NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    This panoramic view, photographed from the International Space Station, shows the space shuttle Atlantis and part of the station they passed over the southern hemisphere, July 14, 2011. The bright green streak near Earth's horizon is the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Douglas Hurley, pilot of STS-135, the final flight of the space shuttle Atlantis, took this photo of the Southern Lights, July 14, 2011.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Space shuttle Atlantis is seen over the Bahamas before docking with the International Space Station, July 10, 2011.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    NASA introduced its Project Mercury astronauts to the world on April 9, 1959, only six months after the agency was established. They became known as the Original 7. Front row, left to right: Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, Jr., Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and M. Scott Carpenter; back row: Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Astronaut John Glenn climbs inside the Mercury space capsule Friendship 7 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, Feb. 20, 1962. He became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the planet three times in 4 hours and 56 minutes.
    NASA/SDO
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Astronaut Ed White moves away from his Gemini 4 spacecraft on America's first spacewalk. He floated as far from the two-man ship as his 25-foot tether would allow, then maneuvered briefly with the rocket gun in his right hand. This picture was taken by Gemini 4's commander, Jim McDivitt, June 3, 1965, with a Hasselblad camera.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee pose in front of their Saturn 1B launch vehicle in this Jan. 17, 1967, photo at Launch Complex 34 at Cape Kennedy, Florida. Ten days later, they would die in a fire in their spacecraft.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    The charred interior of the Apollo 1 spacecraft after the flash fire that killed astronauts Ed White, Roger Chaffee, and Virgil Grissom on Jan. 27, 1967 during a practice countdown on the launch pad. Investigators concluded the fire was caused by an electrical short, made worse by the ship's pure-oxygen atmosphere.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is photographed by fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong during their moon walk July 20, 1969. Armstrong and the Apollo 11 lunar module are reflected in Aldrin's visor.
    Neil Armstrong/NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    The earth can be seen rising in the background as the Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon's surface to dock with the command module for the trip home.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    This image made by the Apollo 13 astronauts shows the ship's badly damaged Service Module soon after it had been jettisoned from the crew's Command Module. An explosion in space forced the astronauts to abandon what would have been America's third landing on the moon.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    The four Apollo 13 flight directors who brought the crippled spacecraft back to Earth celebrate in Mission Control at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, as watch television pictures of the command module's safe splashdown, April 17, 1970. From left: Gerald Griffin, Eugene F. Kranz, Glynn S. Lunney and Milton L. Windler.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Apollo 13 astronauts Fred W. Haise, James A. Lovell and John L. Swigert, left to right, leave a helicopter to step aboard the carrier Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean after their successful recovery on Friday, April 17, 1970.
    NASA
  • Photos: NASA's Best Moments, and its Darkest

    Apollo 16 Lunar Module pilot Charles M. Duke Jr. collects lunar samples at Station No. 1 during the mission's first extravehicular activity at the Descartes landing site, April 16, 1972. Duke is standing at the rim of Plum crater, which is 131 feet in diameter and 33 feet deep. The lunar rover can be seen in the background.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the early part of the Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA-1) at the Taurtus-Littrow landing site on the moon. Three more planned Apollo missions were cancelled to make funds available to develop the Space Shuttle program.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    The Skylab space station, photographed from the Skylab 3 Command-Service Module before docking in July 1973. The Amazon River in Brazil can be seen below. Aboard the Command Module were astronauts Alan L. Bean, Owen K. Garriott, and Jack R. Lousma, who lived on the Skylab space station in Earth orbit for 59 days.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    Skylab, the first United States manned space station, was launched on May 14, 1973. Here it is shown in orbit at the end of its mission in 1974. NASA's new space shuttle was supposed to rendezvous with it and boost it into a higher orbit, but the shuttle was not ready when Skylab, burned up in the Earth's atmosphere in 1979, scattering debris over the Australian Outback.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    U.S. astronaut Donald K. "Deke" Slayton and Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov pose in the Soviet Soyuz Orbital Module during the joint-U.S.-USSR Apollo-Soyuz docking in Earth orbit, July 1975.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    An artist's concept of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project shows two American astronauts moving from their Apollo spacecraft, left, to meet their counterparts in the Russian Soyuz. The joint flight was arranged during a thaw in U.S.-Soviet relations in the 1970s.
    Davis Meltzer/NASA
  • 30 Years of Space Shuttle Missions

    Shuttle Columbia sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, April 12, 1981, before the start of the first orbital flight of the shuttle.
    NASA
  • Photos: NASA's Best Moments, and its Darkest

    On February 1984, Bruce McCandless II went further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut. The Manned Maneuvering Unit, a nitrogen jet propelled backpack, made this space-first possible. After a series of test maneuvers inside and above shuttle Challenger's payload bay, McCandless went "free-flying" to a distance of 320 feet away from the orbiter.
    NASA
  • 30 Years of Space Shuttle Missions

    The Hubble Space Telescope is deployed from the shuttle Discovery April 25, 1990. It was perhaps Discovery's highest-profile mission.
    NASA
  • 30 Years of Space Shuttle Missions

    The Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off Nov. 19, 1996 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B in Florida, beginning a planned 16-day mission. The STS-80 mission was the longest shuttle mission ever flown by NASA. Weather delayed Columbia's landing for two days, making the official mission duration 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes.
    NASA
  • 30 Years of Space Shuttle Missions

    STS-95 mission Commander Curtis Brown, left, and Payload Specialist John Glenn on the aft flight deck of Discovery during a press conference, Nov. 1, 1998. The mission was Glenn's return to space after 36 years. He had been the first American to orbit the Earth on board his Friendship 7 Mercury capsule on Feb. 20, 1962. Now, at age 77, he became the oldest person to go into space.
    NASA
  • 30 Years of Space Shuttle Missions

    Space shuttle Endeavour is seen docked to the International Space Station during the orbiter's final mission in May 2011. This is a time exposure taken as the ships passed over the night side of Earth, so stars are visible and city lights on the ground appear as streaks.
    NASA
  • Highlights of America in Space

    This photo, taken from the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft, shows the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, left, May 23, 2011, at an altitude of approximately 220 miles. A Soyuz capsule had never headed for home while a shuttle was parked at the space station, so this was a unique photo opportunity.
    Paolo Nespoli/NASA
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