Stop the Clock: Remembering STS-51A, OTD in 1984

OTD in 1984, STS-51A launched on a dramatic satellite rescue mission. And for CDR Rick Hauck, their success was nothing short of an (ahem) “miracle”. […]

'Roger, Go': Remembering the Shuttle's Return to Flight, 30 Years Ago

Thirty years ago, at 11:38 a.m. EDT on 29 September 1988, America returned to space with humans for the first time in the 32 months since Challenger. Photo Credit: NASA

As America prepares for another “return to flight” next year—carrying astronauts to low-Earth orbit aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon—a moment […]

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, […]

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 […]

Top Ten US EVA Missions of All Time: No. 8—'It'll Be A Miracle'

Dale Gardner holds up the famous “For Sale” sign to commemorate the successful salvage operation on Palapa-B2 and Westar-VI in November 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance Brand rocket into orbit aboard Challenger on […]

'Stop the Clock': 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 2)

Discovery thunders into orbit on 8 November 1984 to begin the first shuttle mission to deploy and retrieve two pairs of spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA

By the summer of 1984, the space shuttle had enjoyed success and disappointment in equal measure. Astronauts had successfully tested a new jet-propelled backpack, the Manned Manoeuvring Unit […]

Halcyon Days: 30 Years Since the Rescue of Westar and Palapa (Part 1)

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Early in February 1984, astronaut Joe Allen was at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, watching his former crewmate Vance […]

Mission to Unveil Earth's Twisted Sister: 25 Years Since STS-30 (Part 1)

Mounted atop Boeing’s Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Magellan departs Atlantis’ payload bay on 4 May 1989. Had Challenger not been lost, Magellan might have flown a year earlier, in April 1988, aboard Mission 81I, with a quite different booster: the Centaur-G Prime. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago this week, in May 1989, […]

Dale Gardner, MMU Spacewalker, Dies Aged 65

Joe Allen (right, with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Dale Gardner celebrate their success with a “For Sale” sign, displayed high above Westar and Earth. The triumphant Mission 51A would cement the shuttle’s credentials as infallible … but it was an infallibility which would usher in a mistaken sense […]