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July 20, 2015 - Return to Flight

Return to Flight  After the shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, which claimed the lives of seven astronauts, NASA grounded the remaining three shuttles until the cause of the accident was determined and new procedures were put in place to prevent similar accidents. It was more than two years before a shuttle flew again, and when Discovery lifted off ten years ago this week, one of its goals, in addition to delivering supplies to the International Space Station, was to test new methods to recognize and repair any damage the shuttle may incur during the trip to orbit. The crew used Atlantis’s robot arm to inspect the orbiter, and later, astronaut Stephen Robinson (seen here) rode the station’s robot arm to remove two pieces of gap-filler material from between the heat-shielding tiles on the underside of Atlantis.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

July 20-26, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 20

1969: Apollo 11 astronauts become first humans walk on Moon
1976: Viking 1 lands on Mars
1999: Liberty Bell 7 capsule recovered from Atlantic Ocean after 38 years

Moon phase Tuesday 21

Moon at apogee

1961: Liberty Bell 7 suborbital flight; capsule sinks in Atlantic Ocean
1969: Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle lifts off from Moon

Moon phase Wednesday 22

1784: Friedrich Bessel born
1994: Last fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter

Moon phase Thursday 23

Venus appears stationary
Mercury in superior conjunction

1972: Landsat 1 launched
1999: STS-93 Columbia launched, deploys Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Moon phase Friday 24

First Qtr Moon 12:04 AM ET

1950: First rocket launched from Cape Canaveral
1969: Apollo 11 crew returns to Earth
1975: Apollo-Soyuz crew returns to Earth, last US splashdown
2009: Canaries Great Telescope dedicated

Moon phase Saturday 25

Ceres at opposition

1978: Viking 2 orbiter ceases operation
1984: Svetlana Savitskaya becomes first woman to walk in space
2000: Zvezda Service Module docks with International Space Station

Moon phase Sunday 26

Saturn 2° south of Moon
Uranus appears stationary

1958: Explorer IV launched
1971: Apollo 15 launched, fourth lunar landing mission, first mission to use lunar rover
2005: STS-114 Discovery launched

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