John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, became the oldest human to venture into space on October 29, 1998 as a crew member of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95).
John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth aboard the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. This photo was taken of Glenn exiting Friendship 7, and was collected by the Senate Committee on Aeronautical Space and Science in 1965, who oversaw the operation of NASA at the time. After becoming a Senator in 1973, Glenn was invited by NASA to return to space over three decades after his first flight. Glenn became the oldest man to travel into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on October 29, 1998.
Photo of John H. Glenn in Friendship 7, SEN 89A-F1, Records of the U.S. Senate
(Ed. Note: corrected first sentence to clarify that John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. Alan Shepard was the first American in space. Thanks Twitter user @imillis for the catch.)
Bon Voyage(r) as NASA’s Voyager 1 probe ventures into interstellar space!
A simulation of a Voyager spacecraft from “NASA’S 25th Anniversary Show, 1983” from the series: Moving Images Relating to U.S. Domestic and International Activities from the Records of the U.S. Information Agency.
More about the Voyager project from NASA’s Voyager Mission Pages
Happy Birthday NASA!
America in Space - The First Decade, 1968
From the NASA series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981
Happy 55th Birthday NASA!
On July 29, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 which “provided for research into the
problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere” and
established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Apollo 11 Flight Plan
The flight plan for Apollo 11 was a minute-by-minute time line of activities for the mission crew—Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin—and Mission Control in Houston. The flight was launched July 16, 1969. Touchdown on the moon took place, as scheduled, on July 20, 102 hours, 47 minutes, and 11 seconds after launch from Cape Kennedy. The astronauts spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the moon, and returned to Earth on July 24.
(and thanks to the Smithsonian Libraries tumblr for the illustrated inspiration!)
Apollo 11 - This Week in History
Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
Soon after their historic steps, they received a phone call from President Nixon in the Oval Office. To celebrate the occasion, we’re teaming up with the NASA History Office to tweet out the lunar call between the President and astronauts.
Photo: Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. standing on the moon next to the U.S. flag, 7/20/196.
Apollo-Soyuz: Cold War Collaboration
On July 17, 1975, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts docked together in space during the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. Cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valeri Kubasov and astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton conducted joint scientific experiments, exchanged gifts, and spoke in each other’s languages.
This mission was seen as an opportunity not only to cooperate in space but also to strengthen U.S.-Soviet cooperation in general.
President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev both called to congratulate the crews after the docking.
Model of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft depicts their linkage in outer space. The commemorative pins attached to the base were worn by the cosmonauts when they presented the model to President Ford on September 7, 1974.
Photo and caption courtesy of NASA: In perhaps the most iconic image from the flight, astronaut Deke Slayton and cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov are seen together in the Soyuz spacecraft.
On June 29, 1995, the Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir Space Station, marking the first Shuttle-Mir docking. NASA STS-71 had several other firsts: when docked together the Shuttle and Mir made the largest spacecraft ever in orbit; the first changeout of a shuttle crew in orbit; and it was the 100th U.S. human space launch conducted from the Cape.
(See also the NASA Mission Archive for STS-71, via NASA.gov)
Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut to go into space, blasted off aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger 30 years ago, on June 18, 1983, as a mission specialist for Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7).
Join us today at noon as we host special guests from NASA and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum!
A panel of space experts will discuss the American space program as it developed under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, including the Apollo missions to the Moon, the decision to develop the space shuttle, and the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz test project.
The event is free at the National Archives in Washington, D.C
Thursday, June 13, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
You can also watch this event live on our Ustream channel [www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives].
Presented in partnership with NASA, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives.
While you are at the National Archives don’t miss the special display on The Space Program and President Nixon. You can see a set of moon tongs used by Apollo astronauts and much more!
Photo courtesy of NASA: Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Lunar Module pilot of the Apollo 16 mission, is photographed collecting lunar samples at Station no. 1 during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity at the Descartes landing site. Duke is standing at the rim of Plum crater, which is 40 meters in diameter and 10 meters deep. The parked Lunar Roving Vehicle can be seen in the left background.
The Astronauts and Cosmonauts of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
The U.S. astronauts took Russian language courses; the Soviets took English courses. Both teams agreed that in space, the Americans would speak to their Soviet counterparts in Russian who in turn would speak English to the Americans.
Photo courtesy of NASA.gov: Astronauts (L-R Donald K. Slayton, Vance D. Brand and Thomas P. Stafford) and cosmonauts (L-R Valery N. Kubasov and Alexey A. Leonov) of the Apollo-Soyuz mission at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The Prime Crew for the NASA’s First Manned Skylab Mission Meet the Press in a Final Briefing Prior to Isolation for the Coming Launch of Skylab II, 05/01/1973
Skylab, the first American space station, was launched unmanned on May 14, 1973. This photo is of the prime crew for the first manned Skylab mission at a final briefing prior to isolation for the coming launch, which occurred on May 24, 1973. The astronauts are (L. to R.) Charles Conrad Jr., Commander, Paul J. Weitz, Pilot, and Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin, Science Pilot.
This Saturday, The National Archives and its Presidential Libraries will be at the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Space Day.
We’ll be hosting activities including:
- A Mission Checklist hunt for Apollo-related items at the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- A Presidential Pop Quiz on U.S. Presidents and the Space Program.
Want a head start on your Mission Checklist? These Moon Tongs were used by Apollo mission astronauts to collect lunar samples.
The tongs are from the holdings of the Nixon Presidential Library and can be seen for a limited time in the “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display at the National Archives in D.C.
Close-up view of a set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, being used by Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., to pick up lunar samples during the Apollo XII mission, November 19, 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.
This set of tongs was used to collect lunar samples from the “Ocean of Storms,” the largest dark spot on the Moon’s surface, during the Apollo XII mission. It was presented to President Nixon by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean.