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August 6, 2012 - Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise Before the space shuttle could make its first flight into space, NASA needed to test the spacecraft’s ability to glide to a landing on a runway. During 1977, the Approach and Landing Test program put the shuttle Enterprise through its paces. Never designed for flight in space, Enterprise was an atmospheric test vehicle that made several captive flights attached to the top of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a converted Boeing 747. Thirty-five years ago this week, Enterprise, outfitted with an aerodynamic tail cone, made its first free-flight, as astronauts Gordon Fullerton and Fred Haise piloted Enterprise on a 5 minute, 21 second glide. Enterprise completed four more glide tests, the final two of which did not use the tail cone, simulating the actual configuration of an orbiter returning from space.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 6-12, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 6

Uranus 5° south of Moon

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 Tuesday 7

Mercury appears stationary

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

Moon phase Wednesday 8

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 Thursday 9

Last Quarter Moon 2:55 PM ET
Pallas appears stationary

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

Moon phase Friday 10

Moon at apogee

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

Moon phase Saturday 11

Jupiter 0.1° north of Moon

1960: Discoverer 13 capsule becomes first object recovered from orbit
1962
: Vostok 3 launched

Moon phase Sunday 12

Mars 1.9° north of Spica
Perseid meteor shower

1877: Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, moon of Mars
1960: Echo 1 satellite launched on first successful Delta rocket
1962: Vostok 4 launched
1977: HEAO-1 launched
1977: Space shuttle Enterprise’s first glide test
2005: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched

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