Beautiful Shoes: Americans Launching and Landing on the Fourth of July

On 4 July 1982, the crew of STS-4 became the first U.S. astronauts to spend Independence Day in space. It also marked the date of their spectacular return to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

On the morning of 4 July 1982, a rapidly-moving black-and-white speck appeared on the horizon at Edwards […]

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

As evidenced by the clock on the main screen at 14:15:05 GMT (9:15:05 am EST) on 1 February 2003, this view of a tense Mission Control was acquired a quarter of an hour after the first sign of trouble…and a minute ahead of Columbia’s expected landing. By now, everyone was aware that all hope […]

The Real Mission Impossible: Remembering STS-61C's Quest for Space

“Mission Impossible” finally launches as Columbia roars into the darkened Florida skies on 12 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA

The opening weeks of each year are always tinged with sadness for America’s space program, as the nation observes a triplet of cruel anniversaries: the 1967 loss of Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed […]

At Its Best: Remembering STS-32, Thirty Years On

Thirty years ago, this month, the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was plucked from orbit after almost six years. It was a triumphant moment as the Space Shuttle Program sought to recover from the loss of Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, in January 1990, the Space Shuttle turned a corner. Long touted […]

'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 […]

'For One Priceless Moment': Celebrating Apollo 11, 50th Anniversary Month (Part 4)

Buzz Aldrin stands before the U.S. flag at the Sea of Tranquility. Photo Credit: NASA

On Sunday, 20 July 1969, the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston, Texas, was filled with tension and expectant quiet. More than three billion people lived on Earth and three others—Apollo 11 […]

'The Eagle Has Landed': Celebrating Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Month (Part 3)

Perspective of humanity’s first naked-eye view of the lunar surface at the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, 50 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this weekend, on Sunday, 20 July 1969, the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC)—later to become the Johnson Space Center (JSC)—in Houston, […]

'Distinctly Forbidding': Celebrating Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Month (Part 2)

The Home Planet creeps slowly above the lunar horizon, as viewed from Apollo 11. Only a handful of men have seen this view in more than two million years of human history. Photo Credit: NASA

When Apollo 11 and its three-man crew—Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin—rose into space 50 years ago, this […]

'Launch Commit': Celebrating Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Month (Part 1)

Illuminated by floodlights, the Saturn V for Apollo 11 stands ready on Pad 39A. Fifty years ago, this month, it delivered the first humans to the lunar surface. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in July 1969, Jan Armstrong called her friend, Lurton Scott, for help. Only a few days remained before her husband, Neil, blasted […]