August 30, 2010 - NASA Drops the Axe

NASA Drops the Axe In a statement made forty years ago this week, NASA Administrator Thomas Paine announced that, due to increasingly severe budget cuts, two of the remaining eight planned lunar landings would be canceled. One mission, originally designated Apollo 15, was to have been the last “H” series mission (without a lunar rover). The other canceled mission, Apollo 19, would have been the third “J” series mission (with a lunar rover) and would have landed within the crater Copernicus. The remaining missions were renumbered to remain consecutive, and Apollo 17 became the sixth and final lunar landing mission. The image above depicts Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the Moon, saluting the flag at the Taurus Littrow landing site in December 1972.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 30 - September 5, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 30

1963: Lunar Orbiter program approved by NASA
1983: STS-8 Challenger launched
1984: STS-41D Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 31

Moon phase Wednesday 1

Last Quarter Moon 1:22 PM ET
Venus 1.2° south of Spica

1964: First Titan IIIA launched
1979: Pioneer 11 becomes first spacecraft to fly past Saturn

Moon phase Thursday 2

Moon phase Friday 3

Mercury in inferior conjunction

1970: NASA cancels last two planned lunar landings
1976: Viking 2 lands on Mars
2006: SMART-1 spacecraft intentionally crashed into Moon

Moon phase Saturday 4

Mars 2° north of Spica

Moon phase Sunday 5

1964: OGO-1 launched
1977: Voyager 1 launched

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