space shuttle

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The Challenger Disaster: The Day in Pictures

Looking back on the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle's explosion

(Newser) - Thirty years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff, killing all seven people onboard—including high-school teacher Christa McAuliffe. The 25th flight for NASA's space shuttle program was to have studied Halley's Comet and deployed two satellites, Discovery News reports; McAuliffe was to have taught science lessons... More »

A Poem Helped Reagan Explain Challenger Disaster

Challenger exploded 30 years ago Thursday

(Newser) - Thursday is the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, and there's plenty of interesting coverage of the tragedy that killed all seven aboard, including teacher Christa McAuliffe. Some highlights:
  • The Washington Post looks back on how Ronald Reagan scrapped plans to deliver his State of
... More »

'Big Bird' Almost Went Up in Challenger Shuttle

'It made my scalp crawl to think I was supposed to be on that'

(Newser) - Big Bird was almost a passenger on the doomed Challenger space shuttle in 1986. Caroll Spinney, who has played the Sesame Street character for 46 years, has a new documentary—I Am Big Bird—and he discussed the dark tidbit while discussing the film with Today . NASA thought that if... More »

For Sale: Space Shuttle Launch Pad, Slightly Used

NASA selling off pieces of Kennedy Space Center

(Newser) - If you've been looking for a place to park your spaceship, then NASA has got a deal for you. With the space shuttle program on ice, Uncle Sam is hoping to sell or lease its Kennedy Space Center facilities, including its 15,000-foot landing strip, its launchpad, its rocket... More »

Endeavour Hits Political Turbulence on Final Journey

Los Angeles science center makes amends for 400 trees felled

(Newser) - Forget technical difficulties: It's politics that have posed a problem in Endeavour's last journey. The space shuttle has been soaring across the US in celebration of its 20 years and 122,883,151 miles. But the last 12 miles of its journey—through south Los Angeles on a... More »

NASA: We'll Launch Astronauts in 5 Years

Three commercial companies will build new crafts

(Newser) - NASA is gearing up to again launch humans into space ... within five years. The agency retired its fleet of shuttles last summer, and this morning it announced a deal worth about $1 billion with three American companies to design and construct the next generation of rocket ships to take off... More »

Newt's Lunar Ideas Not Lunacy

We should listen to Gingrich's space ideas: Jeffrey Goldberg

(Newser) - Jeffrey Goldberg is not what one might call a Newt Gingrich fan, but as he sat on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport gazing at the space shuttle Discovery as it prepared for its final flight, he realized something: "On the matter of space exploration … Newt Gingrich is... More »

Atlantis Makes Final Landing

30-year shuttle program ends smoothly

(Newser) - The very last space shuttle landing was as smooth as they come. NASA's 30-year space shuttle program came to end just before sunrise as Atlantis landed safely in Florida, the AP reports. The shuttle, which performed perfectly during its final mission to resupply the International Space Station, is home... More »

Post-Shuttle Era NASA: Now What?

Agency lacks clear vision for future of space exploration

(Newser) - Atlantis' wheels will hit Earth early Thursday, closing out NASA's epic 30-year space shuttle program for good. But when the dust clears, the space agency has no clear replacement program on the horizon to lead America's return to space, notes the LA Times . Rather, the trailblazing agency is... More »

Atlantis Docks a Final Time

Last shuttle mission cruising along smoothly

(Newser) - Atlantis has docked with the International Space Station, yet another final milestone as NASA winds down its storied shuttle program with what the AP is perhaps excessively referring to as "a flight full of passion." "Atlantis arriving," called space station astronaut Ronald Garan Jr. as the... More »

Strangest Passengers in NASA History

From frogs to fish, the space shuttle has carried plenty of crazy critters

(Newser) - You can probably name the first American sent into space (Alan Shepard), but the first monkey, frog, and jellyfish made the trip with far less fanfare. Space Shuttle Atlantis took off yesterday with a few odd passengers: an iPhone and a mutant strain of salmonella. But they're not the... More »

Up to 1M Gather for Final Shuttle Launch

A 50-mile traffic jam is expected

(Newser) - Up to 1 million people are converging on Cape Canaveral to see the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, surprising many with such a level of interest in the 30-year-old space program. A 50-mile traffic jam from the Kennedy Space Center to Orlando is expected today, despite the 70% chance... More »

After Last Shuttle Lifts Off, Russia Owns Space

Moscow will have a monopoly on flights to ISS for years

(Newser) - After the last US space shuttle flight blasts off tomorrow, Russia will officially have a monopoly on outer space. The 40-year-old Soyuz capsule will be the only vessel capable of reaching the International Space Station, and Russia can charge dearly for rides, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We are... More »

Meet NASA's Last Shuttle Crew

Four astronauts close out program with Atlantis' final flight

(Newser) - They are the envy of America's space program: Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Rex Walheim, and Sandra Magnus will zip into space on Friday aboard NASA's 135th and final shuttle mission. The smallest crew since 1983 amounts to an afterthought: They were initially groomed as a rescue mission in... More »

Endeavour Returns to Earth a Final Time

After 299 days in space, space shuttle grounded for good

(Newser) - After 25 missions, 299 days in space, 4,671 orbits around the Earth, and more than 122 million miles, the space shuttle Endeavour has landed for good. It touched down at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 2:34am this morning after its final 16-day mission, Space.com... More »

Endeavour Wraps Final Mission

Mark Kelly and crew will undock tonight, return home

(Newser) - It's all over for Endeavour but the undocking: The shuttle's crew floated out the door this morning and closed the hatch behind them, having completed Endeavour's final mission. "We're looking forward to getting home," said commander Mark Kelly, "and we're going to... More »

Pope Calls Shuttle Crew, Keeps Giffords in Mind

'I hope her health continues to improve'

(Newser) - Pope Benedict made a very long distance call this morning to the combined crews of shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station, notes SpaceFlight Now . And Gabby Giffords was on his mind. "I know that Mark Kelly's wife was a victim of a serious attack and I hope... More »

NASA Pushes Back Endeavour Again

Shuttle won't launch before May 16

(Newser) - Gabrielle Giffords is getting some extra recovery time before her husband's final space flight: NASA yesterday announced that the shuttle Endeavour would launch no sooner than May 16, reports Space.com. NASA managers made the call after meeting to take stock of repairs to a broken power unit, which... More »

NASA Scraps Endeavour Launch Tomorrow

Unsure when next opportunity will come

(Newser) - NASA has scrapped tomorrow's tentative launch of space shuttle Endeavour, reports Space.com, saying that it needs more time to fix the broken auxiliary power unit that delayed the launch on Friday. "We're looking more toward the end of the week, maybe next weekend," says a... More »

NASA Postpones Shuttle Launch Over Technical Glitch

It's off for at least 48 hours

(Newser) - No Endeavour launch today—or probably this weekend either. NASA postponed the high-profile launch to investigate trouble with heaters in the shuttle's power system, reports MSNBC . No word yet on what that means for the day's most awaited spectator, Gabby Giffords. Husband Mark Kelly and crew were less... More »

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