This Day In Astro History


April 12 - Happy Yuri's Night!

2002 - Sean O-Keefe Sean O'Keefe, new NASA Administrator outlines his strategic vision for the agency's future and announces the return of the Teacher In Space Program cancelled after the Challenger disaster in 1986, STS-51L.  Barbara Morgan, who had  trained side-by-side with Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew, will continue the mission and become the first Education Mission Specialist in space in 2004. 

1981 - Space Shuttle Era Begins - 7:00:03 a.m, EST. Launch of STS-1 Columbia, three seconds late. Postponed from April 10John Young, Commander and Robert Crippen, pilot orbit the earth 37 times in two days before returning home. Primary mission objectives of the maiden flight were to check out the overall Shuttle system, accomplish a safe ascent into orbit and to return to Earth for a safe landing. Duration: 2 Days, 6 hours, 20 min, 53 seconds.  Distance: 1,074,567 miles 

- The first man in space. Yuri Gagarin (Russian astronaut (major) - Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin orbited the Earth only once aboard Vostok 1.  Born near Smolensk. The flight lasted 1 hr 48 min, on an elliptical course having an apogee of 327 km (203 mi) and a perigee of 180 km (112 mi). Gagarin was killed in the crash of a test airplane in 1968.

1849 - Annible de Gasparis' Discovery of Asteroid Hygiea.

1817 - Death, at the age of 86, of Charles Messier of France, most noted for publishing an astronomical catalogue of deep sky objects, which came to be known as Messier objects. He also discovered 13 comets.
The new NASA vision for the future is:
    To improve life here,
    To extend life to there,
    To find life beyond
The NASA mission is:
    To understand and protect our home planet
    To explore the Universe and search for life
    To inspire the next generation of explorers
    as only NASA can - O'Keefe

STS-1 Mission Patch
STS 1 Mission Patch
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene