The Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off on its maiden voyage, 30 years ago on April 4, 1983.
Space Transportation System Number 6, Orbiter Challenger, lifts off from Pad 39A carrying astronauts Paul J. Weitz, Koral J. Bobko, Donald H. Peterson and Dr. Story Musgrave, 04/04/1983
Astronaut Bruce McCandless II floats a few meters away from the cabin of the earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger as part of an historic Extravehicular Activity (EVA) during Flight 41-B. This is the first use of the nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), which allows astronauts to move freely in space without a tether, 02/07/1984
Make Way for Enterprise!
The Space Shuttle Enterprise passes through a hillside that has been cut to clear its wingspan. The orbiter is en route to Space Launch Complex Six aboard its specially-designed 76-wheel transporter, 02/01/1985
The Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first first full scale prototype. It was built without a functional heatshield or engines and therefore could not achieve spaceflight. A few weeks later the Enterprise was retired and sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Enterprise was on display at the Steven F. Edvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport until April 27, 2012 when it was ferried to New York City to become part of the exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
(Coming off the anniversary of the most tragic week in Space Shuttle history, it seemed something lighter was called for.)
The Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven member crew were lost 10 years ago, on February 1, 2003.
- The space shuttle orbiter Columbia is launched for the first space transportation system test mission, 04/12/1981
- Flowers and homemade signs are placed at the front gate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA), Mountain View, California (CA) in a spontaneous memorial for the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) astronauts.
- The remains of an American Astronaut are carried by the Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana (LA) Honor Guard to a waiting C-141 Starlifter for transfer to Dover AFB, Delaware (DE).
On January 31, 1961, Ham the space chimpanzee made history after blasting off hundreds of miles into low Earth orbit inside a Mercury capsule. Before NASA could send humans into space, they used animals as test subjects to determine whether or not a human could perform tasks or even survive miles above the Earth’s surface. This photo, submitted by NASA to the Senate Committee on Space and Astronautics, captured the image of Ham stretching for an apple after landing safely aboard the capsule. More than just a passive rider, Ham readily performed a series of learned tasks on his journey proving that humans would have at least a limited functionary capability in space. One apple seems a pittance for Ham’s great contribution to the Mercury project and human space flight. Nevertheless, he seemed glad to have it!
Photograph of Ham reaching for an apple, SEN 89A-F1, 1/31/1961, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 7038095)
On December 19, the sound of the a human voice was transmitted through space. It was the voice of President Eisenhower, broadcasting a message of peace to the world below.
This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one. Through this unique means, I convey to you and all mankind America’s wish for peace on earth and good will to men everywhere.
Recorded on December 17th, it was transmitted to the satellite following a last-minute plan to change the existing recordings with Eisenhower’s goodwill message and broadcast on December 19th.
September 12, 1962 — President John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University Stadium, Houston, Texas, concerning the nation’s efforts in space exploration. In his speech the President discusses the necessity for the United States to become an international leader in space exploration and famously states, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
The space shuttle orbiter Challenger (STS-8) makes the first nighttime landing of the Space Transportation System as it touches down on Runway 22 at 12:40 am PDT at the end of a six-day mission. Aboard the shuttle are: Richard H. Truly, commander; Daniel Brandenstein, pilot; and mission specialists Guion S. Bluford, Dale A. Gardner and Dr. William E. Thornton, 09/05/1983
Ticket Price? $74 Million Dollars; Space Nerd Cred? Priceless.
On July 30, 1985 President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive Number 181, which allowed for the sale of flight capacity on the Space Shuttles to foreign and commercial users. The minimum acceptable price would be $74 million dollars.
Shuttle Pricing for Foreign and Commercial Users, 07/30/1985
NASA is Created
Act of July 29, 1958 (National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958), Public Law 85-568, 72 STAT 426, which provided for research into the problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere., 07/29/1958
0658 RECOVERED 2 HELOS. ASTRONAUTS, N.A. ARMSTRONG, LCOL M. COLLINS USAF, AND COL E.E. ALDRIN JR USAF
Deck Log of the USS Hornet, 07/24/1969
Documenting in rather matter-of-fact terms both the arrival of the President of the United States and successful recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts.