The First Spacewalk. How the first human to take steps in outer space nearly didn't return to Earth.
The recovery of Salyut 7 In 1985, the Soviet Union's space station Salyut 7 was crippled by an total electrical failure. Reactivating it would require a manual docking and working in bitter cold, 130 miles above the planet.
Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
Tekhnika Molodezhi was the Popular Mechanics of the Soviet Union. The magazine, whose name means Technology for the Youth, had illustrations of everything from space stations, computerized farming, transport of the future, friendly robots, to more abstract images. If you don't want to hunt through the archive, Mythbuster's Tested website has a gallery of 201 great images from the magazine.
No big deal, just found an abandoned space shuttle.
In 1967, Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov went up in a capsule he knew would never get back (NSFW gruesome image) to earth in one piece. He could have bowed out of the mission, but that would meant his good friend, Yuri Gagarin (the first man in space) would have drawn the mission instead. So Vladamir launched knowing it was a suicide mission. The CIA was listening in , and recorded what may have been Vladimir Komarov's last words, amid cries of rage. Adding to the tragedy, Yuri died in a plane crash the next year.
The evolution of Mars imaging from orbit: Mariner 4 (1964), Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (both 1969), Mariner 9 (1971) (all NASA), Mars 5 (1973) (USSR), Viking 1 (1975), Viking 2 (1976), Mars Global Surveyor (1996), Mars Odyssey (2001) (NASA), Mars Express (2003) (ESA), up to this spy-quality shot of an active avalanche taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005).
Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) from the 1980's, long since abandoned. Bonus: A comparison between Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More on Buran from russianspaceweb.com, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran, (and their photos), frozen in time a decade ago.
On June 16, 1963, at the height of the US-Soviet Space Race, Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. Her flight aboard the Vostok 6 lasted 48 orbits and 71 hours, and during her flight she spent more time in space than all the U.S. astronauts combined to that date. Although NASA trained women astronauts in the 60's, it would take 20 years for an American woman to follow in Tereshkova's footsteps.
Secrets of the Cold War in Space. Deep Cold is an website with detailed renderings, quicktime movies and information about the ideas and concepts being developed for both U.S. and Soviet presences in space during the cold war.