January 26, 2015

STS-103 Hubble Servicing Mission Launch (1999)

Servicing Mission 3A, flown by Discovery for the STS-103 mission, was a split-off from Servicing Mission 3 after three of the six onboard gyroscopes had failed. A fourth failed a few weeks before the mission, rendering the telescope incapable of performing scientific observations. The mission replaced all six gyroscopes, replaced a Fine Guidance Sensor and the computer, installed a Voltage/temperature Improvement Kit (VIK) to prevent battery overcharging, and replaced thermal insulation … [Read more...]

Apollo 12 Launch (1969)

Apollo 12 mission patch

Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. It launched four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms. … [Read more...]

Launch of Apollo 11 (1969)

Apollo 11 mission patch

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC. Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Armstrong spent about two and a half hours outside the spacecraft, Aldrin slightly less, and together they collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material for return to Earth. The third member of the mission, Michael Collins, piloted the command … [Read more...]

Hubble Space Telescope Launch (1990)

Hubble Space Telescope deployment

STS-31 was the thirty-fifth mission of the American Space Shuttle program, which launched the Hubble Space Telescope astronomical observatory into Earth orbit. The mission used the Space Shuttle Discovery (the tenth for this orbiter), which lifted off from Launch Complex 39B on 24 April 1990 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Discovery's crew deployed the telescope on 25 April, and spent the rest of the mission tending to various scientific experiments in the shuttle's payload bay and … [Read more...]

First Space Shuttle Launch (1981)

STS-1 mission patch

STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The first orbiter, Columbia, launched on 12 April 1981 and returned on 14 April, 54.5 hours later, having orbited the Earth 37 times. Columbia carried a crew of two – mission commander John W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen. It was the first American manned space flight since theApollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. STS-1 was also the only maiden test flight of a new US spacecraft to carry a crew, though it was made possible by … [Read more...]

Apollo 13 Launch (1970)

Apollo 13 crew

Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to … [Read more...]

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (1986)

STS-51L crew

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 EST (16:38 UTC). Disintegration of the vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a … [Read more...]