'An Evolving Process': Remembering the Shuttle's First Landing in Darkness, 35 Years Ago

Challenger alights on concrete Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the small hours of 5 September 1983. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Characterized by NASA as “any landing which occurs no later than 15 minutes before sunrise”, nighttime landings were among the most dramatic events in the 30-year span of […]

Summer of the Shuttle: Remembering the Ill-Fated Summer of '84

An ominous cloud of smoke billows away from Pad 39A in the seconds after a problematic Main Engine Start on 26 June 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

More than 30 summers ago, America’s shuttle program should have entered its prime. Touted for over a decade as capable of flying regularly and routinely, the early summer […]

'Somebody Get a Camera': 25 Years Since the Launch of Hubble (Part 2)

Twenty-five years after its April 1990 launch, the iconic Hubble Space Telescope remains functional. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, yesterday, on 24 April 1990, one of the most important missions in the annals of scientific discovery got underway, with the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. As described in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history article, […]

'Monster Flight': 25 Years Since Launch of Hubble (Part 1)

The moment of deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), as seen from the IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC). Photo Credit: NASA

“If there were ever two missions that were completely opposite in terms of the public attention that was given to them,” astronaut Loren Shriver once said, “it would be my first and […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 2)

Since the conception of the Manned Spaceflight Engineer (MSE) program, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and […]

The Lunacy of Secrecy: 30 Years Since Mission 51C (Part 1)

Mission 51C roars into orbit on 24 January 1985, kicking off the shuttle program’s first dedicated Department of Defense assignment. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space program: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to […]

Loren Shriver, Commander of Hubble Deployment Mission, Turns 70 Today

Loren Shriver gobbles a handful of M&Ms during STS-46, his third and final shuttle mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost a quarter-century ago, astronaut Loren Shriver—who turns 70 today (Tuesday, 23 September)—commanded a shuttle mission into the highest orbit ever attained by one of the reusable vehicles. On 24 April 1990, he led the crew […]

To the Brink, From the Brink: Happy 24th Birthday, Hubble (Part 2)

Discovery rockets into the highest orbit ever attained by a shuttle on 24 April 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

More than two decades ago, this very week, one of the most important missions in the annals of scientific discovery got underway with the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This enormous, $1.5 billion observatory, with […]

The Eighth Wonder: Happy 24th Birthday, Hubble (Part 1)

Since its inaugural deployment from the shuttle in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has peered deeper into the cosmos than ever before in human history. Photo Credit: NASA

“If there were ever two missions that were completely opposite in terms of the public attention that was given to them,” astronaut Loren Shriver once […]

' ... T-9 Minutes and Counting ... ': NASA's First Secret Shuttle Flight

Since the conception of the manned spaceflight engineer programme, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and Ellison […]