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Fifty Years of American Space Exploration [Slideshow]

NASA celebrates half a century of American spaceflight with a new collection of space exploration images

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SPACE STATION RAISIN'

In 1993 the U.S. relinquished its long-standing plans to unilaterally build Space Station Freedom, a proposed American response to Mir, and committed itself instead to supporting the International Space Station, along with Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency.....[ More ]

HEAT AND LIGHT

The launch of a space shuttle mission scatters gulls on its way to the first continuously inhabited orbital research station in space. The Mir Space Station, originally a Soviet initiative, was continued by the Russian space program after the U.S.S.R.'s demise.....[ More ]

SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

Commander Eugene Cernan of Apollo 17 , the last lunar landing mission, salutes the flag on December 14, 1972. Each Apollo mission that landed on the moon raised an American flag. The astronauts were following a tradition that harks back to Columbus, who came ashore in the New World in 1492 "proclaiming heralds and flying standards." What the Apollo astronauts did not do was claim the moon for the U.S., and in this they broke with the great explorers of the past.....[ More ]

CANNED HEROES

Once on board the USS Hornet recovery ship, the crew was placed inside a mobile quarantine facility designed to prevent any possible "moon bugs" from contaminating Earth. NASA dispensed with quarantines following Apollo 14 , after scientists were sufficiently convinced there were no microorganisms, harmful or otherwise, returning with the astronauts from the lunar surface.....[ More ]

HARD-LUCK MISSION

A technical engineer practices rendezvous and docking with an Agena target vehicle in the McDonnell simulator for the Gemini 9A mission. The original 9A crew of Elliott See and Charles Bassett were tragically killed at Lambert Field in St.....[ More ]

HIGH-PRESSURE JOB

Astronaut Pete Conrad adjusts the strap on the boot of his early Gemini-type pressure suit as he prepares for water survival tests at the naval training tank in Pensacola, Fla. Conrad served on Geminis 5 and 11 .....[ More ]

FIRED UP FOR THE FUTURE

The laboratories managed by NACA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was replaced by NASA in 1958) were at the forefront of the development of reliable high-performance jet-propulsion engines.....[ More ]

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