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 […]

More Capable Machine: Remembering Atlantis' STS-66 Mission, 25 Years On (Part 2)

Boasting the first reusable drag chute, Atlantis concluded STS-66 with a touchdown at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on 14 November 1994. The 11-day mission was her longest flight to date. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, this month, STS-66 Commander Don McMonagle received light-hearted authorization to “take Atlantis back to the skies”, after […]

Gentlemen's Hours: Remembering Atlantis' STS-66 Mission, 25 Years On (Part 1)

Twenty-five years ago, Atlantis returned to flight with the ATLAS-3 mission. It was her final “standalone” mission before the shuttle-Mir and International Space Station (ISS) eras. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, today, the International Space Station (ISS) era began in earnest with the return-to-flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis, following a lengthy period of […]

'You Didn't Prepare Me': Remembering America’s Galileo Mission to Jupiter, 30 Years On (Part 2)

Aerial view of Atlantis’ rise to orbit on 18 October 1989, 30 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis roared aloft from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida to deliver NASA’s Galileo spacecraft onto the first leg […]

'Nothing Absurd': Remembering America's Galileo Mission to Jupiter, 30 Years On (Part 1)

Mounted atop its Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Galileo parts company from Space Shuttle Atlantis on the evening of 18 October 1989. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Space Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989—30 years ago this week—to begin the first leg of its […]

Mission to Earth's Twisted Twin: Remembering the Magellan Voyage to Venus, 25 Years On

The volcano Maat Mons, as viewed by Magellan’s powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The ambitious mission to radar-map Venus came to an end 25 years ago, this month. Image Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this month, a tiny spacecraft ended a remarkable mission which successfully mapped over 90 percent of the surface of Venus […]

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 […]