SpaceX Delivers Supplies to the ISS

In 2010 SpaceX became the first private company to return a spacecraft safely to Earth from low-Earth orbit. In May 2012 its Dragon spacecraft began to periodically deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Sources: Dragon

Wikipedia: SpaceX_Dragon

Just recently, we all watched in awe–Elon Musk included–as SpaceX launches the Falcon Heavy and then landed two of its boosters side by side, simultaneously. It was an event that blew the collective minds of all in attendance and people all around the world.

However, this would not have been possible without the many successes and failures of SpaceX since its creation. SpaceX has has boldly gone where no private space enterprise has gone before.

In 2010, SpaceX made history by beginning its path in reusability by successfully returning a Dragon capsule to Earth after it had launched. A feet never before accomplished by a private space entity. Then, in May 2012, SpaceX started making direct deliveries to the International Space Station.

These historic moments changed the future of spaceflight forever. The belief in Elon and SpaceX grew exponentially overnight. Now, with over a dozen successful launches and landings with their rockets, the sky isn’t the limit, but simply the froth on the waves of the cosmic ocean SpaceX is destined to sail.

Occupy Mars, indeed.

Ron Sparkman

What memories do you have of these events? How did the people in your life react to them?



Skylab, America’s First Space Station

In 1973 Skylab became the United States’ first space station. It continued in operation until 1979.

Sources: Skylab: America’s First Space Station. The Day Skylab Crashed to Earth

I was born in early 1978, so I don’t have too many “non-fuzzy” memories of Skylab while it was still orbiting the Earth. I vaguely remember (very vaguely) when there was some media hoopla that it would come down over populated areas in mid-1979. A certain contingent of people really believed it would impact land, even though most of the Earth consists of water. Some enterprising entrepreneurs were actually selling “Skylab reentry hats” as a novelty item. At the time, there was also a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch starring the late actor/comedian John Belushi, where he supposes the space station will land on his apartment. But Skylab landed mostly over the Indian Ocean, with some pieces coming down over Western Australia – the space station was too “strong” to come down completely over the water.

My next Skylab-related recollection came around 1983, when I was a space-obsessed Kindergartner. I remember reading a kids’ space book, and seeing a picture of Skylab – even though it had launched 10 years previously, it still had a retro-futuristic appeal with its windmill-like solar panels. I remember having a picture of it on my wall as a kid, and many copies of the October 1974 National Geographic magazine, which had a great Skylab retrospective, including a panoramic photo of all three crews. I just thought this was the coolest thing!

 So from then on, I was a bit of a Skylab obsessive, and I loved reading about America’s first space station. While I didn’t experience much of it while it was still “flying,” I do have warm memories of reading about it and gazing at pictures of it as a young child. I still have a copy of the National Geographic, and it is now autographed by two Skylab astronauts: Dr. Joseph Kerwin, and the late Capt. Paul Weitz, USN (both Skylab 2).

Emily Carney 

What memories do you have of Skylab? How did you and the people in your life react to it?

Space Shuttle Columbia

On February 1, 2003, after a seventeen day mission, the Space Shuttle Columbia suffered catastrophic failure upon reentry into the atmosphere. All seven crew members were lost.


NASA History. Columbia Introduction Columbia Disaster

The Challenger tragedy happened when I was in Junior High. I was an adult when the Columbia was lost. I think I heard the news on the television; it happened in the morning so I might have woken up to the news. Whereas with the Challenger I was just horrified at what was obviously a freak accident, with the Columbia I remember really wanting to know why it happened. They had spent a couple of weeks in orbit. The shuttle had gone up and down many times. So what happened?

We eventually learned that a small piece of foam got knocked off during liftoff. Such a small thing, but it was enough to cause catastrophic failure. As the weeks went on and NASA came under intense scrutiny, my desire to know why was replaced by a disgust of all the blame that was being flung about. The shuttles were grounded for two years. We changed from a society reaching out to space to a society that questioned whether we really needed to go.

The dream didn’t die. But irreparable harm was done to the faith of the people in the promise of space.

Ad astra per aspera.


Do you remember this event? How did it affect you and the people in your life?

Apollo 11

In July 1969 NASA’s Apollo 11 reached Earth’s moon. During this mission Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, a first for humanity.


NASA. Apollo 11 Mission Overview

Wikipedia. Apollo 11

I was born a few years after this, around the time of Apollo 14. I grew up secure in the knowledge that America had a strong space program with rockets and shuttles and astronauts doing really cool things. The pictures, video, and everything about the moon landing was iconic, a source of national pride and an inspiration for things to come. I wanted to go up on the space shuttle. As I write this, I’m wearing my Space Geek NASA tee shirt. As soon as I finish writing, I’ll go ask the Space Hipsters over on facebook to comment here. I love this stuff. I love that humans walked on the moon. I hope soon we will again.


What memories do you have of this event? How did other people in your life react to the news?

Space Shuttle Challenger

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing the seven crew members on board.

Sources: Challenger

Wikipedia. Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

In those days, we followed every shuttle mission. I was at Longs Peak Junior High in Longmont, Colorado, and we’d just started orchestra. A few of the brass players walked in late, and when the sub asked them where they’d been they said “Watching the space shuttle blow up!” The sub told them to sit down and get ready, while the rest of us looked at each other in confusion.

At the beginning of my next class, the teacher told us what had happened and wheeled in a television on a cart so we could watch the news coverage ourselves. This was the mission with Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who was supposed to be the first civilian in space. Several of my own teachers had applied for the program.

For days after the tragedy, I waited to hear that maybe…possibly… some of the crew had evacuated and found parachutes or some other miracle to save them. Of course, that wasn’t true. Still, I hoped. In vain.

This was one of the first major events in my lifetime. I was horrified. I was already a space geek back then, and I wanted to go. Even after the tragedy sunk in, I still wanted to go. Today, at age 47, I still want to go.

Thirty-two years ago today. Ad astra per aspera.


What memories do you have of this event? How did you and the people in your life feel about it?

The End of the Apollo Missions

In 1970 NASA announced that several Apollo missions would be cancelled. The remaining missions were renumbered 14 through 17.

Sources: SP-4223 

Although I do not have a personal memory of this, the end of the Apollo missions is the ideal example of an event where people’s emotional reactions have been lost or misunderstood. I always imagined that all of humanity gasped a collective “No! This can’t be the end!” when the announcement was made. However, talking to people who remember that time, I learned that most of the public was disenchanted with the space program, and generally didn’t care.


What memories do you have of this announcement? How did you and the people in your life feel upon hearing it?

Apollo One

On January 27, 1967, a fire swept through the command module during a preflight test of Apollo 204 , killing astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. In the spring of 1967, NASA announced that the mission originally scheduled for Grissom, White and Chaffee would be known as Apollo 1.

Sources: Mission Pages. Apollo 1

Wikipedia. Apollo 1

This happened a few years before I was born, so I have no personal memories to share. However, as the Apollo missions are dear to my heart as a reader and writer of Science Fiction, and in particular stories about the moon, I wanted this to be the first post in the EMOH project.

Fifty-one years ago today, we remember Gus, Ed, Roger and the contributions they made to the space program and America’s first baby steps to leave the planet and explore our solar system and beyond.

Ad astra per aspera.



What memories do you have of this event? How did you and the people in your life feel upon learning about it?