'Yabadabadoo': 50 Years Since Apollo 7 Brought America's Lunar Goal Closer (Part 2)

The expended Saturn S-IVB stage as photographed from the Apollo 7 spacecraft during transposition and docking maneuvers. This view is over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this month, Apollo 7—America’s first three-person space mission—launched from Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy and spent almost 11 days […]

Riding the 'Big Maumoo': 50 Years Since Apollo 7 Brought America's Lunar Goal Closer (Part 1)

Build-up of the Saturn IB gets underway at Pad 34 in April 1968, ahead of Apollo 7, the giant rocket’s first mission with a human crew. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, a gigantic rocket—nicknamed “the big maumoo” by Apollo 7 Commander Wally Schirra—stood primed on Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy, ready to launch […]

The Right Man: Remembering Gordon Cooper's Day-Long Mercury Mission, 55 Years On

The Atlas booster rises from Pad 14 on 15 May 1963, carrying Gordon Cooper on his day-long Faith 7 mission. His was the longest single U.S. piloted spaceflight at that time. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 14 May 1963, a hotshot pilot lay on his back in a tiny capsule, atop a converted ballistic […]

Dawn of a New Age: 55 Years Since the Troubled Mission of Aurora 7 (Part 1)

Scott Carpenter, America’s fourth man in space and second to orbit the Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, this week, America launched its second man into orbit around the Earth. That man should have been Deke Slayton, but a heart murmur had left him grounded, not in favor of his backup, Wally Schirra, […]

'Just a Normal Day': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 2)

Bobbing gently in the waves after a highly successful – though nail-bitingly harrowing – mission, Friendship 7 is readied for winching out of the water. Photo Credit: NASA

On the afternoon of 20 February 1962, millions of Americans listened and watched, transfixed as their countryman, John Glenn, plummeted back to Earth after completing three […]

'Fire in the Cockpit': Remembering the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 1 (Part 1)

The Apollo 1 crew consisted of (from left) Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, this month, one of the worst tragedies in the history of U.S. space exploration unfolded with horrifying suddenness on Pad 34 at Cape Kennedy in Florida. “The […]

'The Next Mission in the Schedule': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 1)

Targeting a launch as early as August 1967, the Apollo 2 crew of (from left) Rusty Schweickart, Dave Scott, and Jim McDivitt would have performed the inaugural test of the combined command, service, and lunar modules in low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Nearly five decades have passed since astronauts Virgil “Gus” […]

The 'No Sense' Mission: 50 Years Since the Rise and Fall of Apollo 2 (Part 2)

North American technicians work inside the Block I Command Module during processing. This craft caused great concern to Apollo 1 Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who followed its progress with mounting distress and anger. Photo Credit: NASA

It is rare to find a space mission which was born, thrived, and ended within a matter of […]

The 'No Sense' Mission: 50 Years Since the Rise and Fall of Apollo 2 (Part 1)

The three men who eventually formed the prime crew of Apollo 7 were originally assigned to the short-lived Apollo 2 mission. Left to right, are Walt Cunningham, Donn Eisele, and Wally Schirra. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this month, a space mission which even its commander—veteran Mercury and Gemini astronaut Wally Schirra—described as […]

'Man, I Gotta Pee': 55 Years Since Freedom 7 Began America's Adventure in Space (Part 1)

Alan Shepard (left) and John Glenn were assigned as prime and backup pilots for America’s first mission into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, in the early hours of 5 May 1961, America prepared to launch its first man into space. Navy Cmdr. Alan Shepard would fly a suborbital flight—rising from Pad 5 […]