“What a Beautiful View”: Remembering America’s First Man in Space, OTD in 1961

Al Shepard is hoisted aboard the helicopter, deftly piloted by Wayne Koons, after completing his 15-minute suborbital flight. The patch of fluorescent green marker dye in the water around Freedom 7 is particularly obvious. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. EDT on this day in 1961, the United States […]

Sixty Years On, America Remembers the Achievements, Sacrifice of the Mercury Seven

Mercury astronauts John Glenn (3rd from left) and Scott Carpenter (far left) will headline NASA's “Celebrating 50 Years of Americans in Orbit" event at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex February 18. Photo Credit: NASA

The “Mercury Seven”, pictured in an early training photograph. From left to right are Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Wally Schirra, Al Shepard and Deke Slayton. Photo Credit: NASA

Best known as the residence of the fourth First Lady of the United States, on this day in 1959 the Dolley […]

'Old Reliable': 60 Years Since a Weapon of War Became a Rocket for Space

One of the earliest rockets to be launched from Cape Canaveral was the Army’s Redstone missile, which later evolved into the vehicle seen here delivering America’s first man into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Sixty years ago, this week, a weapon of war became a rocket for space. On 8 January 1959, the U.S. […]

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 […]

‘Beautiful View’: Remembering America’s First Manned Mission to Space, 57 Years Ago This Week

On the deck of the U.S.S. Lake Champlain, Alan Shepard checks out the interior of Freedom 7 – the vehicle which had protected him from the rigours of a launch and high-G acceleration, had kept him alive and well in the most hostile environment ever encountered by humanity and sustained him throughout a […]

'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 […]

'Zero-G and I Feel Fine': Remembering John Glenn's Mercury Flight (Part 1)

Blurred and somewhat lacking in detail, this image of John Glenn in orbit aboard Friendship 7 represents one of the United States’ greatest advances in space technology in the 20th century: the effort to achieve piloted orbital flight. Photo Credit: NASA

Two months after his death, aged 95, Monday will be a somber […]

'An Even Better Friend': 45 Years Since the Apollo 17 Decision (Part 2)

Forty-five years ago, this month, the names of the final crew of lunar explorers of the 20th century were announced. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-five years ago, this month, NASA made the decision which would close out human exploration of the lunar surface for more than two generations: the selection of the final crew […]

'The First Thing I Had Ever Lost': 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 2)

This was one of the final views of Liberty Bell 7 on 21 July 1961, before it was lost beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Not until 1999, more than three decades after Grissom’s death, would the sunken capsule be returned to the surface. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty-five years […]

'Isn't That Good Enough?' 55 Years Since Gus Grissom's Flight in the Liberty Bell (Part 1)

The white crack on the side of his capsule, paralleling that on the real Liberty Bell, is visible to the left of this pre-launch image of Virgil “Gus” Grissom. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Had Virgil “Gus” Grissom lived longer, wrote Deke Slayton in his autobiography, Deke, he would have been the […]