Cape Kennedy on 18 July 1966, Gemini X Command Pilot John Young and Pilot Mike Collins rendezvoused and docked with Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV)-5005. It was the first of a record-setting two rendezvous to be performed during their three-day mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty years ago, […]

'Only Tom Really Knows': 50 Years Since the Challenging Mission of Gemini IX (Part 2)

A view of Gemini IX, including its maneuvering thrusters, taken by Gene Cernan. His lengthy tether is clearly visible. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, one of the hairiest and most difficult missions in America’s space history unfolded. Gemini IX-A was already complex—a three-day flight, involving rendezvous, docking, maneuvering, and spacewalking—but had endured additional […]

'Like an Angry Alligator': 50 Years Since the Challenging Mission of Gemini IX (Part 1)

Gemini IX finally flew in June 1966, carrying astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: NASA

In many ways, NASA’s Gemini IX mission—tasked with spending three days in space, performing a lengthy spacewalk, a rendezvous, and a docking with an unmanned Agena target vehicle—was hamstrung by bad luck. First, in February 1966, its […]

'What Do You Suppose Stafford's Saying?': 50 Years Since Gemini IX Lost Its Agena (Part 2)

The Gemini IX crews consisted of Elliot See (front left) and Charlie Bassett (front right) and their backups, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The deaths of the prime crew on 28 February 1966 forced Stafford and Cernan into their shoes, but was not the end of their misfortunes. On 17 May 1966, they also […]