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This rescue was considered challenging but feasible.

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia. As part of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's investigation, NASA devised a plan to save Columbia's crew had they known that the foam strike damaged the shuttle. Previously.
posted by thewumpusisdead on Feb 26, 2014 - 29 comments

To be a good astronaut, you need to be prepared for the worst.

"I was going through boxes of my grandparents old photographs and found some incredible pictures of a tragic shuttle launch from 1986. I scanned them and made an album. My grandmother actually passed peacefully last week, and was because of her passing that I found these. We were all going through boxes and boxes of photos to find pictures to display at her memorial. I just happened to get the box with the Challenger pictures at the bottom, which was kind of special for me because I am the biggest NASA fan in the family," said Mike Hindes. [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Jan 19, 2014 - 50 comments

The Reusable Nuclear Shuttle: To the Moon, Again and Again

NASA's abandoned plan for a re-usable, nuclear powered moon shuttle. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom on Sep 30, 2013 - 34 comments

Anniversary of 2nd shuttle disaster

10 years ago today, the flagship of the Space Shuttle fleet, Columbia, broke apart upon its return to earth. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 1, 2013 - 42 comments

Super slomo high-resolution space shuttle goodness

Each space shuttle launch was documented by 125 cameras aimed at its engines, solid rocket boosters, orbiter, and umbilicals. The 45-minute film Ascent compiles the "best of the best": astounding 400 fps footage from three missions (STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124), produced by NASA aerospace engineer Matt Melis, and narrated by Melis and photographer Kevin Burke.
posted by googly on Jan 28, 2013 - 27 comments

Viewing the Earth from orbit changes your perspective

The Overview Effect
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 12, 2013 - 26 comments

To infinity & beyond

Photos of the Flight Deck (cockpit) of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, fully powered for one of the final times, by young former NASA photographer Ben Cooper
posted by growabrain on Sep 21, 2012 - 55 comments

135 Shuttle Launches

The Shuttle Launches, all 135 of them, playing simultaneously. Edited by McLean Fahnestock. If you're looking for the Challenger video, it is in the second row from the top, the 6th frame from the right.
posted by HuronBob on Jul 7, 2012 - 32 comments

Space Shuttle Discovery arrives at its new home

The Space Shuttle Discovery, known for launching the Hubble telescope, as well as being the workhorse of the fleet, made a final flight today. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 17, 2012 - 55 comments

Dissecting OV's 103, 104 and 105.

Orbiter Autopsies "What NASA will learn from dissecting Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour" before they transition into retirement. (From the May 2012 issue of Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine.)
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2012 - 13 comments

Back again, in 1/128 size.

A Space Shuttle flies again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 4, 2012 - 24 comments

Moon Camera's Missing Instructions

It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual (PDF) and you might capture photos like this one. Previously.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 26, 2011 - 9 comments

How many people traveled on the space shuttle?

How many people flew on the Space Shuttle?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 21, 2011 - 35 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes.

All space shuttle missions, in 8 minutes. (SLYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Jul 22, 2011 - 13 comments

Lift and separate

Initially the conventional wisdom was that spacesuits “would be like rockets: adamantine, metallic, armored and smooth.” But in practice, rigid spacesuits repeatedly failed under testing. So when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon they were protected from the vacuum of space by flexible spacesuits crafted from twenty-one layers of fabric, “each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles” for the Playtex Corporation. The Spirit of the Spacesuit , Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo [more inside]
posted by Herodios on Jul 21, 2011 - 25 comments

T-Minus 2 minutes and counting

STS 133 Space Shuttle Discovery (Single Link Space shuttle Launch)
posted by HLD on Feb 24, 2011 - 62 comments

Buran - The Soviet Shuttle

In 1976, in response to NASA's development of the Space Shuttle, the USSR began it's own reusable launcher program, the Buran (Snowstorm), based at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what is now Kazakhstan. [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Jan 23, 2011 - 49 comments

Houston we have ignition

Blastoff! SLYT slow motion shuttle liftoff. (Up to 60,000 frames per second)
posted by troll on a pony on Dec 12, 2010 - 27 comments

One small step for a robot

One small step for a robot, one giant leap for robot-kind... but not yet. The Robonaut R2 (sic) will have to wait at least another three weeks, as the final mission of Space Shuttle Discovery is delayed.
posted by philipy on Nov 5, 2010 - 13 comments

Space, an expensive frontier

Can the free market save the space program?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 26, 2010 - 41 comments

I laugh to see your tiny world; Your toys of ships, your cars

Go For Launch! Timelapse video of preparing STS-131 (Discovery) for launch. [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on May 21, 2010 - 17 comments

Blink and you'll miss it

As the shuttle program winds down, astrophotographers like Thierry Legault are taking advantage of these last opportunities to capture absolutely incredible shots like this one, showing Atlantis' transit in front of the sun as it performs its inspection backflip before docking with the ISS. His other photography includes this magnificent series of the launch of STS-125. [more inside]
posted by disillusioned on May 19, 2010 - 16 comments

Godspeed Atlantis

Barring the need for STS-335 and any potential extension to the program, today's 2:30 EST scheduled launch of OV-104 Atlantis on STS-132 (pdf) will be her 32nd and final trip to space. She's had a good run (gratuitous launch vid).
posted by cloax on May 14, 2010 - 57 comments

I sweep the skies with fire and steel

Journeys to the Internal Space Station (SLBP) [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on Apr 14, 2010 - 29 comments

Spot the Shuttle

Space Shuttle Discovery STS-131 is being fueled for a scheduled liftoff at 6:21 AM EST, and will be only the sixth twilight launch. Shuttle Discovery's trajectory towards the International Space Station will take it north, along the American eastern seaboard, visible to early risers as far north as New York. [more inside]
posted by acro on Apr 4, 2010 - 56 comments

Space Shuttle STS-129 Ascent Video

The best space shuttle launch video you will see today. As compiled and edited by NASA's SE&I imagery team at Johnson Space Center.
posted by pashdown on Nov 29, 2009 - 65 comments

But that's where the fun is

Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on May 15, 2009 - 46 comments

Space Twits

A space shuttle is fired to sky. People from all around the place gets a camera and shoots it. They publish the photos on Twitter. Result: Awesomeness.
posted by lipsum on Mar 16, 2009 - 35 comments

NASA releases Columbia report.

NASA releases the Columbia shuttle disaster report. Space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry in 2003 as a result of damage sustained to its thermal protection system. This report details the possible lethal incidents and the investigation board's recommendations based on their findings. [more inside]
posted by herrdoktor on Dec 30, 2008 - 65 comments

Video and audio from jettisoned solid rocket boosters, STS-124

Video and audio from a camera mounted on one of the side solid rocket boosters during the launch of STS-124. As the camera is initially facing the main booster, there's not that much to see (except water vapor collecting on the lens and interesting-looking changes in the main booster's surface) until around 1:50, when the booster rocket is jettisoned. After that, enjoy the ride from space to splashdown, but watch out for flying debris! Here's the view from the other booster, without sound. More onboard STS cameras, previously. [N.B. -- Adjust volume accordingly, it gets loud! Looks even better in high-quality and full-screen modes.]
posted by not_on_display on Dec 11, 2008 - 46 comments

For Arthur

A handful of pretty great spacewalk pix from last summer's Endeavour mission.
posted by CunningLinguist on Mar 19, 2008 - 59 comments

Space: 1989

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.
posted by dersins on Sep 13, 2007 - 25 comments

In Mission Control, while the loss of signal was a cause for concern, there was no sign of any serious problem

Four years ago today the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated shortly upon reentry. Here is a sad, but, fascinating real time video recreation of the final moments, compiled from various sources including Nasa radio transmissions.
posted by ae4rv on Feb 1, 2007 - 27 comments

Recent Shuttle Launch from Unusual Angles

Recent Shuttle Launch from Unusual Angles
+ Right forward Solid Rocket Booster camera (Windows media)
+ Right aft Solid Rocket Booster camera (Windows media)
+ Left aft Solid Rocket Booster camera (13.7 Mb Quicktime movie)
+ Left forward Solid Rocket Booster camera (13.6 Mb Quicktime movie)
+ Separation composite view (10 Mb Quicktime movie)
posted by crunchland on Jul 9, 2006 - 41 comments

Discovery flies!

Rocket's red glare! STS-121 lifts of successfully on the Forth of July, on a mission to deliver equipment, supplies and an additional crewmember to the International Space Station. Said Wayne Hail, Shuttle Program Manager, "Great nations dare great things and take risks along the way, and I can think of no better way to explore the space frontier than the way we set out today." Photos - Videos
posted by BeerFilter on Jul 4, 2006 - 36 comments

Jan. 28, 1986

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jan 28, 2006 - 82 comments

"Go" for de-orbit burn...

Discovery is coming home... Around now (6.06am EDT) STS114 is due to commence firing its orbital maneuvering engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds and commence its entry of the atmosphere to return home to Edwards Air Force base. Florida was declared a "no go" both yesterday and today due to weather conditions.

Weather at Edwards is good. Landing tracks from NASA available here.
BBC story with live video footage is here.
Pilot Jim Kelly is handling the de-orbit burn, according to commentary and mission commander Eileen Collins will make the final approach and touch down at Edwards.

Best of luck, Discovery, I'm sure I speak for all when I say that all of our thoughts are with you.
posted by tomcosgrave on Aug 9, 2005 - 130 comments

Best. Self-Portrait. Ever.

Astronaut Steve Robinson took a picture of himself that Escher would've loved, when out fixing the Space Shuttle Discovery. Available in hi-res, too (not safe for dialup).
posted by cerebus19 on Aug 5, 2005 - 67 comments

out of the blue!

Is there any purpose to the kind of manned space flights we seem to be concentrating on?
posted by pantsrobot on Aug 4, 2005 - 48 comments

BBC News - In Pictures

BBC News' wonderful In Pictures section, including Hiroshima: Now and Then, Space Shuttle Discovery in orbit, and readers' photos of Battersea Power Station.
posted by Mwongozi on Aug 4, 2005 - 8 comments

Shuttle Damage Graphic

Shuttle Damage A nice graphic of the 15000 hits the shuttle program has had.
posted by srboisvert on Jul 28, 2005 - 25 comments

T-22 hours, and counting

The space shuttle (and NASA) return to flight tomorrow at a scheduled launch time of 1551 ET, weather permitting. They had a laundry list of things to fix, and of course, they've fixed all of them... except the three that actually killed the last crew. They're launching nonetheless, and NASA TV will be covering it, with a couple of lists of mirror site links. I wish them well.
posted by baylink on Jul 12, 2005 - 37 comments

Return To Flight

Three days and Counting Breathe deep, mine eyes, the frosty saga of eternal suns. From unseen depths and dreams undreamt, I sing the gleaming cantos of unvanquished space. By thought I embrace the universal, With wings of mind I sail the infinitude. Glory! 'tis the stars which beckon man's spirit and set our souls adrift!
posted by blue_beetle on Jul 10, 2005 - 14 comments

NASA Claims Readiness for July 13 Launch

NASA says shuttle is ready for July 13 launch, but doubts remain. With two catastrophic failures marring the Space Shuttle's safety record, many people fear that the coming launch of the shuttle Discovery could turn in to a billion-dollar fireworks display. While NASA is optimistic about the coming mission, an independent panel of aerospace executives, academics and former astronauts are not. They concluded that NASA has failed to fully implement three of the fifteen return-to-flight recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) in August 2003. While we wish the astronauts a safe and uneventful journey, serious doubts remain as to NASA's competency to continue carrying mankind to the stars. Perhaps our best hopes now lie with private ventures such as Scaled Composites?
posted by nlindstrom on Jul 1, 2005 - 20 comments

The truth is out there

The truth that MeFites don't want you to know. As a follow-up to this post on "the Coffins GWB doesn't want you to see," it is revealed that many of the photographs that ran rampant over the Internet and wire services weren't of fallen American soldiers, but were of the crew of the Columbia.
posted by swerdloff on Apr 23, 2004 - 109 comments

Columbia's Final Minutes

Columbia's Final Minutes A fascinating (if horrifying) account of the shuttle's destruction.
posted by jpoulos on Jan 27, 2004 - 12 comments

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board

"These are good people"...but changes must be made. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board final report was released on Tuesday. Putting technical answers aside for the moment, the report targets the organizational and behavioral issues that led to a breakdown in communication, safety and responsibility. While acknowledging the good will at NASA, the report holds no illusions that changing this culture will be very difficult and very necessary in order to return to flight. What types of management/behavioral obstacles have you encountered in home, work, school or social organizations? How did you try to effect change and what obstacles did you encounter in an effort to make it more effective, safe, productive or enjoyable?
posted by tgrundke on Aug 28, 2003 - 11 comments

"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this."

"I imagine this is the last we will hear of this." Or not. NASA releases email between NASA engineers leading up to the Columbia disaster documenting significant concerns regarding damage done to the shuttle on takeoff. Engineers calculated the likelihood of a 7" x 30" gouge in the heat shields, but when they let management know of their concerns, they weren't taken seriously, were forced to work "at night" to do simulations, and found that requests for additional information were "treated like the plague."
posted by insomnia_lj on Feb 22, 2003 - 33 comments

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster

Cosmic bolt probed in shuttle disaster - Scientists poring over 'infrasonic' sound waves Federal scientists are looking for evidence that a bolt of electricity in the upper atmosphere might have doomed the space shuttle Columbia as it streaked over California, The Chronicle has learned.
posted by y2karl on Feb 7, 2003 - 29 comments

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