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January 29, 2018 - Hail Columbia

Hail Columbia  What began as an ambitious mission ended fifteen years ago this week as a tragedy that redefined NASA. When the shuttle Columbia ascended to orbit on the 16-day STS-107 microgravity and Earth science mission, 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, the shuttle fleet was 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 spacecraft for human flights to the Moon and Mars. This image from orbit was taken just a few days before the fateful end of STS-107.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

January 29 - February 4, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 29

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

Moon phase Tuesday 30

Moon at perigee

1964: Ranger 6 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 31

Ceres at opposition
Full Moon 8:28 AM ET

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 Thursday 1

Regulus 1° south 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 Friday 2

Groundhog Day

Moon phase Saturday 3

1966: Luna 9 lands on Moon
1984: STS-41B Challenger launched
STS-60 Discovery launched
1995: STS-63 Discovery launched; Eileen Collins first woman shuttle pilot
: Astronauts aboard the ISS launch SuitSat satellite

Moon phase Sunday 4

1906: Clyde Tombaugh born

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