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August 4, 2014 - Another One for Uncle Sam

Another One for Uncle Sam A few weeks before its launch, the space shuttle Columbia is being readied on Launch Pad 39-B. STS-28, which began twenty-five years ago this week, was Columbia’s eighth mission, and the thirtieth of the shuttle program. It was also the fourth flight devoted to the Department of Defense, and though much of its activities were classified, it is known that during the five-day mission, Columbia deployed a reconnaissance satellite in a highly-inclined orbit. A “normal” shuttle orbit more or less follows the equator in an easterly direction, flying over the same swath of Earth on each orbit. An orbit tilted toward the poles allows a spacecraft to see more of the Earth as the Earth rotates below it on each orbit. Many military satellites take advantage of these inclined orbits.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 4-10, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 4

Saturn 0.07° north of Moon

1967: NASA announces sixth astronaut class
1984: First Ariane 3 launched
2007: Phoenix Mars Lander launched

Moon phase Tuesday 5

1930: Neil Armstrong born
1966: Final M2-F1 lifting body glide test
1969: Mariner 7 flies by Mars
: Juno spacecraft launched to Jupiter

Moon phase Wednesday 6

1961: Vostok 2 launched, first full-day human space mission, Gherman Titov first person to sleep in space
2012: Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity lands on Mars

Moon phase Thursday 7

Venus 7° south of Pollux

1959: Explorer 6 launched
1969: Zond 7 launched
1980: Viking 1 orbiter ceases operation
1997: STS-85 Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 8

Mercury in superior conjunction

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 launched
1989: Hipparcos observatory launched
1989: STS-28 Columbia launched
2001: Genesis spacecraft launched
2007: STS-118 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 9

1965: First static test of SIV-B stage
1976: Luna 24 launched

Moon phase Sunday 10

Full Moon 2:09 PM ET
Moon at perigee

1966: Lunar Orbiter I launched
1990: Magellan enters orbit around Venus
2001: STS-105 Discovery launched

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