To Live With Russians: Remembering America’s Long Mission to Mir, 25 Years On (Part 2)

U.S. astronaut Norm Thagard sleeps aboard Mir, during his lengthy voyage. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this month, the first U.S. astronaut in history was launched aboard a non-U.S. spacecraft, atop a non-U.S. rocket, from a non-U.S. nation, with a crew entirely composed of non-U.S. comrades. Four-time Space Shuttle flyer Dr. Norm Thagard had spent […]

To Live Like Russians: Remembering America’s Long Mission to Mir, 25 Years On (Part 1)

Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar participate in Soyuz-TM training in October 1994. Photo Credit: NASA

In March 2020, it seems inconceivable to think of U.S. astronauts being totally unaccustomed to long-duration spaceflight. Over the past quarter-century, no fewer than 67 Americans—from civilian medical doctors to biochemists and engineers to physicists, and from Army and […]

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 […]

Ride, Sally Ride: 35 Years Since America's First Woman in Space

Sally Ride on Challenger’s flight deck during STS-7. Her mission opened the door for U.S. women to venture into orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty-five years ago, this week, America launched its first woman into space. Physicist Dr. Sally Ride rocketed into orbit aboard shuttle Challenger—accompanied by fellow STS-7 astronauts Bob Crippen, Rick Hauck, […]

'In A Heartbeat': 25 Years Since STS-42 Inaugurated International Space Year (Part 2)

Discovery spears for orbit on 22 January 1992, after an hour-long delay, caused by a fuel cell anomaly. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, this month, a space mission rooted in disappointment and tragedy finally took flight. Aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, astronauts from the United States, Germany, and Canada embarked […]

'Traumatic Decisions': 25 Years Since STS-42 Inaugurated International Space Year (Part 1)

The tunnel adaptor for the IML-1 Spacelab module is prepared for installation in the Orbiter Processing Facility. STS-42 was the first human launch of International Space Year 1992. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years have now passed since the International Space Year (ISY) in 1992, during which 29 national space agencies and 10 international […]

A Space Station Stay Before Retirement: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 1)

John Blaha gazes through Atlantis’ overhead flight deck windows, shortly after docking with Mir in September 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

Of all the NASA astronauts who have flown long-duration space missions—longer than a month or so—very few have moved from the commander’s or pilot’s seat of a space shuttle and rotated into a […]

'Unless They Throw Me Out': 30 Years Since the Shuttle's Mission for Britain and Indonesia (Part 1)

The “core” NASA crew of the former Mission 61H, pictured during one of their post-Challenger extended simulations. From left to right are Mike Coats, John Blaha, Anna Fisher, Bob Springer, and (standing) Jim Buchli. Photo Credit: NASA/Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

A quarter-century ago, Britain’s first astronaut—civilian chemist Helen Sharman—roared into orbit aboard a Soviet Soyuz […]

Sprint to the Finish: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 2)

By the time Galileo eventually left Earth in October 1989, it was boosted toward Jupiter by a less powerful Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this month—had the hands of fate showed greater kindness—two shuttles might have rocketed into orbit within days of each other to deliver a pair […]

Willing to Compromise: 30 Years Since the 'Death Star' Missions (Part 1)

The Centaur-G Prime, mounted in its Centaur Integrated Support Structure (CISS), is readied for launch in the Shuttle Payload Integration Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: NASA

When Challenger was lost in the skies of Cape Canaveral on 28 January 1986, it brought to an end the space shuttle’s “age of […]