In a collaboration between NASA, Flickr, and the Internet Archive, dozens of historic space images are getting more public exposure. Here is a small sampling of the archived photos that have been added to the Yahoo-owned photo site.
On May 27, 1999, the Orbiter Discovery blasted off for a 10-day mission. STS-96 would be the second mission to visit the International Space Station and the first flight to dock with the station.
It was a short but historic flight that made John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth aboard Mercury-Atlas 6 in 1962. Better known as Friendship 7, the Mercury spacecraft seen in this image lifted off from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on February 20, 1962, at 9:47 a.m. EST and splashed into the Atlantic Ocean after five hours in orbit.
One of the photos included in NASA's Flickr archive is this profile of Robert Goddard, a pioneer in rocket development. According to NASA, Goddard was ridiculed by some for a paper published in 1920 in which he theorized on the possibility of sending a rocket to the moon. By 1926, Goddard had constructed and tested the first rocket using liquid fuel.
Preparing for the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission in 1962, Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., NASA flight surgeon William Douglas, and equipment specialist Joseph W. Schmidt leave crew quarters and head toward the launchpad.
Construction of Hangar One at NAS Sunnyvale circa 1931-1934
This photo, taken circa 1931 to 1934, shows construction of what is still one of the world's largest freestanding structures, Hangar One at Naval Air Station in Sunnyvale, Calif. Covering eight acres, the hangar was built to house the helium-filled airship the USS Macon.
NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft is launched from Kennedy Space Center on January 6, 1998.
The launch marked the first use of Lockheed Martin's Athena II launch vehicle. The Lunar Prospector was designed to give NASA the first global maps of the moon's surface and its gravitational magnetic fields.
"NASA brings historic photos to Flickr Commons"
NASA/Ames Research Center
Construction of the full-scale 40x80-foot wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. This photo, taken on June 2, 1943, shows the side view of the entrance cone, with a blimp in the background.
When Apollo planning was under way in 1960, NASA was looking for a way to simulate a spacecraft's descent to the moon's surface.
The goal was to enable an Earth-bound pilot to make a realistic, simulated vertical moon landing. That meant replicating the experience of landing in gravity one-sixth that of Earth's, while still giving the pilot the sensation of being in a free-functioning vehicle with no tethers attached to it.
This NASA photo shows the result: the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, which was used for nearly 200 lunar landing training "flights" at Edwards Air Force Base beginning in 1964.
The Apollo 11 mission, the first lunar landing mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center via the Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969, and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. The Saturn V rocket measured in at 363 feet tall and weighed 6,400,000 pounds.
With brilliant contrails reflecting in the bright California sun, the 50-foot-long X-15 rocket-powered aircraft careens upward after launching from what is now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.
The X-15 was flown over a period of 10 years--beginning in June 1959--in a program to investigate all aspects of manned hypersonic flight. In that time, the aircraft would set unofficial world records for both speed (at 4,520 mph, or Mach 6.7) and altitude (at 354,200 feet).
At Firing Room Four of the NASA Kennedy Space Center, NASA mission managers watch the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis on November 16, 2009. The launch marked the beginning of an 11-day journey to transport spare hardware to the International Space Station.