'So Thin and Fragile': Remembering Columbia's Final Mission (Part 1)

The dual-shift nature of STS-107 required the inclusion of sleep stations in Columbia’s middeck. In this image, Red Team members Laurel Clark, Rick Husband and Kalpana Chawla peek out of their bunks. Photo Credit: NASA

When Columbia’s payload bay doors opened at around midday EST on 16 January 2003—a few hours after NASA’s oldest […]

'A Lot of Cheers on the Ground': 10 Years Since STS-116 Brought Power to the Space Station (Part 2)

The International Space Station (ISS) appears to “rise” from behind Discovery, as the two spacecraft near the end of their rendezvous on 11 December 2006. Photo Credit: NASA

When Commander Mark Polansky docked Space Shuttle Discovery onto the International Space Station (ISS) on 11 December 2006, ten years ago, today, he kicked off an […]

A Pilot for a Space Station: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 2)

For the first time on STS-79, a shuttle crew saw Mir in its complete configuration, with six research and habitation modules. This would form John Blaha’s home for four months from September 1996 through January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … And liftoff of Atlantis on the fourth flight to dock with the Russian […]

A Space Station Stay Before Retirement: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 1)

John Blaha gazes through Atlantis’ overhead flight deck windows, shortly after docking with Mir in September 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

Of all the NASA astronauts who have flown long-duration space missions—longer than a month or so—very few have moved from the commander’s or pilot’s seat of a space shuttle and rotated into a lengthy […]

Changing the Guard: 20 Years Since STS-79 (Part 1)

World record holder Shannon Lucid watches the growth of plants in a Russian greenhouse aboard Mir. This photograph was taken in September 1996, shortly after the crew of STS-79, including Lucid’s replacement, John Blaha, arrived to bring her home. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this month, an American national record-breaker circled high above […]

'To Make Sure We Didn't Make the News': 25 Years Since STS-48 (Part 2)

Originally scheduled to be the first shuttle mission to land at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the hours of darkness, STS-48 was ultimately diverted to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Late in September 2011, the skies above the Pacific Ocean were illuminated by an astonishing—though not unexpected—fire […]

'Gentlemen's Hours': 25 Years Since STS-48 (Part 1)

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is readied for deployment by Discovery’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, early in the STS-48 mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Late in September 2011, the skies above the Pacific Ocean were illuminated by an astonishing, though not unexpected, fire show. NASA’s 13,000-pound (5,900-kg) Upper Atmosphere […]

In For the Long Haul: 10 Years Since STS-115 (Part 1)

Joe Tanner had already performed five EVAs before STS-115 left Earth. By the time he returned from the mission, he had completed seven EVAs and spent 46.5 hours outside a spacecraft. Even today, he stands as the 13th most seasoned spacewalker of all time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

At first glance, shuttle […]

'Easier to Destroy Than Create': 15 Years Since STS-105 (Part 2)

STS-105 Mission Specialist Dan Barry translates along the U.S. Destiny lab during one of the flight’s two EVAs. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years have now passed since Shuttle Discovery dropped off and picked up crew members at the International Space Station (ISS) and supported a pair of Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) to transition the multi-national […]

'To Train a Mission': 15 Years Since STS-105 (Part 1)

Fifteen years have now passed since STS-105 exchanged crews and supplies at the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, this month, 10 astronauts and cosmonauts from the United States and Russia celebrated 1,000 days of orbital operations for the International Space Station (ISS). In August 2001, Shuttle Discovery’s STS-105 astronauts—Commander […]