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April 30, 2018 - Start of the Skeleton Crew

Start of the Skeleton Crew  When the three members of Expedition 6 crew—Kenneth Bowersox, Nikolai Budarin, and Donald Pettit (seen here during a spacewalk)—departed the International Space Station 15 years ago this week, it marked the start of a three-year period during which the ISS was maintained primarily with a skeleton crew of two, instead of the usual three. The reason for this downsizing was that after the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed during re-entry in February 2003, NASA’s space shuttle fleet was indefinitely grounded, leaving crew transportation and resupply solely in the hands of the Russians and their smaller Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Crew sizes increased again when the shuttle began ferrying Expedition crew members to the ISS in 2006..

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 30 - May 6, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 30

Jupiter 4° south of Moon

2017: Soyuz MS-04 launched carrying ISS Expedition 51/52 crew

Tuesday 1

1949: Gerard Kuiper discovers Nereid, moon of Neptune
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Sun

Wednesday 2

Thursday 3

Venus 7° north of Aldebaran

2003: ISS Expedition Six crew returns to Earth after 161 days in orbit

Friday 4

Saturn 1.7° south of Moon

1967: Lunar Orbiter IV launched
1989: STS-30 Atlantis launched, releases Magellan spacecraft
2002: Aqua satellite launched

Saturday 5

Cinco de Mayo

Moon at apogee
Eta Aquarid meteor shower

1961: Freedom 7 suborbital flight; Alan Shepard is first American in space

Sunday 6

Mars 3° south of Moon
Eta Aquarid meteor shower

1968: Neil Armstrong ejects safely from Lunar Landing Research Vehicle before it crashes
1975: NASA announces that Canada will build the Shuttle robot arm

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