It happened today…

Published On: April 26, 2016

Makemake and moonAstronomers reveal that Makemake, an icy dwarf planet orbiting in the distant Kuiper Belt region of the solar system, has a moon, first spotted in 2015 by a team using the Hubble Space Telescope. (The news comes just days after the 26th anniversary of Hubble’s launch.) With an estimated diameter of 100 miles (compared to the 870 mile diameter of its parent body), the satellite orbits Makemake at a distance of 13,000 miles, taking twelve days to complete one orbit. Previous observations failed to pick up on the dark, dim body due to the relatively bright glare of Makemake itself.

Published On: April 26, 2003

Soyuz TMA-2The seventh full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia aboard Soyuz TMA-2, a drastic change from their original mission plan. Originally planned to be another short-term “ferry flight” to swap out the station’s Soyuz lifeboat vehicle, Soyuz became the only way to send full-time crews to the station during the post-Columbia-disaster grounding of the American shuttle fleet. Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu took up residence aboard the ISS for 184 days, returning in October 2003 with Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque. With the shuttle fleet landlocked, two-man ISS crews became the norm, as three-man crews relied on the greater resupply capacity of the shuttles.

Published On: April 26, 1998

From The Earth To The MoonPay cable channel HBO’s heavily-promoted docudrama miniseries From The Earth To The Moon, continues, executive produced by actor Tom Hanks (Apollo 13) through Ron Howard’s Imagine Films. The series chronicles NASA’s quest to reach the moon, and two episodes debut each Sunday of the show’s run. The fourth night premieres the episodes That’s All There Is (Apollo 12) and We Interrupt This Broadcast (Apollo 13). Dave Foley (The Kids In The Hall) stars as Alan Bean, with Paul McCrane (ER, The Shawshank Redemption) as Pete Conrad. Jay Mohr and Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager) guest star.

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Published On: April 26, 1993

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Columbia lifts off on a mission lasting nearly ten days, carrying the Spacelab laboratory module in its cargo bay. This flight, Spacelab D-2, includes medical and material experiments, with one experiment controlled by an Apple Macintosh computer carried into orbit. Amateur radio messages are exchanged with the crew of the Mir space station. Aboard Columbia for her 14th flight are Commander Steven Nagel, Pilot Terence Henricks, mission specialists Jerry Ross, Charles Precourt and Bernard Harris Jr., and payload specialists Ulrich Walter and Hans Schlegel.

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