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January 5, 2015 - Pickup and Delivery

Pickup and Delivery  Launched twenty-five years ago this week, the STS-32 mission was the first of sixty-four shuttle flights that would take place in the 1990s. Columbia was making its ninth flight into space, carrying a crew of five astronauts on an eleven-day mission. Two main objectives of STS-32 were the deployment of the SYNCOM IV-F5 satellite and the retrieval of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), a school-bus-sized experiment rack that exposed various material samples to the harsh environment of outer space. Deployed in April 1984, LDEF was originally scheduled to spend less than a year in space, but mission delays and the Challenger accident prevented its retrieval until 1990. During its six years in orbit, LDEF, shown here just prior to retrieval, orbited Earth 32,422 times.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

January 5-11, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 5

1969: Venera 5 launched
1972: President Nixon announces approval to develop the Space Shuttle
2005: UB313 (Eris) discovered, ignites the Pluto-Planet debate

Moon phase Tuesday 6


1998: Lunar Prospector launched

Moon phase Wednesday 7

1610: Galileo discovers Callisto, Europa, & Io
1964: First power tool for space demonstrated
1968: Surveyor 7 launched

Moon phase Thursday 8

Jupiter 5° north of Moon

1587: Johann Fabricius born
1942: Stephen Hawking born
1973: Luna 21 & Lunokhod 2 launched
1987: Challenger debris buried

Moon phase Friday 9

Moon at apogee

1839: Thomas Henderson publishes distance to Alpha Centauri
1968: Surveyor 7 lands on Moon
1990: STS-32 Columbia launched

Moon phase Saturday 10

Venus 0.7° from Mercury

1946: U.S. Army bounces radar signal off the Moon
1969: Venera 6 launched

Moon phase Sunday 11

Vesta in conjunction with Sun

1978: First triple docking: Soyuz 26, Soyuz 27, Salyut 6
1996: STS-72 Endeavour launched
1998: Lunar Prospector arrives at Moon

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