Vote Now! Iconic Photos - 50 Years of Human Spaceflight

Space Shuttle’s Midnight Launch Dazzles in Photos

NASA/Ben Cooper

Viewed from the Banana River Viewing Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Discovery arcs through a cloud-brushed sky, lighted by the trail of fire after launch on the STS-128 mission. Liftoff from Launch Pad 39A was on time at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Aug. 28, 2009.

Shuttle Columbia Crew


This image of the STS-107 shuttle Columbia crew in orbit was recovered from wreckage inside an undeveloped film canister. The shirt colors indicate their mission shifts. From left (bottom row): Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick Husband, commander; Laurel Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From left (top row) are astronauts David Brown, mission specialist; William McCool, pilot; and Michael Anderson, payload commander. Ramon represents the Israeli Space Agency.

HL-10 on the Ground with B-52 Overhead


NASA research pilot Bill Dana watches NASA's NB-52B overhead after a flight in the HL-10 lifting body. The HL-10 was one of five lifting body designs flown at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California, from 1966-1975 to study maneuvering and landing a low lift-over-drag vehicle designed for reentry from space.

Apollo 11 Launch


The Apollo 11 mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on July 16, 1969, bearing the first humans to walk on the moon.

Apollo 11 Mission Officials After Apollo 11 Liftoff


Apollo 11 mission officials relax in the Launch Control Center following the successful Apollo 11 liftoff on July 16, 1969. Second from left (with binoculars) stands Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Apollo 16 Ascent Stage Liftoff


The flame from the Apollo 16 Lunar Module Orion ascent stage engine creates a kaleidoscopic effect during lunar liftoff, as seen in this color television transmission on April 23, 1972.

The First Space Shuttle Launch


The first space shuttle mission, STS-1, launched on April 12, 1981, with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen onboard space shuttle Columbia.

Space Shuttle Atlantis Flies Atop NASA's Modified Boeing 747

NASA/Carla Thomas

NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with the Space Shuttle Atlantis attached lifts off from Edwards Air Force Base in California, returning to Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 1, 2007.

Discovery Shuttle Astronauts Cut Loose in Goofy Photo

NASA/Kim Shiflett

STS-133 astronauts take a break from a simulated liftoff countdown next to the space shuttle Discovery. From left: Eric Boe, Michael Barratt, Steve Lindsey, Tim Kopra, Nicole Stott, and Alvin Drew.

Vehicle Assembly Building Under Construction


The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) undergoes construction in early 1965 at Kennedy Space Center, with the Launch Control Center (LCC) and Service Towers viewed from across the Turning Basin. The largest one-story building in the world, it housed Saturn V rocket assembly activities, later converted to space shuttle procedures

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