'A New Orbiter Joins the Shuttle Fleet': 30 Years Since Atlantis' Maiden Voyage (Part 2)

Not until the summer of 1998 were any images from this most “vanilla” of Department of Defense flights revealed … although the nature of the flight had long since trickled into the public domain. A pair of Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS)-III satellites, mounted atop a Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage, are here raised […]

'For Tasks That Might or Might Not Take Place': 30 Years Since Atlantis' Maiden Voyage (Part 1)

During the course of her 33-mission career, which began 30 years ago on 3 October 1985, Atlantis flew more Department of Defense assignments than any other orbiter, beginning with her maiden voyage, 51J. In keeping with DoD missions, the patch was both highly symbolic and patriotic. Image Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Thirty […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 4—'The Flights of Buck and Flash'

This iconic image, captured by astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, shows Bruce McCandless participating in humanity’s first untethered EVA, aboard the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Photo Credit: NASA

When the crew of Mission 41B—the 10th shuttle flight and the fourth voyage by orbiter Challenger—released their official patch in the fall of 1983, it included […]

Repair and Salvage: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 4)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Ironically, the spacecraft from which the most Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) were performed—the space shuttle—was not originally intended to carry the capability for spacewalking […]

'Plenty of People to Talk to Me': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 2)

During his historic untethered EVA with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) on 7 February 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured as far as 300 feet (90 meters) from Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man crew and a relatively “vanilla” pair […]

'To Face Their Wives': 30 Years Since First Untethered Spacewalk (Part 1)

This iconic image, captured by astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, shows Bruce McCandless participating in humanity’s first untethered EVA. McCandless’ historic spacewalk with the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) occurred 30 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago this week, in February 1984, NASA launched its 10th shuttle mission, with a five-man […]