Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Heritage

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 50 years since Gemini XII

    Collin SkocikNovember 11th, 2016

    On Nov. 11, 1966 – 50 years ago – the final flight of NASA’s historic Project Gemini lifted off from Launch Complex 19 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Commander Jim Lovell and pilot Buzz Aldrin spent three days pushing the program farther than it had ever been before and conducted the first completely successful extravehicular activity.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: MOL program honored on 50th anniversary

    Jason RhianNovember 4th, 2016

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum honored the 50th anniversary of the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program at 2 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2016. The event took place at the Gemini capsule's display in the museum’s Schriever Room. MOL marked an ambitious period in human space flight, a time before satellites were the preferred method of orbital reconnaissance...

  • Inside Opportunity: South!

    James RiceOctober 4th, 2016

    The Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" is continuing its epic journey across Mars. It has discovered some interesting features along the way – as the science team honors the robotic geologist's predecessors.

  • National Aviation Hall of Fame inducts class of 2016

    Heather SmithOctober 3rd, 2016

    The National Aviation Hall of Fame welcomed two new members into its ranks on Oct. 1, 2016. The event was a star-studded affair attended that SFI was fortunate enough to attend.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: NASA turns 58

    Collin SkocikOctober 1st, 2016

    In 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a new civilian agency. NASA was a reorganization of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), formed on March 3, 1915, in response to European superiority in aircraft technology. NACA officially turned its operations over to NASA Oct. 1, 1958, and the Space...

  • ASF marks 35-year anniversary since flights of STS-1 & STS-2

    Jason RhianSeptember 18th, 2016

    HOUSTON, Texas — It has been three-and-a-half decades since the Space Shuttle Columbia carried out her first and second flights – heralding the start of the Shuttle era. The ASF held a three-day event, starting on Thursday, Sept. 15, to mark the occasion.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The second flight of Rotary Rocket’s Roton ATV

    Jim SharkeySeptember 17th, 2016

    MOJAVE, Calif. — On Sept. 16, 1999, the Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) made its second successful test flight. The conical rotorcraft rose to a planned altitude of 20 ft (6.1 m) above the runway of Mojave Air and Space Port, propelled by hydrogen peroxide tip rockets, and hovered for two-and-a-half minutes.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: The age of automated sentinels begins

    Alexis CreedySeptember 7th, 2016

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With NASA less than a day away from seeing their OSIRIS-REx spacecraft begin its voyage to asteroid Bennu, a brief review of some of the U.S. space agency's many robotic accomplishments is in order.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Project Orion, a nuclear bomb and rocket – all in one

    Larry KlaesAugust 31st, 2016

    Project Orion was a proposal for a spacecraft to be directly propelled by a series of explosions from nuclear bombs ejected and detonated behind the vessel – i.e., nuclear pulse propulsion.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The day the Sun almost caused World War III

    Larry KlaesAugust 14th, 2016

    In the famous Drake Equation, a mathematical formula designed to determine the number of technological civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, the factor L denotes the lifetime that a technological civilization will be sending signals into space – until its own self-destruction.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: Leaping further – the flight of Apollo 15

    Collin SkocikAugust 2nd, 2016

    On July 26, 1971, NASA launched one of the most ambitious and spectacular space missions in history – Apollo 15. At 9:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 GMT), the gigantic Saturn V rocket lifted off from pad A at Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It carried Commander Dave Scott, Command Module Pilot Al Worden, and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin on their flight into history – and the Moon.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: Apollo 11 then and now

    Collin SkocikJuly 24th, 2016

    Forty-seven years ago, the United States—and more importantly, the human race—did something extraordinary: We launched Apollo 11 and landed, on July 20, 1969, two men on the surface of the Moon. It was the culmination of a decade of hard work, dedication, ever-more-ambitious space missions, the rapid development of new technologies, and costly failure.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: Invasion of the Vikings

    Eric ShearJuly 20th, 2016

    Forty years ago, NASA’s Viking landers roared to a hover over the Martian surface and touched down. They were the culmination of the ambitious Mars Voyager (no relation to NASA's Voyager probes) program that had begun near the end of the Apollo era and filed down to a more manageable size due to budget cuts. Despite the reduced scope, the Viking program was a tremendous success.

  • Apollo legends mingle at San Diego museum gala

    Matthew KuhnsJune 26th, 2016

    It was a star-studded gala Thursday evening when more than 450 guests, four Apollo astronauts, and three Apollo flight controllers and an engineer attended an event at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. The reception was held in the museum where guests could talk to the astronauts next to the Apollo 9 capsule, while the dinner was held under the historic aircraft on display in the Pavilion of Fl...

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: Go long – the flight of STS-78

    Collin SkocikJune 20th, 2016

    On June 20, 1996, at 10:49 a.m. EDT (14:49 GMT), Space Shuttle Columbia lifted off from Pad B at Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It was the start of a 17-day mission of scientific experimentation in the Spacelab module that was stowed in Columbia's Payload Bay. STS-78 would enter into history as the second-longest shuttle mission behind STS-80.