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Posts Tagged ‘space shuttle

“The solar system is off center and consequently man is too”*…


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On a dry lake bed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe…

* Harlow Shapley, Through Rugged Ways to the Stars


As we reach for the stars, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that NASA launched the space shuttle Discovery, marking America’s resumption of manned space flight following the 1986 Challenger disaster.  It was the first of Discovery‘s two “Return To Flight” assignments; it flew the “twin” missions in 2005 and 2006 that followed the Columbia disaster in 2003.



Written by LW

September 29, 2015 at 1:01 am

Keep those cards and letters coming…

for larger version, click image above (or here), and then click again

Readers will recall earlier visits to Letters of Note (“correspondence deserving of a wider audience”).  That wonderful site now has company– and official company at that.

The letter-of-request above*, and tens of thousands of other historically- and politically-interesting documents can now be found at the Online Public Access Prototype of the National Archives.

* One notes that, while the Vice President’s response to Disney was “schedule too tight,” later President Nixon used Disney World as the venue for his “I am not a crook” speech…

[TotH to GMSV]

As we sharpen our quills, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 (months before his Disney World performance) that President Nixon signed the bill authorizing $5.5 million to develop the Space Shuttle program– NASA’s main focus from that point until President Obama’s recent redirection.

Nixon with NASA Administrator James Fletcher and a model of spacecraft-to-come (Source: NASA)

I said “pinHOLE,” not “pinhead”…

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day— a global celebration of lens-less photography.

As we relax because we don’t have to worry about focusing, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that the (current) “mother of all cameras,” the Hubble Space Telescope, went into orbit, deployed by the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery (which had lifted off the day before).

The HST in orbit (as seen from Shuttle Atlantis)

Looking directly at the sun…

With thanks to photographer Thierry Legault, the only image ever taken of a transit of a space shuttle (Atlantis) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in front of the Sun– during the last repair mission of Hubble.  Legault took the photo in Florida (100 km south of the Kennedy Space Center) on May 13th (at 12:17 local time), several minutes before grapple of Hubble by Atlantis.

See the full image here…  and see other examples of Legault’s extraordinary “astrophotography” work here.

As we rub our eyes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1804 that Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of France– at least in part an unintended consequence of Britain’s declaration of war against France (again), exactly one year before, in response to Napoleon’s “activities” in Italy and Switzerland… (Napoleon formally crowned himself “Emperor Napoleon I” on December 2, 1804 at Notre Dame de Paris.)

Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Napoleon (1812)


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