Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Heritage

  • 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.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: First steps – the story of Surveyor 1

    Larry KlaesMay 30th, 2016

    Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1966, an Atlas LV-3C Centaur-D rocket lifted off from what was called Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex 36A in Florida. Perched atop the launch vehicle was a robotic probe named Surveyor 1.

  • Journey’s End: ET-94 arrives at California Science Center

    Matthew KuhnsMay 21st, 2016

    MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — Under the light of a full Moon and followed by a full jazz band, astronauts, dancers, and revelers in full Mardi Gras-style apparel, ET-94 left the dock at Marina Del Rey and started its 16.5-mile (26.5 km) journey to its new home at the California Science Center. Leading the revelry was Lynda Oschin and numerous astronauts proudly wearing their blue flight jackets and m...

  • Final Journey: Last Space Shuttle External Tank arrives in California

    Matthew KuhnsMay 19th, 2016

    MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — Under low clouds, ET-94 moved into Marina Del Rey, east of Los Angeles. After moving slowly through the harbor, the barge was tied to the dock around 8 a.m. PDT on May 18. It has been a long and eventful journey from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility.

  • Students’ Moon rover replica arrives at Armstrong Air & Space Museum

    Michael ColeMay 8th, 2016

    WAPAKONETA, Ohio — A group of engineering students from Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, arrived last week at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. While lots of people their age spend time with their heads under the hoods of hot rods, hoping to become fast and furious, this group drove up to the front door of the museum, at the dizzying speed of 10 miles per hour, in an Ap...

  • US celebrates first National Astronaut Day

    Joe LatrellMay 5th, 2016

    The day was May 5, 1961. Alan Shepard, aided by Gunter Wendt and the rest of the launch pad crew, was strapped into the seat of the most daring vehicle America had constructed—the one-man Mercury space capsule. Moments later, he rocketed to the heavens becoming America's first astronaut crossing into the new frontier of space. The entire sub-orbital trip lasted just 15 minutes.

  • Students create lunar rover replica

    Collin SkocikMay 5th, 2016

    A full-size, drivable replica of the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is coming to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. The vehicle, a product of three years of work by students at Ohio Northern University's (ONU) Smull College of Engineering, will be delivered by students from the university.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Descartes and the voyage of Apollo 16

    David DarlingApril 20th, 2016

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The public often forgets that there were six successful crewed missions to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Apollo 16 was the next-to-last mission and would see crews sent to the lunar highlands for the first time ever. 

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Apollo 13 – NASA’s successful failure

    David DarlingApril 17th, 2016

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — It was the most harrowing period of the Apollo era, Apollo 13. Luckily for the crew, the team at NASA's Mission Control Center came through with flying colors and it came to its conclusion on this date in space flight history – April 17, 1970.