Tag Archives: space shuttle

Immediate Outcomes from the Columbia Accident in 2003


The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003, signaled the beginning of an important policy debate about the future of human spaceflight. NASA grounded the shuttle fleet, appropriately so, at the time of the accident, but wanted to return … Continue reading

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What Happened to the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003?


NASA personnel and leaders had a celebration planned on February 1, 2003, for the return of Columbia and its crew after the successful completion of STS-107. STS-107 had been launched from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on January … Continue reading

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Recalling the Challenger Accident Thirty Years Ago


Thirty years ago on January 28, 1986, NASA and the nation suffered loss of the space shuttle Challenger during launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Many Americans had been excited about this mission, even more than those that had gone before, … Continue reading

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What Do You Do for an Encore after You’ve Been to the Moon?


As early as January 1964 NASA administrator, James E. Webb, had been asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson for a well-developed proposal of future space objectives after the Apollo Moon landings. Webb did not want to respond; instead he tried … Continue reading

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The World’s Spaceports


In the more than fifty years since the beginning of the space age, the most remarkable and visible installations created have been the launch facilities. These spaceports are not numerous, with only 24 active sites worldwide, but many of them are … Continue reading

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Boarding the Spaceplane?


I posted this originally to the blog, “Above and Beyond,” on June 15, 2015. I thought I would reprint here. During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, senior government officials began to discuss the possibility of developing an “Orient Express,” … Continue reading

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Recalling the Voyages of the Space Shuttle Endeavour


The quest for a reusable spaceplane extends far back into the 1920s, but it only found realization with the inaugural flights of the Space Shuttle in the early 1980s. NASA initially built four spaceworthy orbiters—Columbia (OV-102), Challenger (OV‑099), Discovery (OV‑103), … Continue reading

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The Space Shuttle and the Costly Nature of Space Access


Why is space flight so expensive? Lowering the cost of space access has long been a major goal of rocketeers. Thus far they have largely been unsuccessful in doing so. Space travel started out and remains an exceptionally costly enterprise. The … Continue reading

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The International Space Station and the Clash of Civilizations


As the operations on the International Space Station now move toward a score of years, it may be that this cooperative venture provides one of the clearest opportunities present for tying nation-states together. One is reminded of the quote from … Continue reading

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The Mystique of the Space Suit


Wherever astronauts go, from the beginning of the human spaceflight program to the present, they have been characterized by their uniform. Nothing sets astronauts apart from ordinary Americans more than the physical existence of a space suit, and in this … Continue reading

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