Remembering the Dogs of War: 25 Years Since Discovery Closed Out the Shuttle's Military Career

The STS-53 crew, aboard Discovery, during their mission, a quarter-century ago. From left are Guy Bluford, Michael “Rich” Clifford, Dave Walker, Jim Voss and Bob Cabana. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, the five-man crew of shuttle Discovery settled into orbit for a mission about which a cloak of secrecy would […]

Malarkey Milkshakes: 25 Years Since STS-39 (Part 2)

After almost two months of delays, Discovery roars into orbit on 28 April 1991, 25 years ago, this week. Her STS-39 mission marked the longest shuttle flight ever conducted for the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, next week, one of the most complex space shuttle missions in […]

'What Did You Tell My Wife?': 25 Years Since STS-39 (Part 1)

The Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS), attached to a deployable Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), was one of the principal payloads aboard STS-39. The eight-day flight was the longest shuttle mission ever conducted in support of the Department of Defense. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, the loss of Challenger, on 28 […]

'The Most Beautiful Thing': 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 2)

In one of the final views of Challenger in space, the orbiter sails over the cloud-bedecked Earth, with the Spacelab D-1 module clearly visible in her payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, next week, Space Shuttle Challenger flew in space for the final time. Mission 61A—the ninth and last […]

'Dallas? You Mean the City?' 30 Years Since Challenger's Last Successful Mission (Part 1)

Thirty years ago, next week, Shuttle Challenger launched on her final successful mission. Photo Credit: NASA

It is a dismaying fact of history that the name “Challenger”—when spoken in relation to the second spaceworthy vehicle of NASA’s shuttle fleet—is so often associated only with the dreadful catastrophe which snuffed out seven lives on the […]

Wubbo Ockels, Holland's First Citizen in Space, Dies Aged 68

Wubbo Ockels (fourth from left) poses with his fellow 61A crewmates and backup Ulf Merbold (in dark suit) before the October 1985 mission. Photo Credit: Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Wubbo Ockels, Holland’s first man in space and a member of the only shuttle mission to launch and land with a crew of eight, died earlier today […]

Dale Gardner, MMU Spacewalker, Dies Aged 65

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the shuttle’s credentials as infallible … but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense of […]

30 Years Ago: First Shuttle Night Launch, First African-American Astronaut, Oldest Man in Space (Part 2)

Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, the first African-American astronaut, Guy Bluford, rode into orbit aboard Challenger on the space shuttle’s first-ever night launch as a member of the STS-8 crew. He was joined by crewmates Dick Truly, Dan Brandenstein, Dale Gardner, and the then-oldest man in space, 54-year-old Bill Thornton. After […]

30 Years Ago: First Shuttle Night Launch, First African-American Astronaut, Oldest Man in Space (Part 1)

“Dan, how do the engines look?” As Gardner worried, and Bluford chuckled, Challenger roared into the history books on the morning of 30 August 1983. Photo Credit: NASA

At about midnight on the rainy evening of 30 August 1983, the adventure began for Guy Bluford, NASA’s first African-American astronaut. Together with his four STS-8 […]