The Space Shuttle Atlantis streaks skyward as sunlight pierces through the gap between the orbiter and ET assembly. Atlantis lifted off on the 42nd space shuttle flight on August 2, 1991 carrying a crew of five and TDRS-E. NASA
The Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew of six lifted off from PAD 39B on Oct. 22, 1992, on a ten-day mission. The primary payload of Space Shuttle mission STS-52 is the Laser Geodynamic Satellite II (LAGEOS II). NASA
This photo gives an overhead look at an RS-88 development rocket engine being test fired at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA
A seven-year journey to the ringed planet Saturn begins with the liftoff of a Titan IVB/Centaur carrying the Cassini orbiter and its attached Huygens probe. This spectacular streak shot was taken from Hangar AF on Cape Canaveral Air Station, with a solid rocket booster retrieval ship in the foreground. NASA/JPL-Caltech
A 750,000 pound motor is test-fired at Test Stand 116 at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) for the US Air Force Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) project. NASA
The British fired Congreve rockets against the United States in the War of 1812. As a result Francis Scott Key coined the phrase the 'rocket's red glare.' Congreve had used a 16-foot guide stick to help stabilize his rocket. William Hale, another British inventor, invented the stickless rocket in 1846. The US Army used the Hale rocket more than 100 years ago in the war with Mexico. Rockets were also used to a limited extent by both sides in the American Civil War. NASA
A Delta II rocket carrying NASA's Kepler spacecraft rises through the exhaust cloud created by the firing of the rocket's engines in 2009. NASA/Regina Mitchell-Ryall/Tom Farrar
Lighting up the launch pad below, a Boeing Delta II (7326) rocket is silhouetted in the morning light as it propels Deep Space 1 into the sky after liftoff from Launch Complex 17A, Cape Canaveral Air Station in 1999. NASA/JPL-Caltech
This photograph shows a static firing test of the Solid Rocket Qualification Motor-8 (QM-8) at the Morton Thiokol Test Site in Wasatch, Utah. NASA
NASA made aviation history in 2004 with the first and second successful flights of an X-43A scramjet-powered airplane at hypersonic speeds - speeds greater than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. Compared to a rocket-powered vehicle like the space shuttle, vehicles powered by scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engines promise more airplane-like operations for increased affordability, flexibility and safety on ultra-high-speed flights within the atmosphere and into Earth orbit. NASA Photo by Jim Ross
Engineers test-fire Development Motor-8 at Thiokol's Utah facility, the first time all the changes in the Redesigned Solid Rocket Motor had been test-fired together. The redesign of the Shuttle's Solid Rocket Motor resulted from the January 28, 1986 Challenger accident. NASA
NASA engineers successfully tested a Russian-built rocket engine on November 4, 1998 at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Advanced Engine Test Facility, which had been used for testing the Saturn V F-1 engines and Space Shuttle Main engines. The RD-180 is powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen, the same fuel mix used in Saturn rockets. The RD-180, the most powerful rocket engine tested at the MSFC since Saturn rocket tests in the 1960s, generated 860,000 pounds of thrust. NASA
Sophisticated and lethal, growing in number, Islamic State and other extremist groups won't become a global force. Here's why.
BySeth G. Jones, Contributor
Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State Group/AP
Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim looked like any ubiquitous insurgent commander in southern Afghanistan. He had a sunbaked complexion, serried black beard, charcoal eyes, and the usual accessory – an AK-47 slung over his shoulder.