'The Worst Coffee': Remembering Columbia's Return on STS-28, Thirty Years On (Part 2)

Columbia roars to orbit on 8 August 1989, beginning the first flight of her post-Challenger career. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month, Space Shuttle Columbia returned to flight, following a three-year down time in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. Aboard STS-28 for a five-day flight were Commander Brewster Shaw, Pilot Dick […]

'Off to a Good Start': Remembering Columbia's Return on STS-28, Thirty Years On (Part 1)

Columbia touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 13 August 1989, to wrap up her first mission after the Challenger tragedy. Photo Credit: NASA

Astronaut Dick Richards was five weeks from his first launch into space when the Challenger disaster snatched the opportunity from him. In January 1985, Richards had been named […]

'A Vision of Pure Beauty': Remembering STS-59, 25 Years On (Part 2)

Orbital sunrises and sunsets were among the most spectacular vistas on STS-59. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago this week, the crew of Endeavour on STS-59 demonstrated that the shuttle program was imbued with “Radar Love”, as they operated the first Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-1) to acquire unprecedented views of the Home Planet from […]

Patron Saint of Astronauts: Remembering STS-59, 25 Years On (Part 1)

The first Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-1) in Endeavour’s payload bay. Tom Jones flew both the first and second missions of the radar lab. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago this week, the crew of Endeavour on STS-59 demonstrated that the shuttle program was imbued with “Radar Love”, as they operated the first Space Radar […]

Black History Month: Looking Back, Looking Forward at the Contributions of African-American Astronauts

Charlie Bolden, pictured at the commander’s station on STS-60 in February 1994. This flight, 25 years ago, saw the first joint U.S.-Russian participation in manned space exploration since the Apollo-Soyuz era. Bolden went on to become NASA’s first African-American administrator. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this month, an African-American astronaut commanded one […]

'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 […]

'Lock the Doors': Remembering Columbia's Loss, OTD in 2003

The beauty of Earth was a sight that none of the STS-107 crew ever grew tired. Photographed through Columbia’s overhead flight deck windows, this astonishing vista was captured on 22 January, six days after launch. Photo Credit: NASA

On this day, 1 February, in 2003, the seven-member crew of shuttle Columbia—Commander Rick Husband, […]

'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 […]

'Roger, Go': Remembering the Shuttle's Return to Flight, 30 Years Ago

Thirty years ago, at 11:38 a.m. EDT on 29 September 1988, America returned to space with humans for the first time in the 32 months since Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

As America prepares for another “return to flight” next year—carrying astronauts to low-Earth orbit aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon—a moment […]

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 […]