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January 28, 2013 - Remembering Columbia

Remembering Columbia Ten years ago this week the space shuttle Columbia tragically ended its sixteen-day multi-disciplinary microgravity and Earth science mission. During the ascent to orbit, a piece of insulating foam struck and damaged the leading edge of the orbiter’s left wing. During reentry, hot gases penetrated inside the damaged area, causing the orbiter to become unstable and disintegrate. All seven astronauts aboard perished. As a result of the accident, all shuttles were grounded until 2005, and NASA embarked on a new era in space exploration that involved retiring the shuttle fleet in 2011 and developing the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for human flights to the Moon, Mars, and near-Earth asteroids. This image from orbit was taken just a few days before the fateful end of STS-107.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

January 28 - February 3, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 28

1611: Johannes Hevelius born
1986: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Tuesday 29

1964: SA-5 launched, first Saturn I Block 2 rocket
1989: Phobos 2 enters orbit around Mars

Moon phase Wednesday 30

Jupiter appears stationary

1964: Ranger 6 launched

Moon phase Thursday 31

1958: Explorer 1 launched
1961: Mercury Redstone 2 suborbital flight with chimpanzee Ham
1966: Luna 9 launched
1971: Apollo 14 launched
1985: ESA approves the Columbus program

Moon phase Friday 1

Spica 0.3° north of Moon

1956: Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) established
1959: First Titan I launch
2003: Space shuttle Columbia destroyed during reentry; 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Saturday 2

Groundhog Day

Moon phase Sunday 3

Saturn 3° north of Moon
Last Quarter Moon 8:56 AM ET

1966: Luna 9 lands on Moon
1984: STS-41B Challenger launched
STS-60 Discovery launched
1995: STS-63 Discovery launched
: Astronauts aboard the ISS launch SuitSat satellite

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