'Stronger Than Required': Remembering Skylab's End, 40 Years On

One of the final views of Skylab in orbit, as seen directly by human eyes, during the departure of the third crew in February 1974. The station, which began its slow descent back to Earth 40 years ago, this summer, was the largest single object ever launched into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty years […]

'Major Malfunction': Remembering the Sacrifice of the Challenger Seven

Flocks of terrified birds fly away in the face of Challenger’s roaring ascent from Pad 39B at 11:38 a.m. EST on 28 January 1986. Photo Credit: NASA

On this day in 1986, the sight of shuttle Challenger exploding in the skies above Cape Canaveral painted an indelible mark on the public psyche and […]

'Dying All Tensed-Up': 30 Years Since the Troubled Secret Mission of STS-27

Atlantis roars to orbit on the morning of 2 December 1988, 30 years ago today. Photo Credit: NASA

Thirty years ago, at 9:30 a.m. EST on 2 December 1988, Atlantis rocketed into crystal-blue Florida skies to begin the second shuttle mission in the wake of the Challenger tragedy. Two months earlier, her sister […]

'A Vote For Our Future': 20 Years Since Zarya Launched the International Space Station (Part 2)

The Russian-built Zarya module (lower) and U.S.-built Unity node (upper), pictured during assembly operations on STS-88 in December 1998. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, on 20 November 1998, Russia’s Zarya (“Dawn”) module—the first component of the International Space Station (ISS)—was launched from Site 81 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, atop a […]

'Follow Our Dreams': 20 Years Since Zarya Launched the International Space Station Era (Part 1)

Twenty years ago, this month, the grandest engineering endeavor in human history got underway with the dawn of the International Space Station (ISS). Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this month, a new era began. On 20 November 1998, a Russian Proton-K rocket—descendent of a family of heavylift boosters which had already launched […]

'Zero-G, And I Feel Fine': 20 Years Since John Glenn's Return to Space

STS-95 launches on 29 October 1998. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years have now passed since John Glenn—who had found fame as the first American to orbit the Earth—became the oldest human being ever to break the shackles of the Home Planet and venture into space. Aged 77 at the time of his flight […]

'Nothing But the Highest': 25 Years Since Shuttle Columbia's Third-Time-Lucky Launch to Orbit

Glorious view of the Home Planet from STS-58, with the SLS-2 Spacelab module clearly visible in Columbia’s payload bay. Photo Credit: NASA

It took three tries to get STS-58 off the ground, 25 years ago, this month.

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'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 […]

Summer of the Shuttle: Remembering the Ill-Fated Summer of '84

An ominous cloud of smoke billows away from Pad 39A in the seconds after a problematic Main Engine Start on 26 June 1984. Photo Credit: NASA

More than 30 summers ago, America’s shuttle program should have entered its prime. Touted for over a decade as capable of flying regularly and routinely, the early […]

A Sore Head: Americans in Space on Independence Day

On 4 July 1982, the crew of STS-4 became the first U.S. astronauts to spend Independence Day in space. It also marked the date of their spectacular return to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

For almost two decades, the Fourth of July—that most quintessential day of celebration in the United […]