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20th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle.
April 13, 2001
20th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle
40th Anniversary of Yuri Gugarin's Flight
Solar Sail Suffers a Setback
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE
20 years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbus took its maiden voyage on April 12, 1981. Dubbed STS-1, this inaugural launch was the culmination of NASA's investment during the 1970s to create a reusable spacecraft that could fly several times a month. Although it only met some of its objectives, the shuttle has still been an enormously successful launch vehicle that recently passed its 100th launch.
Join universe Today as we look back at some of the highlights of the Space Shuttle program, including some of the most memorable flights of its 20 year history.
Universe Today Special Report:
Countdown Creations - Celebrate the shuttle's 20th anniversary with your own shirt or mission patch.
40TH ANNIVERSARY OF YURI GUGARIN'S FLIGHT
Forty years ago on Thursday, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. He launched on April 12, 1961 atop a Vostok 1 rocket, and spent the next 90 minutes orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 300 kilometres. Celebrated in Russia as Cosmonautics Day, President Vladimir Putin visited the cosmonaut training center in star City yesterday to commemorate the historic flight.
Cosmonaut Adventures - Spend a day as a cosmonaut at Russia's Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at star City, using the same simulators used by cosmonauts to prepare for space travel.
SOLAR SAIL SUFFERS A SETBACK
The launch of a solar sail under construction by the Planetary Society will have to be pushed back weeks or even months because it was damaged during tests in Russia. The damage occurred when the craft's electrical system was being tested, and the pyrotechnics designed to open the hatch in space actually fired - they weren't supposed to. The craft was scheduled to launch on April 26th from a Russian missile submarine, and would test how the sail would unfold once in space.
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