Adding Backbone to the Space Station: 15 Years Since STS-110 (Part 1)

Rex Walheim works on the installation of S-0 truss connections during EVA-1. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, on the morning of 8 April 2002, U.S. astronaut Jerry Ross—veteran of seven space missions and seven spacewalks—settled into orbit aboard shuttle Atlantis, having just launched from Earth more times than any other human being. Ross […]

'A Mirror-Image Flight': 20 Years Since Columbia's Landing-to-Launch Record (Part 2)

With the reprioritization of mission objectives, the around-the-clock Spacelab operations in the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) changed dramatically. The astronauts even worked by torchlight at times to maintain power levels below critical levels. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, Space Shuttle Columbia rocketed into orbit for what should have been an ambitious […]

'Once-In-A-Career Opportunity': 20 Years Since Columbia's Landing-to-Launch Record (Part 1)

After the shortest operational flight in the Space Shuttle Program, Columbia touches down at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on 8 April 1997. Her STS-83 mission had lasted just a few minutes shy of four full days in space. Photo Credit: NASA

Eighty-four days. A mere 12 weeks on Earth, 84 days […]

'Just Unreal What It Had Done': 35 Years Since Columbia's Third Orbital Mission (Part 2)

Like a flying brick, Columbia descends towards White Sands on 30 March 1982. This view was acquired from one of the NASA T-38 jets, flying chase that morning. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty-five years ago, in the final week of March 1982, Commander Jack Lousma and Pilot Gordon Fullerton flew Space Shuttle Columbia on her […]

'Not a Good Place to Land': 35 Years Since Columbia's Third Orbital Mission (Part 1)

Columbia touches down at the mountain-ringed White Sands site in New Mexico on 30 March 1982. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost four decades ago, and two years ahead of the first Space Shuttle launch, NASA took the unusual step of selecting a great white blotch of compacted salt and gypsum in New Mexico’s Tularosa Valley […]

Russia's Tass Identifies Short-Notice U.S. Astronauts for Additional ISS-Bound Soyuz Seats

Two additional seats have opened up for NASA astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2017 and March 2018. This will increase the U.S. Orbital Segment (USOS) to four members for the first time. Photo Credit: NASA

Two experienced U.S. astronauts, with a combined total of more than 300 days in orbit, […]

Tooled Up for a Telescope: 20 Years Since the Second Hubble Servicing Mission (Part 1)

Barely illuminated by sunlight, Joe Tanner is pictured during EVA-4 on STS-82. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years have now passed since a seven-man rocketed into the night to begin the second servicing mission to the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Coming on the heels of the ambitious STS-61 shuttle flight in December 1993—during […]

'Lock the Doors': Remembering Columbia's Final Mission (Part 2)

As evidenced by the clock on the main screen at 14:15:05 GMT (9:15:05 am EST), this view of a tense Mission Control was acquired a quarter of an hour after the first sign of trouble…and a minute ahead of Columbia’s expected landing. By now, everyone was aware that all hope was gone and contingency […]

'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 […]