Flying Free: Iconic NASA Astronaut McCandless Has Died

On Feb. 7, 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless II became the first “human satellite” when he performed the first test flight of NASA’s Manned Maneuvering Unit during STS-41B. Propelled by 24 small nitrogen-powered thrusters, the chair-like MMU allowed McCandless (who helped engineer the Unit at Lockheed Martin) to travel freely through space without any tethers or cords connecting…

A Heck of a Leap: When Bruce McCandless Became the First Human Satellite

On Feb. 7, 1984, NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II became the first “human satellite” when he tested the Manned Maneuvering Unit during STS-41B. Propelled via 24 small nitrogen-powered thrusters, the MMU allowed McCandless (who was instrumental in developing the Unit at Lockheed Martin) to travel freely through space. In the iconic photo above McCandless is seen floating against…

The First Human Satellite: Flying Free With the MMU

31 years ago today, on Feb. 7, 1984, NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II became the first “human satellite” when he tested the Manned Maneuvering Unit during STS-41B. Self-propelled via 24 small nitrogen-powered thrusters, the MMU allowed McCandless (who was instrumental in developing the Unit at Lockheed Martin) to travel tether-free through space. In the iconic photo…

Endeavour Rolls Through LA Neighborhoods

This weekend the space shuttle Endeavour is on its way to the California Science Center, getting driven via Overland Transporter along 12 miles of Los Angeles roads at a more-or-less steady 2 mph. Hundreds of onlookers have gathered along the route to catch a glimpse of a real-life spaceship passing by just outside their front…

OMG Wow: Shuttle Landing Caught on Video!

Can’t see the video below? Click here. This is one for the OMG Holy Crap files… a passenger on board an airplane waiting at JFK airport captured this incredible video this morning as the space shuttle Enterprise landed on the adjacent runway! Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime shot!

One Week: Remembering the Last Landing of Atlantis

At 5:57 am EDT on July 21, 2011 the orbiter Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center, completing the STS-135 mission and bringing an end to the shuttle program. With memories of the launch still very fresh in my mind it’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since Atlantis’ final wheelstop. Very hard to…

A Love Letter to the Space Shuttle

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” – Robert Browning Here’s a wonderful video compilation showing highlights from all the shuttle missions, from STS-1 to STS-135, created by the folks at Nature. It’s a lot of emotions packed into eight minutes, but above all there’s a powerful feeling of awe at what was accomplished through…

The End.

The final landing of Atlantis, and the end of the space shuttle program.

Atlantis: The Last Launch

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Check out this powerful and dramatic video showcasing highlights of the STS-135 shuttle mission, up to and including launch and booster separation. If this doesn’t stir some emotions in you, you’re made of tougher stuff than me. Credit: NASA TV

Reflections on a Tweetup

It’s been over a week since the NASA Tweetup (note: these are now called “NASA Socials”) and I’m still thinking about it. For good reason, of course… it was awesome. Over the course of two days I saw a capsule that had been to space and back, talked with five astronauts (one currently in orbit!),…