'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 […]

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 […]

'Would You Believe M=1?' 50 Years Since the High-Flight of Gemini XI (Part 1)

Fifty years ago, this month, Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon’s Gemini XI mission would carry them to a peak 850 miles (1,370 km), which remains the highest altitude of any Earth-orbital mission. Only the Apollo lunar flights traveled higher on their expeditions to the Moon. Photo Credit: NASA

Not all astronauts get on […]

'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 […]

'More Routine, Less Newsworthy': 50 Years Since Gemini IX Lost Its Agena (Part 1)

Had history been kinder, this might have been the view from Gemini IX’s windows, 50 years ago, this week. However, the failure of the Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) to reach orbit on 17 May 1966 led to a two-week delay to the mission of Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: NASA, via […]

'Tumbling End Over End': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission of Gemini VIII (Part 2)

Gemini VIII’s nose edges into the docking collar of the Agena target. Although this mission achieved a successful rendezvous and docking, it fell victim to violent oscillations, due to a stuck-on thruster, which almost cost Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott their lives. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, NASA astronauts Neil […]

'Really a Smoothie': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission of Gemini VIII (Part 1)

Gemini VIII (foreground) enters into the final stages of rendezvous with the Agena target vehicle. Photo Credit: NASA

At the dawn of 1966, America’s drive to land a man on the Moon had accelerated into high gear. Five Gemini crews had shown that astronauts could survive in space for long enough to complete […]