'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 […]

'Dramatic, Down-the-Throat View': 20 Years Since STS-68 (Part 2)

The vast plume of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, in Kamchatka, which erupted shortly after STS-68 reached orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, on 30 September 1994, the crew of Shuttle Endeavour rocketed into orbit—six weeks later than originally planned—on an 11-day mission to support the second Space Radar Laboratory (SRL-2). As described in yesterday’s […]

'Engines in Post-Shutdown Standby': 20 Years Since STS-68 (Part 1)

For the second time in less than six months, the Space Radar Laboratory (SRL) rode Endeavour into orbit in September-October 1994. However, the launch of STS-68 was delayed extensively, following the shuttle program’s last Redundant Set Launch Sequencer (RSLS) abort. Photo Credit: NASA

One day in the summer of 1993, astronaut Tom Jones […]

'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 […]