July 4, 2011 - Do-It-Yourself Shuttle Repair

Do-It-Yourself Shuttle Repair When the space shuttle Discovery lifted off five years ago this week, one of its main objectives was to test various methods of in-flight repair of any damage that might occur to an orbiter’s delicate heat shield. The exercises were prompted by the STS-107 Columbia disaster three years earlier, which was caused by a section of heat shield damaged during liftoff. Astronaut Piers Sellers (seen here during the third and final space walk of the STS-121 mission) and crew mate Mike Fossum spent over seven hours practicing repair work on pre-damaged samples of heat shield materials that were brought into space on a special pallet in Discovery’s payload bay. The STS-121 crew also delivered over two tons of cargo to the ISS, including a new cycling machine for physical fitness.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

July 4-10, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 4

Independence Day

Earth at aphelion

1054: Crab Nebula supernova observed
1997: Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars
2005: Deep Impact probe collides with comet Tempel 1
: STS-121 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 5

1966: Apollo-Saturn 203 launched
1982: Space Shuttle Challenger arrives at Kennedy Space Center for first time

Moon phase Wednesday 6

Mars 5° north of Aldebaran

1687: Isaac Newton publishes his Principia

Moon phase Thursday 7

Moon at perigee

1995: Final test flight of DC-X rocket
1998: First satellite launch from a submarine
2003: Mars rover Opportunity launched

Moon phase Friday 8

First Quarter Moon 2:29 AM ET
Saturn 8° north of Moon

1994: STS-65 Columbia launched
2009: First flight test of Max Launch Abort System
2011: STS-135 Atlantis launched, final shuttle mission

Moon phase Saturday 9

1945: White Sands Missile Range opens
1979: Voyager 2 flies past Jupiter

Moon phase Sunday 10

Uranus appears stationary

1962: Telstar 1 launched, allowing transatlantic transmission of TV signals
1992: Giotto spacecraft flies past comet Grigg-Skjellerup

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