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January 28, 2019 - Bruce on the Loose

Bruce on the Loose  Floating in space with a freedom never before experienced, astronaut Bruce McCandless put NASA’s new Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) through its paces during the ambitious STS-41B mission, which was launched 35 years ago this week. McCandless’s two-hour solo jaunt, during which he ventured over 90 meters (300 ft) from the shuttle Challenger, was the first time a spacewalking astronaut traveled without a safety tether. The MMU was maneuvered with a set of nitrogen thrusters that McCandless operated with joysticks located at the end of the arm rests. Astronaut Robert Stewart also spent nearly an hour testing the MMU. During the eight-day mission, Challenger’s crew of five also deployed the Palapa-B2 and Westar-VI communications satellites.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

January 28 - February 3, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 28

1611: Johannes Hevelius born
1986: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Tuesday 29

Mercury in superior conjunction

1964: SA-5 launched, first Saturn I Block 2 rocket
1989: Phobos 2 enters orbit around Mars

Moon phase Wednesday 30

Jupiter 3° south of Moon

1964: Ranger 6 launched

Moon phase Thursday 31

Venus 0.09° south of Moon

1958: Explorer 1 launched
1961: Mercury Redstone 2 suborbital flight with chimpanzee Ham
1966: Luna 9 launched
1971: Apollo 14 launched
1985: ESA approves the Columbus program

Moon phase Friday 1

1956: Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) established
1959: First Titan I launch
2003: Space shuttle Columbia destroyed during reentry; 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Saturday 2

Groundhog Day

Saturn 0.6° south of Moon
Pluto 0.6° south of Moon

Moon phase Sunday 3

1966: Luna 9 lands on Moon
1984: STS-41B Challenger launched
1994:
STS-60 Discovery launched
1995: STS-63 Discovery launched; Eileen Collins first woman shuttle pilot
2006
: Astronauts aboard the ISS launch SuitSat satellite

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