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April 27, 2020 - Shuttle Monkey Business

Shuttle Monkey Business  When the space shuttle Challenger lifted off thirty-five years ago this week on the STS-51B mission, it carried a crew of seven astronauts on a dedicated Spacelab mission designed to provide a high-quality microgravity environment for delicate materials processing and fluid experiments. Spacelab was also a life sciences laboratory, and aboard Challenger were two dozen rodents and two squirrel monkeys, who were observed for the effects of weightlessness during the week-long mission. To avoid an emotional public response to a possible in-flight casualty to the monkeys, NASA chose to forego naming the two simians and simply referred to them as 3165 and 384-80. The precaution, it turns out, was ultimately unnecessary, as the monkeys (and rats and crew) survived.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 27 - May 3, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 27

Venus greatest illuminated extent

Tuesday 28

1900: Jan Oort born
1906: Bart Bok born
Eugene Shoemaker born
STS-39 Discovery launched
Soyuz TM-32 launched; Dennis Tito becomes first space tourist
GALEX launched
CloudSat and CALIPSO launched

Wednesday 29

1985: STS-51B Challenger launched

Thursday 30

First Qtr Moon 4:38 PM ET

2017: Soyuz MS-04 launched carrying ISS Expedition 51/52 crew

Friday 1

1949: Gerard Kuiper discovers Nereid, moon of Neptune
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Sun

Saturday 2

Astronomy Day (Spring)

Sunday 3

2003: ISS Expedition Six crew returns to Earth after 161 days in orbit

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