Space shuttle Discovery blasts off for orbit on September 29, 1988—almost three years after the Challenger accident—with a system that would, for the first time, enable the crew of five astronauts to escape the orbiter in case of emergency during ascent.

They Said It Wasn’t Possible to Escape the Space Shuttle. These Guys Showed It Was.

But the circumstances had to be just right.

A prototype of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule successfully completed a pad abort test in 2015. Its high-thrust engines can push the spacecraft and crew to safety.

Abort!

When a launch goes bad, how do you save the crew?

The MarCO CubeSats will separate from InSight's Atlas rocket shortly after launch, then make their own way to Mars.

Mars-Bound MarCO Twins Will Go Where No CubeSat Has Ever Gone

A pair of 30-pound satellites point the way to cheaper space exploration.

The ninth Saturn V lifts off in January 1971 to start the Apollo 14 mission. The first people to ride the mighty booster were the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968. Recalled Bill Anders, “It felt to me on the first stage ride like an old freight train going down a bad track.”

We Built the Saturn V

Memories of a giant-in-progress.

On August 21, the population of Glendo, Wyoming, will explode by 50,000 percent.

Tiny Towns Shine Under the Eclipse

Glendo, Wyoming is preparing for its moment in darkness.

Alan Eustace practices stability in freefall under his drogue stabilizer chute.

The Highest Jump

The computer scientist who pulled off a world-record skydive is still wondering: Could it be done from orbit?

Artist's concept of a CYGNSS satellite monitoring a hurricane.

New Satellite Network Will Watch Hurricanes Grow

CYGNSS fills a blind spot in our observation of tropical storms.

A view of activity in the Earth's magnetosphere today, courtesy of the Space Weather Prediction Center.

Now You Can Get Regional Forecasts of Space Weather

Solar storm warnings just got a little more user-friendly.

Before the Stonehouse antenna listened to Soviet probes, the site was a radio installation for the U.S. Navy and, earlier, Italy.

How One Planetary Scientist Became a Cold War Spy For the CIA

Code name: Stonehouse.

The gondola from Piantanida's Strato-Jump III attempt is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The Truck Driver Who Jumped From the Edge of Space

Nick Piantanida, born 84 years ago today, was nothing if not determined.

Practicing for Mars in New Mexico, a team of roboticists and scientists descend into Big Skylight Cave.

Mars, Underground

Looking for life on other planets? Go deep.

CubeSats deployed from the ISS.

Rise of the CubeSats

Small satellites get real.

A CubeSat launched from the International Space Station.

Nanotechnology + Small Satellites = Big Returns

A NASA study group hopes to build powerful science instruments for the next generation of CubeSats.

Drone’s-eye view: From 60,000 feet, a NASA Global Hawk observed Tropical Storm Frank swirling over the Pacific in August 2010.

How to Start a Hurricane

What makes one small eddy fizzle out, and another turn into the planet’s most destructive storm?

Air Shepherd uses a variety of virtually silent drones in African wildlife parks to catch poachers before they can act.

Can UAVs Save the Elephants?

Sentinels in the sky are hunting the poachers.

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See The World From 100,000 Feet

Companies on both sides of the Atlantic are building capsules to carry you into the stratosphere.

Watching Friday’s Eclipse—From the Stratosphere

A Spanish company plans to capture first-of-its-kind video of the March 20 eclipse.

A trio of Cubesats launch from the International Space Station in 2012.

Half of All First-Time CubeSat Projects End in Failure

Half of all first-time Cubesat projects end in failure. And that’s not entirely bad.

Artist's concept of the Interplanetary NanoSpacecraft Pathfinder In Relevant Environment (INSPIRE) CubeSat.

CubeSats to the Moon (Mars and Saturn, Too)

The next generation of planetary explorers.

The last image taken by Ranger 7, less than two-tenths of a second before hitting the moon on July 31, 1964. The spacecraft was about 480 meters above the lunar surface when transmission began; impact came before the photo finished sending, so the right half is cut off. The resolution in this final image is about half a meter.

The First Close-Up Photos of the Moon

Fifty years ago this week, Ranger 7 showed us what the lunar surface looks like.

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