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September 2, 2013 - Night Flight

Night Flight Lifting off into a pitch-black Florida sky, the STS-8 mission was unlike any previous shuttle mission. Not only was it the first shuttle to launch at night, but among Challenger’s five-person crew was Mission Specialist Guion Bluford, the first African-American in space. Thirty years ago this week, at the end of its six-day mission, Challenger entered the history books yet again as the first shuttle to make a night landing, an event that occurred only twenty-six times in the program’s history. Since that first time at Edwards Air Force Base in California, five other shuttles have made night landings at Edwards, the last being STS-114 in 2005. The rest have landed at the Kennedy Space Center. Seen here, the shuttle Atlantis ends the STS-135 mission—and the shuttle program—with a night landing in 2011.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

September 2-8, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 2

Labor Day

Mars 6° north of Moon

Moon phase Tuesday 3

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

Moon phase Wednesday 4

Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset

Moon phase Thursday 5

New Moon 7:36 AM ET
Venus 1.8° north of Spica

1964: OGO-1 launched
1977: Voyager 1 launched

Moon phase Friday 6

1947: First rocket launch (V-2) from an aircraft carrier
1983: STS-8 Challenger makes first shuttle night landing
2013: LADEE lunar orbiter launched

Moon phase Saturday 7

1995: STS-69 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Sunday 8

Spica 0.8° south of Moon
Venus 0.4° north of Moon

1966: “Star Trek” premieres
1967: Surveyor 5 launched
2000: STS-106 Atlantis launched
2004: Genesis spacecraft crash-lands on return to Earth

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