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November 14, 2016 - Columbia Returns to Earth

Columbia Returns to Earth  The orbiter Columbia glides in for a dawn landing at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility on December 7, 1996. Launched twenty years ago this week, STS-80 deployed and retrieved two research satellites: the Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer-Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II) ultraviolet observatory and the disk-shaped Wake Shield Facility-3 (WSF-3), which grew semiconductor films inside an “ultra-vacuum” environment. During nearly eighteen days in space, Columbia traveled a total of 11.2 million km (7 million mi) and completed 279 orbits. It was the twenty-first flight of NASA’s flagship Columbia orbiter, which was tragically lost along with the crew of STS-107 during reentry on February 1, 2003.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 14-20, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 14

Full Moon 8:52 AM ET
Moon at perigee

1969: Apollo 12 launched, second lunar landing mission
2008: STS-126 Endeavour launched
2011: Soyuz TMA-22 launched carrying ISS Expedition 29/30 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 15

Aldebaran 0.4° south of Moon

1738: William Herschel born
1973: First powered flight of X-24B lifting body
1988: Green Bank 300-foot radio telescope collapses
1988: Soviet Shuttle Buran launched

Moon phase Wednesday 16

1962: Saturn SA-3 launched
1973: Skylab 4 crew launched on 84-day mission
1974: Interstellar message broadcast from Arecibo radio telescope
2009: STS-129 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Thursday 17

Leonid meteor shower

1970: Luna 17 lands on Moon; Lunokhod 1 rover becomes first wheeled vehicle on Moon
2016: Soyuz MS-03 launched carrying ISS Expedition 50/51 crew

Moon phase Friday 18

Mercury 3° north of Antares
Leonid meteor shower

1923: Alan Shepard born
1989: Cosmic Background Explorer launched
2013: MAVEN spacecraft launched to Mars

Moon phase Saturday 19

1969: Apollo 12 makes second lunar landing
1996: STS-80 Columbia launched
1997: STS-87 Columbia launched
2005: Hayabusa spacecraft makes first liftoff from an asteroid

Moon phase Sunday 20

Neptune appears stationary

1889: Edwin Hubble born
1998: Zarya module launched, first element of International Space Station
2002: First Delta IV launched
2004: Swift spacecraft launched

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