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September 24, 2018 - A New and Improved Shuttle

A New and Improved Shuttle  For 32 months after the January 1986 Challenger disaster, the space shuttle program had no flights. During that time the shuttle fleet was overhauled and made safer, with the greatest modifications occurring in the solid rocket boosters and the space shuttle main engines. Other safety improvements included the addition of partial pressure suits for the astronauts, and a telescopic emergency escape pole to slide down during the gliding phase of a mission. Operational flights began again with mission STS-26 as the shuttle Discovery was launched thirty years ago this week. Discovery is seen here just after midnight on 4 July 1988, as it is being rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building en route to Launch Pad 39B in preparation for that launch.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

September 24 - 30, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 24

Full Moon 10:53 PM ET

1930: John Young born
1962: MOOSE astronaut rescue system proposed
1970: Luna 16 returns lunar soil samples
1999: IKONOS-1 launched
2014: Mars Orbiter Mission enters orbit around Mars

Moon phase Tuesday 25

1973: 59-day Skylab 3 mission ends
1992: Mars Observer launched
1997: STS-86 Atlantis launched
2008: Shenzhou 7 launched
2013Soyuz TMA-10M launched carrying ISS Expedition 37/38 crew
2014Soyuz TMA-14M launched carrying ISS Expedition 41/42 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 26

Moon phase Thursday 27

Uranus 5° north of Moon

1814: Daniel Kirkwood born
2007: Dawn spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 28

Moon phase Saturday 29

1977: Salyut 6 space station launched
1988: STS-26 Discovery launched, first shuttle flight since Challenger disaster
2001: First satellite launch from Alaska
2009: MESSENGER makes its third and final flyby of Mercury

Moon phase Sunday 30

Pluto appears stationary

1880: Henry Draper takes first photograph of Orion Nebula
1994: STS-68 Endeavour launched
1995: Daily communication with Pioneer 11 ends
2005Soyuz TMA-7 launched carrying ISS Expedition 12 crew
2009Soyuz TMA-16 launched carrying ISS Expedition 21/22 crew
2016: Rosetta mission ends with controlled descent to surface of Comet 67P

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