Ready for Space Station Building: The First 50 Years of Spacewalking (Part 5)

Story Musgrave works at the end of Endeavour’s mechanical arm during activities to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in December 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost a quarter-century ago, in April 1991, the effort to build today’s International Space Station (ISS) got underway with a pair of spacewalks—one unplanned—outside the shuttle Atlantis. During […]

'I Wouldn’t Call it Fear': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 2)

The closest the shuttle ever came to a launch at the time of abort was T-1.9 seconds, on 18 August 1994. So close was the shuttle to launch, the on-board General Purpose Computers had already moded to their 102 ascent software configuration at the time of the abort. Photo Credit: NASA

In the […]

'Quiet as a Crypt': The Shuttle Launch Pad Aborts (Part 1)

Close-up view of Discovery’s three main engines—still exhibiting evidence of scorching from their momentary ignition on 26 June 1984—in the wake of the shuttle program’s first RSLS abort. Photo Credit: NASA

Throughout its 30-year career—consciously or unconsciously—the space shuttle was acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous piloted space vehicles ever brought […]

A Controversial Mission: 20 Years Since STS-58 (Part 1)

Columbia begins her 14-day mission on 18 October 1993. Photo Credit: NASA

“John, we’re going to fly you one of these days,” Launch Director Bob Sieck called over the communications loop on 15 October 1993. “Just hang in there.”

“Nice try,” replied STS-58 Commander John Blaha, as he and his six crewmates prepared […]

The Shuttle Flight That Did it All: Twenty Years Since STS-51 (Part 2)

Jim Newman (left) and Carl Walz at work in Discovery’s payload bay during STS-51. Their EVA involved several key tool tests, ahead of the ambitious Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. Photo Credit: NASA

In the entirety of its 30-year operational career, none of the voyages of the space shuttle could be truly described […]

The Shuttle Flight That Did it All: Twenty Years Since STS-51 (Part 1)

Thanks to the camera aboard the ASTRO-SPAS payload, this remarkable view of Discovery drifting against the blue and white backdrop of Earth was acquired. Photo Credit: NASA

“T-30 seconds … “

The words of the launch commentator at the Kennedy Space Center on the morning of 12 August 1993 were calm and measured, […]