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August 31, 2015 - Paring Down Apollo

Paring Down Apollo  At its most optimistic moment, NASA had planned a total ten Apollo lunar landing missions, stretching all the way out to Apollo 20. That final mission was canceled early in 1970 so its launch vehicle could be repurposed for launching the Skylab orbital workshop. Congressional budget pressures and flagging public interest in lunar exploration prompted the cancellation of the final two missions forty-five years ago this week. Three canceled missions and the aborted Apollo 13 mission meant that four once-targeted lunar destinations were never visited: Censorius Crater, Marius Hills, Tycho Crater, and Copernicus Crater. This dramatic low-angle view across Copernicus, a 93 km-wide (57 mi) impact crater with a prominent central peak, was taken by the Lunar Orbiter II spacecraft in 1966.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 31 - September 6, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 31

Moon phase Tuesday 1

Neptune at opposition
Uranus 1.1° north of Moon

1964: First Titan IIIA launched
1979: Pioneer 11 becomes first spacecraft to fly past Saturn

Moon phase Wednesday 2

Moon phase Thursday 3

1970: NASA cancels last two planned lunar landings
1976: Viking 2 lands on Mars
2006: SMART-1 spacecraft intentionally crashed into Moon

Moon phase Friday 4

Mercury at greatest elongation (27° E)

Moon phase Saturday 5

Aldebaran 0.5° south of Moon
Venus stationary
Last Qtr Moon 5:54 AM ET

1964: OGO-1 launched
1977: Voyager 1 launched

Moon phase Sunday 6

1947: First rocket launch (V-2) from an aircraft carrier
1983: STS-8 Challenger makes first shuttle night landing
2013: LADEE lunar orbiter launched

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