Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Heritage

  • Russia celebrates 55 years of human spaceflight, envisions ambitious future space missions

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 12th, 2016

    Russia celebrated its annual Cosmonautics Day on Tuesday, April 12. The event took on special significance this year as it marked the 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic trip into "silent sea". The celebrations provided Russian officials with a venue to lay out Russia's future long-term space exploration plans directed toward taking the lead in human space exploration efforts.

  • Jack Crenshaw: the space pioneer you never heard of

    Collin SkocikMarch 27th, 2016

    The Apollo missions had two objectives laid down by President John F. Kennedy: to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth. A critical part of the second objective, returning safely to the Earth, was a trajectory that would bring the spacecraft back from the Moon and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: NASA’s first emergency in space – The story of Gemini 8

    Michael ColeMarch 16th, 2016

    Fifty years ago today was an exciting and busy day at Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, it would turn into a type of excitement that NASA and the entire Gemini space program would have preferred to avoid.

  • The man behind the name: S.S. Rick Husband

    Jason RhianMarch 11th, 2016

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — When former NASA astronaut Dan Tani announced on March 8 that the OA-6 Enhanced Cygnus spacecraft would be named the S.S. Rick Husband, in honor of Rick Husband, the commander of the ill-fated final flight of Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-107, many of those present smiled and nodded their heads in approval.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The odyssey of Friendship 7

    Collin SkocikFebruary 20th, 2016

    On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn became the third American to go into space, and the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, aboard the tiny Mercury capsule Friendship 7. The flight served as one of the first steps in the nation's space exploration journey.

  • Apollo 14’s Edgar Mitchell passes away at age 85

    Eric ShearFebruary 6th, 2016

    Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell passed away on Feb. 4, 2016, peacefully at a hospice located in Lake Worth, Florida. He was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, as the lunar module pilot of Apollo 14. His time in space totaled nine days and one minute, including 9 hours and 23 minutes on two moonwalks.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Explorer 1 and the birth of the U.S. Space Program

    Jason RhianJanuary 31st, 2016

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Today, the world takes satellite launches for granted. With two (or more) taking place during any given month. Fifty-eight years ago on this date in space flight history, however, there had only been two satellites sent into orbit – and they were both from the Soviet Union. Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, and Sputnik 2 on Nov. 3, 1957. The U.S. was under pressure to match...

  • Space Coast community reflects on fallen astronauts

    Sean CostelloJanuary 30th, 2016

    For the third time this week, residents and visitors to Florida’s Brevard County gathered to pay their respects to the fallen heroes of the U.S. Space Program, astronauts who lost their lives while performing mission-related duties. Beginning with a chorus from the children of the Sculptor Charter School Choir, the service got underway with about 100 residents, visitors, and dignitaries present.

  • Apollo One Crew remembered nearly a half-century after accident

    Sean CostelloJanuary 28th, 2016

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jan. 27, 2016 — Family and friends of the Apollo One crew gathered for an evening memorial service and celebration of life, hosted by the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: Remembering Challenger

    Collin SkocikJanuary 28th, 2016

    On Jan. 28, 1986, a “routine” shuttle launch turned into a monumental tragedy that forever altered the course of the Space Shuttle Program, and from which NASA – and the nation – never fully recovered.

  • Opinion: Ad astra per aspera – Do I have a role in this shared journey to the stars? Do you?

    Sean CostelloJanuary 27th, 2016

    Lieutenant Colonel (USAF) Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Commander of the ill-fated Apollo 1, once wrote, "If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life."

  • STS-51L lessons and loss 30 years later

    David DarlingJanuary 25th, 2016

    On Jan. 28, 1986, the 25th Space Shuttle mission (STS-51L) ended in tragedy just 73 seconds after lifting off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Challenger was lost, along with its seven-member crew. The accident marked one of the darkest times in NASA's history.

  • Inside Opportunity: Twelve years and counting…

    James RiceJanuary 25th, 2016

    Twelve years ago today on Jan. 25, 2004, was the day that MER-B, Opportunity, was scheduled to land on the Red Planet. Before the many milestones and discoveries that the robotic geologist would make could occur, it had to survive seven minutes of atmospheric entry.

  • On 30th anniversary of Challenger disaster, crews ‘Forever Remembered’

    Jason RhianJanuary 13th, 2016

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — One could almost walk past it, after all, the "Forever Remembered" memorial is located on the side of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's $100 million Atlantis exhibit. However, as the date of the 30th anniversary of the loss of the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger's final mission, STS-51L approaches, it is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of the...

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: SPARTAN flies high with STS-72

    Collin SkocikJanuary 11th, 2016

    On Jan. 11, 1996, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off from NASA's Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on STS-72 – a mission, among other things, that was sent aloft to retrieve a Japanese satellite and return it to Earth.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Spirit’s ordeals and triumphs begin

    Jason RhianJanuary 3rd, 2016

    On this date in space flight history, one of NASA's robotic pathfinders, the Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, touched down on the surface of the Red Planet at Gusev Crater. The actual landing took place at 23:35 EST (04:35 GMT Jan. 4) on Jan. 3, 2004. It touched down some three weeks prior to its sister, Opportunity; it was the start of a mission that would last some six years and redefine the word...

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Huygens lands on Titan a decade ago

    Joe LatrellDecember 9th, 2015

    Ten years ago the clouds of an alien world were pierced by a small space probe hurled from the planet Earth. On Jan. 14, 2005, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully deployed the Huygens probe to the cloud-covered Saturnian moon Titan.

  • Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Pete’s ‘big step’

    Jason RhianNovember 19th, 2015

    When it comes to space exploration, one tends to focus on the "firsts". Sometimes, the fact that there were six landings on the surface of the Moon is often forgotten. The differences between each mission were profound. In terms of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, some of the perceived stiffness between the crew members was obviously not present. In many ways, the most publicly "fun" landing took plac...

  • Our Spaceflight Heritage: The shocking launch of Apollo 12

    Collin SkocikNovember 14th, 2015

    On Nov. 14, 1969, at 11:22 a.m. EST (15:22 GMT), at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the second manned Moon landing mission launched. The gigantic, 363-foot-tall Saturn V rocket boosted a tiny, three-man capsule carrying Commander Pete Conrad, Command Module Pilot Dick Gordon, and Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean to the Moon.

  • Astronaut Scholarship Foundation commemorates Hubble’s first 25 years

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 9th, 2015

    COCOA BEACH, Fla. — On Friday, Nov. 6, the ASF invited guests to experience a night at Eastern Florida State College with astronauts and other personnel who were involved with the release, repair, and utilization of the Hubble Space Telescope over the past 25 years.