With the first Apollo launch less than a month away, America’s race to the moon was in high gear. The three-man crew of the first Apollo test flight — commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee — strapped into the cockpit of their spacecraft on Jan. 27, 1967 — 50 years ago Friday — for a dress-rehearsal countdown.
Former astronaut Gene Cernan, a Navy pilot and veteran of NASA’s pioneering Gemini program who was the second American to walk in space and then flew to the moon twice as an Apollo astronaut, becoming the last human to leave his bootprints on its dusty surface, died Monday after a long illness. He was 82.
Two spacewalking astronauts working outside the International Space Station Friday completed work to replace aging batteries in one of the lab’s eight main solar power circuits. A second spacewalk next week, along with additional work with the station’s robot arm, will upgrade a second power channel.
Working over the New Year holiday weekend, robot arm operators at the Johnson Space Center will begin a complex procedure to replace 12 aging batteries in the International Space Station’s solar power system with six state-of-the-art lithium-ion power packs, a multi-step process over the next two weeks that will require two spacewalks to complete.
In an emotional remembrance, John Glenn was honored Saturday for an unprecedented career in public service, from his days as a combat fighter pilot, his historic journey into space as the first American in orbit, a quarter century of service as an Ohio senator and his unlikely return to space at age 77 aboard the shuttle Discovery.