Rolling Out on High Final: 35 Years Since the Short Mission of STS-2 (Part 2)

The Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm is put through its paces during STS-2. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty-five years ago, today, Space Shuttle Columbia was sailing—though not entirely smoothly—through her second orbital mission, STS-2. Aboard the orbiter, astronauts Joe Engle and Dick Truly were tasked with spending five days in […]

Flying a Used Space Shuttle: 35 Years Since the Short Mission of STS-2 (Part 1)

Columbia rolls out to Pad 39A in August 1981, ahead of the STS-2 mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

For almost three decades, from November 1981 through July 2011, Canada’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS), also known as the “Canadarm,” supplied much of the muscle needed by the space shuttle fleet to complete its […]

'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, […]

'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 […]

Astronaut Scholarship Foundation to Honor 35th Anniversary of First Shuttle Missions

Thirty-five years ago, in April and November 1981, NASA launched the first reusable piloted orbital spacecraft on its first two missions. In September 2016, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) will remember STS-1 and STS-2 with a panel discussion involving three of the four astronauts. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty-five years ago, this summer, NASA worked […]

'Almost Worth the Entire Trip': 45 Years Since Apollo 14 (Part 1)

Al Shepard, pictured at Fra Mauro during Apollo 14 in early 1971. This was the planned landing site for Apollo 13. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this week, the sixth team of Apollo lunar explorers—and only the third to accomplish a landing on the Moon’s dusty surface—headed back to Earth after a mission […]

'A Heck of a Push': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 2)

The sheer size of the 15,000-pound (6,800-kg) Leasat-3 satellite is illustrated in this view of James “Ox” van Hoften manhandling it into space on Mission 51I. Photo Credit: NASA

For Dick Covey, the instant Space Shuttle Discovery broke the shackles of Earth on the cusp of daybreak on 27 August 1985 had been a […]

'Winging It': 30 Years Since the Dramatic Rescue of Mission 51I (Part 1)

In a triumphant ending to a triumphant space salvage, James “Ox” van Hoften strikes a Charles Atlas pose on the end of the shuttle’s RMS mechanical arm, seemingly hoisting the world on his shoulders. Photo Credit: NASA

When Discovery touched down at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in […]