Spaceflight News

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

Magazine Data

Availability: News-stand           Issues per Year: 12
ISSN: 0268-4713           Barcode:
First Year: 1985           Last Year: 1991

Publisher: Spaceflight News Ltd
Country: United Kingdom         Language: English

Main Genre: space
Exclusively Aviation?: No

Status: Ceased

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 2.00 out of 5)


‘Spaceflight News’ was launched by editor Nigel Macknight as a follow-up to his partwork ‘Shuttle Story’. Initially published bi-monthly but monthly from April 1986. The magazine covered past and present manned US and Russian space missions – especially the Shuttle, and also NASA’s aerospace research programmes. Unfortunately, circulation was badly hit by the grounding of the Shuttle after the Challenger disaster, and the consequent lack of new missions to write about. The first issue was dated October/November 1985. Each issue comprised 46 pages with many b+w and colour photos. Ceased publication in 1991. * A subsidiary of Key Publishing Ltd.

See other aviation-related magazines from United Kingdom.

4 thoughts on “Spaceflight News

  1. I enjoyed this publication immensely and never once failed to buy a copy from my local newsagent . Unfortunately it was the decision of either the editor or the publisher to have the magazine as a subscription publication, which in my view killed it outright. As much as I relished buying a copy of this through my newsagent each month I was not prepared to subscribe for the whole year in one payment. Such a shame as I believe the magazine died a sudden death ecause it attempted to make itself too exclusive.

  2. I was the Editor/Publisher of ‘SFN’ throughout. I am Nigel Macknight.

    Key Publishing and me formed a joint company to publish the magazine, the idea for which I had approached them with in the early summer of 1985. As was mentioned, the mag got off to a difficult start when the 51-L mission disaster happened when I was literally at the printers in Kent delivering the third issue. Sales never got to where they needed to be for long-term commercial viability and Key subsidised the mag as a loss-leader all along the way, but with sales always dropping issue by issue they eventually decided to cut the cord, and offered me the chance to take over, which I took because the alternative was the magazine ceasing publication.

    We couldn’t get a distributor once the mag was cut free from the Key stable. That’s why it went to subscription-only. People who criticise the move to distribution-only simply don’t understand the brutal realities that faced me once Key let me and the mag go.

    There was no decision to make the mag ‘more exclusive’. I would have loved for it to remain on news-stand sale, as my aim was always to have a popular publication. When ‘SFN’ folded it was one of the worst times of my life and it hit me very hard in the pocket too. It happened. That’s life.

  3. Hi Nigel,

    I always loved getting my copy and just recently investing in a lot of back copies I found online for my son, who is into space so much. I wanted him to see and experience some of the times pre-internet so he could read and see the content.

    You produced a fantastic magazine and one I was very grateful for in my teens and early 20’s. I just wanted to go on record and say a huge thank you for the effort, the hard work, the incredible drive it must have taken to achieve this. I fully understand the publication issues having been an entrepreneur myself for the past three decades I know the hardships.

    I would say no matter how hard times must have seen at the time, you learnt from it and gained experience from it that will surely assist you in the work you undertake on the Quicksilver project. Being a pioneer in anything is difficult, I have done it too so I speak from experience.

    Thank you for such a superb magazine and you really did help me drive towards my first space company in the late ’90s that I since sold, and it came through being able to read and follow current news at the time.

    You were an inspiration with SFN’s and well done, compared to others in the marketplace you were streets ahead of the stuffy scientific magazines of the time. In my book, you did a 10 out of 10 good job. I will always remember the disappointment when my newsagent told me that the magazine was no longer available through them or possible to get hold of.

  4. Nigel,

    Spaceflight News was amazing thank you I bought this every month in pre internet days this was amazing . unfortunately Challenger happend but it was your magazine which through a dark time kept me going with hope for a return to flight which eventually happend with STS 26 – I took out the sub and got the free book on astronauts and cosmonauts which I still have but unfortunately thats when it folded – No hard feelings because you tried and you produced the best space flight magazine which was ever published !.

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