'Quite a Feeling of Being Alone': 25 Years Since Endeavour's Vanilla-to-Chocolate STS-54 Mission

The base of the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), carrying the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, departs Endeavour on 13 January 1993. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty-five years ago, this week, the crew of STS-54 settled into orbit for one of the shortest shuttle missions of the decade, tasked with deploying the fifth […]

'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 piloted […]

'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 and […]

'An Amazing and Wonderful Experience': 20 Years Since STS-77’s Record-Setting Rendezvous Mission (Part 2)

STS-77’s primary cargoes dominate this view of Endeavour’s payload bay in orbit. In the foreground is the Spacehab-4 module, with SPARTAN-207 visible in the background. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago this week, six men orbited Earth aboard Shuttle Endeavour on one of the most complex research flights ever conducted in […]

'Wide-Eyed Dreamers': 20 Years Since STS-77's Record-Setting Rendezvous Mission (Part 1)

The Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) extends from the SPARTAN-207 free-flying satellite, after deployment. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Early on 20 May 1996, NASA astronaut Mario Runco, Jr., grappled SPARTAN-207—a small, free-flying spacecraft, equipped with a very unique experiment—and lifted it from Shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay with the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) […]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 2)

Fully deployed, the Inflatable Antenna Experiment (IAE) sprouts from the SPARTAN-207 satellite. Photo Credit: NASA

Eighteen years ago this week, six men orbited Earth aboard Shuttle Endeavour on one of the most complex research flights ever conducted in the program’s 30-year history. With such a large number of payloads aboard, it was imperative for […]

Mission for Science and Technology: 18 Years Since STS-77 (Part 1)

At the cusp of daybreak on 19 May 1996, Endeavour thunders into orbit to begin the multi-faceted STS-77 mission. Photo Credit: NASA

Early on 20 May 1996, astronaut Mario Runco Jr. grappled SPARTAN-207—a small, free-flying spacecraft, equipped with a very unique payload—and unberthed it from Endeavour’s payload bay with the shuttle’s Canadian-built Remote Manipulator […]

'Vanilla to Chocolate': The Changing Mission of STS-54

The American eagle delivers a fifth star, representing the fifth operational Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), in the STS-54 crew patch. Image Credit: NASA

When the STS-54 shuttle crew released their official crew patch in the summer of 1992, they paid tribute to two important payloads aboard their mission. The first was NASA’s […]