Russell Lewis

One of NASA's first employees, key to creating the U.S. space program, has died at 95. Chris Kraft was the agency's first flight director and managed all of the Mercury missions, as well some of the Gemini flights. He was a senior planner during the Apollo lunar program. Later he led the Johnson Space Center in Houston and oversaw development of the space shuttle.

The U.S. women's soccer team is still the world's best after dominating the Netherlands in the Women's World Cup final and winning 2-0. Throughout the tournament, the U.S. brushed aside criticism, complaints of arrogance and calls for the team to tone down their goal celebrations. All the team did was win. All seven World Cup games, in fact.

It was the battle of unbeatens at this Women's World Cup. Both teams were 5-0. The U.S. — the defending and three-time World Cup champion — and England — which was ranked third in the world but had never advanced past the semifinals. The game in Lyon, France, lived up to its billing with the U.S defeating England 2-1 to advance to Sunday's final.

Pick your superlative and chances are someone, somewhere used it to describe this game at some point. Epic. Intense. Pressure-packed. Match of the tournament. Regardless of the term, the Women's World Cup quarterfinal game lived up to the hype. One versus four. Defending champion against the host country favorite. The U.S. was crisp and powerful from the first whistle until the final one. It beat France 2-1.

The Women's World Cup game that had been hoped for and hyped for months is finally here: U.S. vs. France. One vs. four. Defending World Cup champion vs. hometown favorite. Friday's game is expected to be the best game of this tournament so far. It's almost a shame it's just a quarterfinal match instead of the final. These two teams have shined this tournament. The winner advances, and the loser heads home.

Kickoff in Paris is at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox and Telemundo. The winner advances to a semifinal match against England on Tuesday.

It wasn't easy, pretty or elegant. But the U.S. Women's National Team battled to beat Spain in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup. The U.S. had an easy road in this tournament. Until Monday. Spain, playing in its second World Cup, looked like it had been there many times before. But in the end, it was not enough. The U.S. defeated Spain 2-1.

The U.S. has shown few weaknesses in its march through the Women's World Cup in France. But now the competition gets harder and the stakes are higher in the knockout round of the monthlong tournament. The first U.S. test comes Monday against Spain in the round of 16 (kickoff is noon ET and broadcast on FS1 and Telemundo).

The U.S. got a little redemption at the Women's World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Sweden. The U.S. powered to the win with a strong defense and relentless attack. It was the hardest game yet for the Americans and shows the team is in top form as it enters the knockout round to defend its World Cup title.

The United States Women's National Team continued to show why it's the best team in the world with another stellar performance in the Women's World Cup. The U.S. defeated Chile 3-0 before a sell-out crowd in Paris.

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The top-ranked U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is back on the field Saturday afternoon playing against number four England in Nashville, Tenn. The SheBelieves Cup also includes top-ten powerhouses Brazil and Japan. The U.S. and Japan played to a 2-2 tie on Wednesday.

When Nancy Grace Roman was a child, her favorite object to draw was the moon.

Her mother used to take her on walks under the nighttime sky and show her constellations, or point out the colorful swirls of the aurora. Roman loved to look up at the stars and imagine.

Eventually, her passion for stargazing blossomed into a career as a renowned astronomer. Roman was one of the first female executives at NASA, where she served as the agency's first chief of astronomy.

Fifty years ago Friday, on Dec. 21, 1968, Apollo 8 lifted off, marking the first time humans left low Earth orbit and flew to the moon.

This was the second manned spaceflight of the Apollo program, and it was a nerve-wracking and remarkable flight that captured the world's attention. The mission capped a difficult and conflict-filled year in the U.S., offering a rare moment when people could feel good about their planet.

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All this year, we've been taking a look back at the events of 1968. It was a remarkable time in this country's history. It included raging protests, political assassinations and racial strife. But on this day, 50 years ago, Apollo 8 lifted off.

Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon who later chronicled the experience as an artist, died Saturday in Houston after a short illness. He was 86.

Bean was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing, in 1969.

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There was a beautiful moment at the Olympics last night that might have gone unnoticed. Two U.S. athletes won medals for the first time. But that is not the story, as NPR's Russell Lewis reports from Pyeongchang.

John Young, who was one of NASA's most experienced astronauts and the first to fly in space six times, including a moon landing, died on Friday after complications from pneumonia. He was 87.

In NASA's history, few astronauts were more accomplished than John Young. His career was filled with firsts: he was the first to fly in space six times. He was on the first Gemini mission and he commanded the first shuttle flight. (He was also one of 12 people to walk on the moon.)

NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless has died at the age of 80, NASA announced Friday. You may not know his name, but you most likely have seen him in one of the most famous pictures ever taken in space. In 1984, McCandless strapped on a jet-powered backpack and flew away from the shuttle, by himself, untethered, with Earth as a backdrop. It was the first time an astronaut had ever floated freely in space; McCandless had helped develop the technology.

Astronaut Dick Gordon who flew to the moon but never got a chance to walk on the surface has died at his California home at age 88, according to NASA.

NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said, "Dick will be fondly remembered as one of our nation's boldest flyers, a man who added to our own nation's capabilities by challenging his own. He will be missed."

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For more on the shooting, let's turn to Democratic congressman Vicente Gonzalez. He represents Texas's 15th congressional district, of which Sutherland Springs is a part. Good morning, Congressman.

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Nothing like waiting until the last minute — or, in this case, the final game — of World Cup qualifying to see if the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will make next year's tournament in Russia.

A lot is on the line for the U.S. squad: The team has made the last seven tournaments. When it comes to the world's biggest sporting event, there are a lot of numbers. Consider:

  • The World Cup is played every four years and qualifying takes two years.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I want to bring in another voice now, NPR's Russell Lewis. He is in Fort Myers, Fla., at our member station WGCU. Hey there, Russell.

RUSSELL LEWIS, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team was back in a familiar position Wednesday night — playing to win the Gold Cup. It was a record 10th time the U.S. has reached the finals of the biennial CONCACAF tournament, which crowns the continental champion of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

An 88th-minute goal by forward Jordan Morris, off a deflection up the middle after a Gyasi Zardes cross, gave the Americans a 2-1 win over Jamaica. It's the team's fifth title in the past nine Gold Cups.

The U.S. women's national soccer team got some disappointing (and not unexpected) news Friday — it fell out of first place in the FIFA world rankings for the first time in years. The demotion follows a last-place finish in a U.S.-hosted tournament of some of the world's best teams earlier this month.

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

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