'To Make Life as Good as Possible': 25 Years Since STS-50 Stretched the Space Shuttle

A quarter-century ago, STS-50 set a new record for the longest Space Shuttle mission at that time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, next week, the crew of Columbia roared into orbit to begin the longest shuttle mission ever attempted at that time. Equipped with the Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) hardware—a […]

Ready for a Margarita: 20 Years Since the Second Hubble Servicing Mission (Part 2)

Twenty years ago, on STS-82, the Hubble Space Telescope was transformed from a 1970s instrument with 1980s optics into an observatory for 21st-century scientific discovery. Photo Credit: NASA

Two decades ago, yesterday, on 11 February 1997, Space Shuttle Discovery roared into the night with a seven-strong crew—Commander Ken Bowersox, Pilot Scott “Doc” Horowitz, Payload […]

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 […]

Doorway to the Future: 15 Years Since STS-104 (Part 2)

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly departs the Quest airlock on 28 October 2015 to begin an EVA with crewmate Kjell Lindgren. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifteen years ago, this week, the crew of STS-104—Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh, and Mission Specialists Mike Gernhardt, Janet Kavandi, and Jim Reilly—rocketed into the pre-dawn darkness to effect […]

'Without Travel Orders': 20 Years Since the Marathon Flight of STS-73 (Part 2)

Clad in their respective “red” and “blue” shirts, to denote their membership of the 12-hour Red and Blue Teams, the STS-73 crew pose for an in-flight portrait in the Spacelab module. Front row (from left) are Kathy Thornton, Mike Lopez-Alegria, and Ken Bowersox, with Catherine “Cady” Coleman and Fred Leslie in the middle row, […]

'Not For Geeks': 20 Years Since the Marathon Mission of STS-73 (Part 1)

With her port-side payload bay door positioned at 62-degrees-open, in order to guard against Micrometeoroid Orbital Debris (MMOD) impacts in a gravity gradient attitude, Columbia sails through her long-delayed 18th mission in October-November 1995. Photo Credit: NASA

The “geek” has long been recognized as an eccentric, non-mainstream individual, usually imbued with a peculiar or […]

'Return to Flight, Not Rush to Flight': 10 Years Since Discovery Came Safely Home to Earth (Part 1)

Discovery sits on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 9 August 2005, after completing STS-114, the first post-Columbia shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years have now passed since the first space shuttle streaked safely back to Earth on 9 August 2005, in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster. The crew […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 3—’Repackage Our Margin’

Astronaut Story Musgrave is positioned to replace components at the end of Endeavour’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm on STS-61 in December 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades have passed since one of the most spectacular EVA missions in U.S. history: the long-awaited first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). […]

'The Most Complex So Far': What 2003 Might Have Been

Columbia roars into orbit for the 28th and final time on 16 January 2003. Eighty-two seconds into the ascent, a chunk of foam from her External Tank would spell disaster for the outcome of STS-107. Photo Credit: NASA

Twelve years ago, last weekend, Shuttle Columbia and the crew of STS-107—Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie […]

'Fifteen Midnights': Celebrating the New Year in Space (Part 1)

Bill Shepherd (center) and his Expedition 1 crewmates, Yuri Gidzenko (left) and Sergei Krikalev, juggle oranges during their time aboard the International Space Station. They celebrated both Christmas and the dawn of 2001 in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

With a naval officer in command of the International Space Station, it might have seemed obvious […]