All 'Original Seven' American astronauts now dead

John Glenn's passing on Thursday means that the first seven American astronauts chosen to lead the fledging US space program in 1959 are now dead, ending a groundbreaking chapter in American history.

The Space Launch System—the most powerful rocket ever built

NASA is in an awkward in-between time right now. Since the beginning of the space age, the agency has had the ability to send its astronauts into space. The first American to go to space, Alan Shepard, did a suborbital launch ...

Dormant viruses activate during spaceflight

Herpes viruses reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions, according to NASA research published in Frontiers in Microbiology. While only a small proportion develop symptoms, ...

You can see the Hubble Space Telescope in the sky above

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has now been in orbit for 25 years and this achievement has been a wonderful excuse to pour over the telescope's beautiful imagery, to consider its valuable contribution to science, to remember ...

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Space Shuttle

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially named the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft currently used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions and is scheduled to be retired from service in 2010. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, which is a winged spaceplane in the narrowest sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kilograms (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere. During the descent, the shuttle orbiter decelerates from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking and then for the landing phase it acts as a glider, making a completely unpowered (deadstick) landing.

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