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July 14, 2014 - Perilous Descent

Perilous Descent The first lunar landing, which occurred forty-five years ago this week, almost didn’t happen at all. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin piloted the lunar module Eagle to a landing at the Sea of Tranquility, alarms rang out in the cabin as the spacecraft’s computer was overloaded with requests, an “overflow” condition that could have required the crew to abort the landing. Flight controllers on the ground quickly assessed that the crew could continue their descent despite the alarms, which continued to ring. Closer to the ground and running dangerously low on fuel, Armstrong avoided landing in a huge boulder-strewn crater and flew Eagle farther downrange until he found a suitable spot to land. Photographed by Armstrong, Aldrin is seen here as he prepares to step onto the Moon.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

July 14-20, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 14

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched

Moon phase Tuesday 15

Neptune 5° south of Moon

1975: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Apollo 18) launched, last Apollo mission
2004: Aura satellite launched
2009: STS-127 Endeavour launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-05M launched carrying ISS Expedition 32/33 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 16

 

1969: Apollo 11 launched
1994: First fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta

Moon phase Thursday 17

1850: John Adams Whipple takes first stellar photograph (Vega)
1970: Final HL-10 lifting body flight
1975: Apollo-Soyuz dock in orbit
1984: Soyuz T-12 launched, 100th human space flight

Moon phase Friday 18

Last Qtr Moon 10:08 PM ET
Uranus 1.4° south of Moon

1921: John Glenn born
1966:
Gemini X launched
1980: India becomes seventh nation to launch its own satellite

Moon phase Saturday 19

1846: Edward Pickering born
1967: Explorer 35 launched
1985: NASA selects Christa McAuliffe as first teacher to travel in space

Moon phase Sunday 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

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