First on the Moon: Looking Back on the Apollo 11 Decision, 50 Years On

Fifty years ago, this month, after detailed simulations and planning, NASA made a decision that Neil Armstrong (left) would become the first human to set foot on the Moon. His Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin (right) would follow shortly afterwards. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades ago, in the first half of 1969, the United […]

'He Lost His Record': Remembering Apollo 8, 50 Years On (Part 2)

View of Earth from Apollo 8, showing the day-night terminator crossing from Brazil to the north-eastern United States. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades have now passed since the largest and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status—the gigantic Saturn V—set off from Earth, bound for another world, with a human crew aboard. At […]

'Why Complicate It?' Remembering Apollo 8, 50 Years On (Part 1)

For some time, the exact content of Apollo 8 (whether circumlunar or lunar-orbital) remained undecided. The crew patch, originally sketched by Jim Lovell onto his kneeboard during a cross-country T-38 flight with Frank Borman, illustrates the ambiguity and enormity of their mission. Image Credit: NASA

Since July 1969, astronaut Mike Collins has achieved worldwide […]

Remembering John Young, an 'Astronaut's Astronaut', Gone at Age 87

Apollo 16 Commander John Young gazes across the rugged terrain during humanity’s fifth piloted lunar landing. Photo Credit: NASA

John Young, one of only 12 humans to have walked the dusty surface of the Moon, one of only three of mankind’s sons to have traveled twice to lunar distance, the only astronaut to […]

'All Sorts of Planning Problems': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 2)

Apollo 8 in December 1968 marked the first occasion on which humans had departed Earth’s gravitational “well,” entered cislunar space, and traveled to the Moon. The flight design originated from the “E-mission” of Apollo 3. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week—just three days before Christmas 1966—NASA announced the names of a […]

'The Next Mission in the Schedule': 50 Years Since Apollo Took Steps to the Moon (Part 1)

Targeting a launch as early as August 1967, the Apollo 2 crew of (from left) Rusty Schweickart, Dave Scott, and Jim McDivitt would have performed the inaugural test of the combined command, service, and lunar modules in low-Earth orbit. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Nearly five decades have passed since astronauts Virgil […]

'Something Fierce': 50 Years Since the Double-Rendezvous, Double-Spacewalk Mission of Gemini X (Part 2)

The Gemini X crew of Command Pilot John Young and Pilot Mike Collins are recovered from their capsule in the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S.S. Guadalcanal on 21 July 1966. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Half a century has now passed since Gemini X astronauts John Young and Mike Collins paved the […]

'Otherwise Engaged': 50 Years Since the Double-Rendezvous, Double-Spacewalk Mission of Gemini X (Part 1)

Six hours after launching from Cape Kennedy on 18 July 1966, Gemini X Command Pilot John Young and Pilot Mike Collins rendezvoused and docked with Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV)-5005. It was the first of a record-setting two rendezvous to be performed during their three-day mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty years […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 1—'One Small Step'

One of the relatively few images of Neil Armstrong at work on the lunar surface, close to Eagle. Photo Credit: NASA

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, Texas, was filled with tension and expectant […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 10—'The Long and the Short'

Jim Voss is pictured at the end of Discovery’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm, during the longest EVA ever undertaken, in March 2001. Photo Credit: NASA

Over the course of five decades, no fewer than 211 individuals from 10 sovereign nations—Russia, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, China, and […]