Landing in The Drink: Remembering America's Oceanic Returns from Space (Part 1)

On Sunday afternoon, @SpaceX Dragon Endeavour will bring @AstroBehnken & Astro_Doug back to Earth after 8 weeks in space. […]

'Huffing and Puffing': How Does Flying a Falcon 9 Compare to the Rest? (Part 1)

Dragon Endeavour rises from historic Pad 39A on Saturday evening. The Falcon 9 is now the seventh American-made booster to have lofted American astronauts to space in almost six decades. Photo Credit: Mike Killian/AmericaSpace

Last month, America observed 59 years since Alan Shepard became the nation’s first man in space. Tucked inside his tiny […]

'Light This Candle': Remembering America's First Astronaut, OTD in 1961

One of the few grainy images of Shepard, acquired during his brief moments of weightlessness. Photo Credit: NASA

“A damn fine month,” actor Morgan Freeman’s character Ellis “Red” Redding remarked in the movie Shawshank Redemption and, indeed, for America’s space program, the month of May—newly dawned—has long been a historic one for off-the-planet U.S. […]

'It's Been A Long Way': Remembering the Return of the Rookie, 50 Years On

“A long way, but we’re here,” were Shepard’s figuratively and literally appropriate words when he became the fifth man to set foot on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, as the United States and the world stood on the cusp of launching the first humans to the surface of another world, a […]

'Before This Decade Is Out': 55 Years Since the Speech Which Committed America to the Moon (Part 2)

Through a combination of enthusiasm for space exploration and political need, President John F. Kennedy’s speech on 25 May 1961 defined his short-lived administration. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, this week, John Fitzgerald Kennedy—35th President of the United States—gave a speech before Congress which, arguably, defined not only his administration, but also […]

'Before This Decade Is Out': 55 Years Since the Speech Which Committed America to the Moon (Part 1)

On 25 May 1961, President John F. Kennedy made one of the most remarkable speeches in U.S. political history, by setting his nation on a course to land a man on the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

When we think of heroes in the early Space Age, our minds are naturally drawn to the […]

'What a Beautiful View': 55 Years Since Freedom 7 Began America's Adventure in Space (Part 2)

Shepard’s 15-minute flight offered him a few minutes of weightlessness and a few minutes to glimpse the grandeur of Earth from space. He was only the second human being to leave the Home Planet. Photo Credit: NASA

In the half-hour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. EDT on 5 May 1961, the United States […]

'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 […]

'We Had 'Em By the Short Hairs': How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 2)

In early 1961, the Mercury Seven were ready to begin the United States’ first missions into space. However, the need to conduct a final unpiloted Mercury-Redstone mission caused America to lose the race to beat the Soviet Union into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, next week, on 24 March 1961, the […]

Timid Doctors and Timid Germans: How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 1)

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

More than five decades have now passed since one of the most unfortunate episodes in human spaceflight history. In late […]