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April 7, 2014 - West Coast Landing

West Coast Landing The first flight of the Space Radar Laboratory began twenty years ago this week when the space shuttle Endeavour lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew of the STS-59 mission spent eleven days in orbit, working primarily with two radar cameras as part of NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth. The Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) was able to illuminate Earth with multiple frequencies and polarizations of radar waves, allowing the camera to see clearly through clouds, fog, and haze. While the radar cameras on board made light work of bad weather, Endeavour itself could not: clouds and high winds in Florida kept the crew in orbit an extra day and forced them to land instead at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 7-13, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 7

First Qtr Moon 4:31 AM ET

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

Moon phase Tuesday 8

Moon at apogee
Mars at opposition

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

Wednesday 9

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

Thursday 10

1919: John C. Houbolt born

Friday 11

Juno in conjunction with Sun

1960: Project Ozma started
1970: Apollo 13 launched
1980: Viking 2 lander mission ends
1984: Challenger retrieves Solar Max
1986: Halley’s Comet closest to Earth

Saturday 12

Yuri's Night World Space Party

Venus 0.7° north of Neptune

1961: Yuri Gagarin first human in space
1981: STS-1 Columbia launched
1985: STS-51D Discovery launched

Sunday 13

Palm Sunday

Vesta at opposition

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