'More Confidence Than Ever': Remembering the Trailblazing Mission of Apollo 9 (Part 2)

Apollo 9 marked the first “all-up” flight of the entire Apollo spacecraft, as well as the first mission to feature Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 5 March 1969, two men floated through a tunnel from their command ship into a spider-shaped vehicle whose descendants would soon carry astronauts to the surface […]

'Certainly Not Supposed to Happen': Remembering the Trailblazing Mission of Apollo 9 (Part 1)

On the “D” mission, which later became Apollo 9, astronauts Jim McDivitt, Dave Scott and Rusty Schweickart would put the Lunar Module (LM) through its paces for the first time on a piloted space mission. Photo Credit: NASA

The year 1969 was pivotal in so many ways for humanity. At its dawn, American astronauts […]

'All Sorts of Planning Problems': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 2)

Apollo 8 in December 1968 marked the first occasion on which humans had departed Earth’s gravitational “well,” entered cislunar space, and traveled to the Moon. The flight design originated from the “E-mission” of Apollo 3. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week—just three days before Christmas 1966—NASA announced the names of a group […]

'The Next Mission in the Schedule': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 1)

Targeting a launch as early as August 1967, the Apollo 2 crew of (from left) Rusty Schweickart, Dave Scott, and Jim McDivitt would have performed the inaugural test of the combined command, service, and lunar modules in low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Nearly five decades have passed since astronauts Virgil “Gus” […]

The 'No Sense' Mission: 50 Years Since the Rise and Fall of Apollo 2 (Part 2)

North American technicians work inside the Block I Command Module during processing. This craft caused great concern to Apollo 1 Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who followed its progress with mounting distress and anger. Photo Credit: NASA

It is rare to find a space mission which was born, thrived, and ended within a matter of […]

The 'No Sense' Mission: 50 Years Since the Rise and Fall of Apollo 2 (Part 1)

The three men who eventually formed the prime crew of Apollo 7 were originally assigned to the short-lived Apollo 2 mission. Left to right, are Walt Cunningham, Donn Eisele, and Wally Schirra. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this month, a space mission which even its commander—veteran Mercury and Gemini astronaut Wally Schirra—described as […]

'The Saddest Moment': The Story of America's First Spacewalk (Part 2)

Clasping the cold-gas maneuvering gun in his right hand, and trailed by a snake-like tether, Ed White tumbles over a cloud-speckled Earth during the United States’ first EVA. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, in the first week of June 1965, the the United States took a huge step forward in its drive to […]

'Examinations of Some Kind': The Story of America's First Spacewalk (Part 1)

Ed White performs America’s first EVA outside Gemini IV in June 1965. Photo Credit: NASA

Exactly 50 years ago, in the first week of June 1965, the United States took a huge step forward in its drive to land a man on the Moon. Aboard Gemini IV, astronauts Jim McDivitt and Ed White spent […]

'Working a Monkey Board': The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 1)

Five decades have now passed since humanity’s first foray beyond the confines of their pressurized spacecraft and into the airless void beyond. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, today, on 18 March 1965, a 30-year-old Soviet cosmonaut named Alexei Leonov became the first human in history to depart the confines of his spacecraft in […]

'Open-Ended': What 1967 Might Have Been

The Apollo 1 crew, pictured during training, would have embarked on an open-ended mission of up to 14 days in duration in February-March 1967. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Figuratively and literally, February is a gloomy month, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere—a four-week period of darkness, plunging temperatures, and poor weather, with the […]