Mission Monday: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter still circling the red planet 14 years after arrival

In this week’s Mission Monday, we are featuring a NASA mission that has provided scientists with nearly 400 Terabits of data about the red planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has studied the red planet’s atmosphere and terrain from orbit since 2006 and serves as a key data relay station

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First crewed lunar landing

Mission Monday: Two historic landings, seven years apart

On the same date, seven years apart, two historic missions landed on vastly different worlds from our own. These missions were the first of their kind, true pioneering expeditions for the good of all humankind. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 touched down on the lunar surface. Just seven years

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ASTP crew portrait

Mission Monday: The first international docking in space

Long before the International Space Station and the Shuttle-Mir flights, there was the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a trailblazing mission where American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts worked side by side for the first time. This year, as we celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, a

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Mission Monday: Five fast facts about Telstar, the world’s first active communications satellite

58 years ago this week, NASA launched Telstar, the world’s first active communications satellite, into low-Earth orbit. The feat captured imaginations around the globe and sparked a new age of instant worldwide communications. Communication hasn’t always been instantaneous. However, 58 years ago, a beach-ball sized satellite sparked a new era

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Sojourner rover

Mission Monday: Remembering Pathfinder

This week we are celebrating American ingenuity with the anniversary of Pathfinder, which landed on Mars on Independence Day in 1997. What was NASA’s Pathfinder mission? Pathfinder was the second mission in NASA’s Discovery Program, which centered around fast track, low-cost missions with a focus on scientific objectives. It was

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Mission Monday: Fast facts about STS-4 & STS-71

This week we are celebrating the historic launch of two shuttle missions that rocketed into space on the same day, 13 years apart. Look back at both iconic flights with three fast facts about each mission. STS-4 On June 27, 1982, STS-4 lifted off. Two NASA astronauts, Thomas Mattingly and

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Sally Ride STS-7

Mission Monday: The first women in space

This week marks two important milestones in space exploration history. Two days and two decades apart, the first woman and the first American woman traveled to space. The first woman in space In June 1963, the first woman rocketed into space. Her name was Valentina Tereshkova and she bravely went

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Crew portrait of STS-117

Mission Monday: Five fast facts about the STS-117 mission

On June 8, 2007, the shuttle orbiter Atlantis lifted off for the STS-117 mission to the International Space Station. It was the 21st mission to send a shuttle to the station. The nearly 14-day flight was an assembly mission. The crew conducted four spacewalks to install and activate the second

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Mission Monday: Five fast facts about the first American spacewalk

On June 3, 1965, NASA astronaut Ed White stepped out of his Gemini capsule and into space for the first American spacewalk. Attached by only a 23 foot tether and 25 foot umbilical, White floated in space for roughly 20 minutes. Circling the Earth at a speed of 17,000 miles

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Skylab launch

Mission Monday: America’s first space station launches into space

Before the International Space Station, there was Skylab, America’s first space station. The mighty Saturn V rocket made its farewell on May 14, 1973, as Skylab launched into orbit. It marked the beginning of a new and exciting journey in human spaceflight. The planning for America’s first space station began

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