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 […]

Remembering Shuttle Discovery's STS-29 Mission, 30 Years On

Discovery rockets into orbit on STS-29 in March 1989, three decades ago, this month. Photo Credit: NASA

Flying in space, remembered astronaut John Blaha—who made the first of his five missions, 30 years ago, this month—vanished in the flicker of an eye. On 13 March 1989, Blaha and his four crewmates launched aboard […]

'Because I'm Scared to Death': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 2)

Fred Gregory leads the STS-44 crew out of the Operations & Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 25 years ago, this week. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, this week, what should have been the third-longest space shuttle mission of its time—and the longest Department of Defense […]

'Not a Dysfunctional Family': 25 Years Since the Shortened Mission of STS-44 (Part 1)

The Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite, attached to is Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, is deployed from Atlantis’ payload bay at the beginning of the STS-44 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century has now elapsed since a space shuttle mission was forced to come home early, having already lost its original commander […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo’s Ride on STS-34 (Part 2)

Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io were key focuses for the Galileo mission. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

Almost three decades ago, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis rocketed into orbit to launch NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on a lengthy odyssey to Jupiter. As […]

The Romance of Adventure: Remembering Galileo's Ride on STS-34 (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into orbit on 18 October 1989 to deploy the Galileo spacecraft on its mission to Jupiter. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989, on the first leg of its voyage to Jupiter, the sight was a moving […]

'What a Lucky Person I Am': 25 Years Since STS-43 (Part 2)

The STS-43 consisted of (from left) David Low, Shannon Lucid, Jim Adamson, John Blaha, and Mike Baker. Theirs was the fifth-longest shuttle mission in history at the time. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century has now passed since five astronauts roared into orbit to complete the fifth-longest space shuttle mission at […]

'Putting Your Thinking Hat On': 25 Years Since STS-43 (Part 1)

 

Atlantis roars into the late morning Florida sky on 2 August 1991, 25 years ago this month. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, this month, Space Shuttle Atlantis flew a mission which harked back to the past and set in place a cornerstone to enable the exploration of the […]

'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 […]