The Story of the Vanishing Satellite: Remembering Top-Secret STS-36, 30 Years On

Atlantis spears for the heavens at 2:50 a.m. EST on 28 February 1990. Photo Credit: NASA

In many minds, STS-36—a top-secret Department of Defense mission, flown 30 years ago this month—was one of the greatest flights ever undertaken in the three decades of Space Shuttle operations. In his memoir Man On A Mission, astronaut Dave Hilmers recalled […]

The Limits of Relaxed: Remembering STS-30, Thirty Years On

The Magellan spacecraft departs the payload bay on STS-30. At just 97 hours, this mission was the shortest flight in Atlantis’ entire career and the second-shortest operational mission in shuttle program history. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty years ago, this week, shuttle Atlantis sat patiently primed on Pad 39B at the Kennedy […]

'Better Than The Simulator': Remembering the Rip-Roaring Flight of STS-122

Spacewalker Rex Walheim works to outfit the exterior of Europe’s Columbus lab during STS-122. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Launching to space is undoubtedly an exciting and terrifying experience, all rolled into one, as millions of pounds of thrust combine in a controlled explosion to blast a group of humans beyond Earth’s […]

'Dying All Tensed-Up': 30 Years Since the Troubled Secret Mission of STS-27

Atlantis roars to orbit on the morning of 2 December 1988, 30 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, at 9:30 a.m. EST on 2 December 1988, Atlantis rocketed into crystal-blue Florida skies to begin the second shuttle mission in the wake of the Challenger tragedy. Two months earlier, her sister […]

'Beautiful, Beautiful Moment': Ten Years Since Europe's Columbus Lab Arrived at Space Station

Spacewalker Rex Walheim works to outfit the exterior of Europe’s Columbus lab during STS-122, which launched ten years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Ten years ago, this month, Space Shuttle Atlantis sprang from historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, to kickstart the final phase […]

Launching Into the Night: Remembering the Shuttle's Nocturnal Missions in November

Atlantis roars into the night at 7:29 p.m. EST on 26 November 1985. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

More than three decades ago, on the evening of 26 November 1985, shuttle Atlantis roared into the night to begin the week-long voyage of Mission 61B. Her seven-member crew—Commander Brewster Shaw, Pilot Bryan O’Connor, […]

‘Knight in Shining Armor': 10 Years Since STS-117 Changed the Face of the Space Station (Part 2)

John “Danny” Olivas is just barely visible at center-right, near the deploying Photovoltaic Radiator (PVR) on the S-3/S-4 truss during the first spacewalk of STS-117. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years ago, this week, Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on what would turn out to be the longest mission of her storied career, lasting almost […]

'Just Do It...Again': 10 Years Since STS-117 Changed the Face of the Space Station (Part 1)

Atlantis launches on her longest space mission on 8 June 2007. Photo Credit: NASA

Ten years have now passed since STS-117 literally changed the face of the International Space Station (ISS), delivering and activating a new set of power-producing solar arrays, batteries and radiators. Aboard shuttle Atlantis in June 2007 for what would […]

'See the Sunrise?': 20 Years Since STS-84, Mission of the Six Nations (Part 2)

The pressurized modules and solar arrays of Mir, as viewed through the windows of Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-84. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, tonight, the Florida sky and much of the eastern seaboard of the United States, was lit up and shaken awake by the rousing launch of […]

'We Just Lit Up the Sky': 20 Years Since STS-84, Mission of the Six Nations (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into the night on 15 May 1997, kicking off her sixth visit to Russia’s Mir space station. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago, this week, Space Shuttle Atlantis roared into the night, creating a new dawn across the marshy landscape of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). “We just […]