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March 11, 2019 - Switchboard in Space

Switchboard in Space  The STS-29 crew thundered to orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery 30 years ago this week. Just six hours after launch, they deployed the fourth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), which operated until 2011 as part of a constellation of nine TDRS communications satellites that provide nearly continuous tracking and high-bandwidth communications for scores of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, launch vehicles, long-duration balloons, and a research station in Antarctica.  Discovery’s crew of five also conducted a number of student-designed experiments during their five days in orbit. One experiment tested whether the environmental effects of space flight inhibit bone healing in rats; another experiment determined the effects of space flight on fertilized chicken embryos.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

March 11 - 17, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 11

Mars 6° north of Moon

1811: Urbain Le Verrier born
1965: Pioneer 5 launched
2008: STS-123 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Tuesday 12

1835: Simon Newcomb born
1981: Victor Savinykh becomes 100th person to travel in space, Soyuz T-4 mission
2015: Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission launched

Moon phase Wednesday 13

1781: William Herschel discovers Uranus
1855: Percival Lowell born
1989: STS-29 Discovery launched

Moon phase Thursday 14

First Qtr Moon 6:27 AM ET
Mercury in inferior conjunction

1835: Giovanni Schiaparelli born
1879: Albert Einstein born
1934: Gene Cernan born
1986: Giotto flies by Halley’s Comet
1995: Soyuz TM-21 launched, first Russian mission with American on board
2016: ExoMars launched
2019: Soyuz MS-12 launched carrying ISS Expedition 59/60 crew

Moon phase Friday 15

1713: Nicolas de Lacaille born
1932: Alan Bean born
1975: Helios 1 launched
2009: STS-119 Discovery launched

Moon phase Saturday 16

1750: Caroline Herschel born
1926: Robert Goddard launches first liquid fuel rocket
1966: Gemini VIII launched
1975: Mariner 10’s 3rd Mercury flyby

Moon phase Sunday 17

St. Patrick’s Day

1930: Jim Irwin born
1958: Vanguard 1 launched, first solar-powered satellite
1972: NASA issues request for proposals for Space Shuttle
2011: MESSENGER becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mercury

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