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April 2, 2018 - Moon Rocket Redux

Moon Rocket Redux  Apollo 6, the second uncrewed test flight of the mighty Saturn V Moon rocket, lifted off fifty years ago this week. The mission aimed not only to test the launch vehicle’s capabilities, but also to send the combined Command / Service Module partly on its way to the Moon, then abruptly reverse direction and return to Earth. This maneuver would simulate an in-flight abort as well as test the ability of the Apollo capsule to withstand the high-speed reentry expected when crews actually returned from the Moon. In flight, the Saturn V experienced some engine oscillations and other anomalies that required changes to the mission plan, but overall Apollo 6 was so successful that NASA decided that the next Saturn V flight, Apollo 8, would carry a crew of three astronauts into lunar orbit.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 2 - 8, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 2

Easter Monday (Canada)

Mars 1.3°  south of Saturn

1845: First photograph of Sun taken
2010: Soyuz TMA-18 launched carrying ISS Expedition 23/24 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 3

Jupiter 4° south of Moon

1966: Luna 10 becomes first spacecraft to orbit the Moon
1973: Salyut 2 space station launched

Moon phase Wednesday 4

1930: American Rocket Society founded
1968: Apollo 6 launched
1983: STS-6 Challenger launched
1997: STS-83 Columbia launched
2000: First commercial mission to Mir
2011: Soyuz TMA-21 launched carrying ISS Expedition 27/28 crew

Moon phase Thursday 5

1973: Pioneer 11 launched
1975: Soyuz 18-1, first in-flight abort
1990: Pegsat launched
1991: STS-37 Atlantis launched
2010: STS-131 Discovery launched

Friday 6

1965: Early Bird (Intelsat 1) launched
1984: STS-41C Challenger launched

Saturday 7

Saturn 1.9° south of Moon
Mars 3° south of Moon

1991: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory deployed
2001: Mars Odyssey Orbiter launched
2007: ISS Expedition 15 crew launched

Moon phase Sunday 8

Moon at apogee
Last Qtr Moon 3:18 AM ET

1964: Gemini I launched
1966: OAO-1 launched
1993: STS-56 Discovery launched
2002: STS-110 Atlantis launched
2008: ISS Expedition 17 crew launched

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