Space ProgramsNASA, Soviet and Russian space programs and the International Space Station
Part I: Operational Considerations The current controversy over the direction of our national space program has many dimensions but most of the discourse has focused on the means (government vs. commercial launch vehicles) not the ends (destinations and activities). Near-Earth objects (NEO, i.e., asteroids) became the next destination for human exploration as an alternative to [...]
August 31, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Here’s some more creative space photography from Ron Garan, who’s currently on board the International Space Station. Garan and several other astronauts have teamed up for the Fragile Oasis project, to share the perspective of Earth that they see from orbit. This time-lapse sequence is apparently a sneak peek at a longer version. The Peter [...]
August 30, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The four orbiters are already taken, but thousands more shuttle-related items are still available—at no cost.
August 29, 2011 | By Mark Betancourt
Got 3-D glasses? Then watch this. According to the European Space Agency, it’s the first live 3-D video ever streamed from space. NASA astronaut Ron Garan is both star and director, and he’s using ESA’s new Erasmus Recording Binocular (ERB-2) camera inside the European Columbus module. ESA plans to start up a 3-D channel on [...]
August 24, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Three legendary astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan—were in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday, meeting with American service men and women as well as young Afghan Air Force trainees. From the NATO press release: “This is the best day of my life!” said Lt. Fatama Abteen, one of a small handful of female Afghan Air Force [...]
August 17, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Yuri Gagarin, incredibly, didn’t carry a camera on the world’s first spaceflight. Neither did Alan Shepard nor Gus Grissom, whose 15-minute suborbital shots followed Gagarin’s April 1961 launch by three weeks and three months, respectively. The American astronauts were photographed during their missions, but only by automated cameras mounted in the Mercury capsule. So it [...]
August 05, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
George Abbey had more influence on human spaceflight than almost anyone in history, but few outside the field know his name.
August 2011 | By Michael Cassutt
Recently deceased John H. Marburger, former Science Advisor to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, an administrator and public servant. I knew him through his advocacy and involvement in the development of the Vision for Space [...]
July 30, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
The shuttle has retired, but the astronauts haven’t.
July 26, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The space shuttle has been well eulogized in recent weeks, and we’ve already said our own farewells in print and on the web. So no need for another Grand Tribute. Still….I can’t resist a couple of parting thoughts on this final day of the 30-year shuttle program. The safety of the shuttle can be debated, [...]
July 21, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
I learn something new about the astronaut business on every mission. During their spacewalk last week, space station residents Mike Fossum and Ron Garan did some whistling while they were inside the Quest airlock in their spacesuits, waiting for the pressure to drop before heading outside. I’ve queued this video up to the whistling sequence, [...]
July 20, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Today is the 42nd anniversary of man’s landing on the Moon. The first step on the Moon – the step that “divided history” to use the words of the time – and the planting of the American flag there seems like a lifetime ago. As a matter of fact, it was. Tomorrow, the Space Shuttle [...]
July 19, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
“How does it feel to be part of history?” some reporter asked the STS-135 astronauts during an onboard press conference this afternoon. Well, some days probably feel more historic than others. Yesterday, for example, space station astronaut Ron Garan was on a spacewalk (above), wrestling a refrigerator-size piece of hardware into the shuttle cargo bay [...]
July 13, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
A few observations about the STS-135 shuttle astronauts, the last people to fly the 30-year-old spaceplane into orbit. By accident or design, the crew comes from a mixed military background, with one each from the Navy (commander Chris Ferguson), Marines (pilot Doug Hurley), and Air Force (mission specialist Rex Walheim). The other MS, Sandy Magnus, [...]
July 09, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The space shuttle’s final liftoff. Still hard to write those words.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
Astronauts show a lighter side in their unofficial crew posters.
July 08, 2011 | By Rebecca Maksel
Highlights from America's longest-lived space program.
July 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
One thing that’s sure to rise at Cape Canaveral over the next 24 hours—beside space shuttle Atlantis, which is due to lift off on Friday morning if the weather cooperates—is the price of a ticket to view the launch. Up to a million pairs of eyes are predicted to be on hand for the shuttle’s [...]
July 07, 2011 | By Roger Mola
In a new autobiography, an Apollo 15 pilot tells what it was like to fly solo.
July 2011 | By Al Worden With Francis French
After four years of spiraling out from Earth, the Dawn spacecraft closes in on its first target.
July 2011 | By Tom Jones