Remembering Shuttle Discovery's Miracle Mission, 35 Years On (Part 1)

Thirty-five years ago, this week, Discovery flew Mission 51C, the shuttle’s first totally classified mission. Photo Credit: NASA

“Miracle” is a term often applied to many aspects of the space program: from Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight aboard Vostok 1 to the historic first manned lunar landing and from the triumph of Apollo 13 to […]

The Real Mission Impossible: Remembering STS-61C's Quest for Space

“Mission Impossible” finally launches as Columbia roars into the darkened Florida skies on 12 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA

The opening weeks of each year are always tinged with sadness for America’s space program, as the nation observes a triplet of cruel anniversaries: the 1967 loss of Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed […]

Power and Speed: Remembering Discovery's Date With Hubble, 20 Years On (Part 1)

Orbital sunrise causes the solar arrays of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to glisten in this spectacular view from STS-103. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, as the world neared the dawn of a new millennium, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) circled the globe in urgent need of servicing and repair. By December 1999, […]

Gentlemen's Hours: Remembering Atlantis' STS-66 Mission, 25 Years On (Part 1)

Twenty-five years ago, Atlantis returned to flight with the ATLAS-3 mission. It was her final “standalone” mission before the shuttle-Mir and International Space Station (ISS) eras. Photo Credit: NASA

A quarter-century ago, today, the International Space Station (ISS) era began in earnest with the return-to-flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis, following a lengthy period of […]

'You Didn't Prepare Me': Remembering America’s Galileo Mission to Jupiter, 30 Years On (Part 2)

Aerial view of Atlantis’ rise to orbit on 18 October 1989, 30 years ago this week. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, this week, shuttle mission STS-34 and the crew of Atlantis roared aloft from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida to deliver NASA’s Galileo spacecraft onto the first leg […]

'Nothing Absurd': Remembering America's Galileo Mission to Jupiter, 30 Years On (Part 1)

Mounted atop its Boeing-built Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), Galileo parts company from Space Shuttle Atlantis on the evening of 18 October 1989. Photo Credit: NASA

When the Galileo spacecraft drifted out of Space Shuttle Atlantis’ payload bay on the evening of 18 October 1989—30 years ago this week—to begin the first leg of its […]

Mission to Earth's Twisted Twin: Remembering the Magellan Voyage to Venus, 25 Years On

The volcano Maat Mons, as viewed by Magellan’s powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The ambitious mission to radar-map Venus came to an end 25 years ago, this month. Image Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this month, a tiny spacecraft ended a remarkable mission which successfully mapped over 90 percent of the surface of Venus […]

'Down-the-Throat Geology': Remembering the Fall and Rise of STS-68, 25 Years On (Part 2)

Spectacular “down-the-throat” perspective of the Klyuchevskaya Sopka eruption in Kamchatka, which occurred during the STS-68 mission, 25 years ago. Photo Credit: NASA 

Twenty-five years ago, tonight, six astronauts spent their last night on Earth ahead of a scheduled liftoff early the following morning on a complex mission to radar-map the Home Planet in unprecedented detail. The […]

'Engines in Post-Shutdown Standby': Remembering the Fall and Rise of STS-68, 25 Years On (Part 1)

The successful launch of STS-68, 25 years ago this week, came six weeks after one of the most harrowing launch aborts in Space Shuttle Program history. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this summer, America’s Space Shuttle Program sprang from a hearts-in-throats launch abort on the cusp of liftoff to triumphantly executing four flawless […]

To Save A Space Station: The Unrealized Rescue of Skylab, 40 Years On

The engines of the Teleoperator Retrieval System (TRS), seen docked to Skylab, perform a lengthy “burn” to either deliver the old space station into a higher, more stable orbit or to prepare it for a controlled, destructive re-entry. Image Credit: NASA

Visiting space stations is, and always has been, a complex and challenging endeavor; […]