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June 25, 2012 - No Rookies This Time

No Rookies This Time History was made fifteen years ago this week when, for the first time in NASA history, the exact same crew and payload were flown on a repeat mission. In April 1997, the STS-83 mission, with three space rookies aboard, ended prematurely (after just three days) due to a failed fuel cell. But NASA kept its primary payload, the first Microgravity Science Laboratory, loaded in Columbia’s cargo bay, refurbished the spacecraft, and managed to relaunch the mission just three months later. Renumbered STS-94, Columbia and its crew of seven (all of whom could claim space veteran status now) spent a full sixteen days in orbit evaluating equipment racks for future use in the International Space Station, and testing materials and combustion properties in zero gravity.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

June 25 - July 1, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 25

1894: Hermann Oberth born
1992: STS-50 Columbia launched
1997: Progress spacecraft collides with Mir Spektr module
1999: Gemini North telescope dedicated

Moon phase Tuesday 26

Mars 6° north of Moon
First Quarter Moon 11:30 PM ET

1730: Charles Messier born
1963: Syncom 2 satellite launched
1984: First space shuttle launch pad abort (STS-41D)

Moon phase Wednesday 27

Venus appears stationary

1982: STS-4 Columbia launched
1995: STS-71 Atlantis launched
1997: NEAR-Shoemaker probe flies by asteroid Mathilde

Moon phase Thursday 28

Saturn 6° north of Moon

Moon phase Friday 29

Pluto at opposition

1868: George Ellery Hale born
1961: Transit 4A launched, first nuclear-powered satellite
1971: Soyuz 11 crew dies during reentry

Moon phase Saturday 30

Mercury at greatest elongation (26° E)

1908: Tunguska impact levels hundreds of miles of Siberian forest
2001: WMAP spacecraft launched

Moon phase Sunday 1

Canada Day (Canada)

Moon at perigee

1917: 100” mirror arrives at Mt. Wilson Observatory
1972: Wernher von Braun retires from NASA
1997: STS-94 Columbia launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.