January 28, 1986

Late January is a time for mourning and remembering for NASA. January 28 is the day the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded upon takeoff.

NASA

The Challenger  carried seven people on board, including the first teacher involved in a space mission.

Challenger disintegrated in the sky just 73 seconds into its flight. The crew died as Challenger exploded in flames while their families watched at Cape Canaveral and millions of others watched via television.

(Back row, left to right) Mission Specialist Ellison Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant S. Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis, Mission Specialist Judy Resnick; (front row) Pilot Mike Smith, Commader Dick Scobee, and Mission Specialist Ron McNair.

“They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

 

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Space Shuttle Endeavour Completes Journey in LA

After circling the earth, Endevour runway is in the streets of Los Angeles leading to its final museum display.

NASA’s youngest space shuttle, now retired, is set to complete its two-day road trip to the California Science Center on Saturday evening.

A large crowd of ten thousand people approximately celebrated Endeavour homecoming which rolled up Manchester Boulevard to The Forum, the former indoor arena of the L.A. Lakers.

‘We are thrilled that all of you and everyone in Inglewood is joining us in welcoming home to the Los Angeles area.’, said CDC president Jeffrey Rudolph.

Some astronauts, including Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7 Pilot, and Endeavour’s last pilot Greg. H. Johnson, didn’t assist to the shuttle ceremony.

Noe I. for Windows of the World

Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns To California

The Space shuttle Endeavour returned Thursday to California on a wistful journey over the country that paid homage to NASA workers and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, an astronaut.

A 747 jet carrying the space shuttle will take off again on Friday morning to make an appearance over Sacramento, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles skies stopping at the Los Angeles International Airport where Endeavour will be prepped for a slow ride on a special flatbed trailer through city streets next month and ending as a museum showpiece.

Endeavour’s has been delayed twice during the past days due to stormy weather along the Gulf of Mexico and on Wednesday it departed from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where crowds were looking for the space shuttle to appear in the sky.

Space shuttle Endeavour flew 25 times, where its mission was mostly to supply the International Space Station and spent 299 days in space and circled Earth nearly 4,700 times, logging 123 million miles.

Picture Gene Blevins  /  Reuters

Noe I. for Windows of the World

Mystery Mini Space Shuttle X-37B Lands in California

The mysterious unmanned mini-space shuttle on a classified mission has finally returned to earth.

It landed early Saturday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after weather conditions kept pushing back landing attempts the last few days.

The Air Force’s X-37B, is an unmanned reusable spacecraft built by Boeing that has spent more than a year on a classified mission in space.

Measuring 29 feet in length and having a 15-foot wingspan, the unmanned reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle looks like a miniature version of NASA’s now retired space shuttles.

The spacecraft landed at Vandenberg at 5:48am PDT after having spent 469 days in orbit.

The craft went into orbit on March 5, 2011, but as was the case during its first launch in 2010, very little has been known about its mission or what payloads it might be carrying because its missions are classified.

That has led to speculation that the spacecraft is involved in intelligence gathering operations or the testing of new technologies.

In keeping with the scarce mission details for the X-37B, all the Air Force would say in a statement Saturday wais that the spacecrafthad “conducted on-orbit experiments” during its mission.

Lt. Col. Tom McIntyre, the X-37B program manager said, “With the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet, the X-37B OTV program brings a singular capability to space technology development.” He added, “The return capability allows the Air Force to test new technologies without the same risk commitment faced by other programs. We’re proud of the entire team’s successful efforts to bring this mission to an outstanding conclusion.”

Read more on Good Morning America.

Week in Pictures: May 31 – June 7

Space shuttle Enterprise is carried by barge underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on June 3, in New York City. Enterprise was on its way to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where it will be on permanent display.

Brandon Harder, gas man for Jimmie Johnson, goes airborne as Johnson accelerates from the pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, May 27.

People gather at the site of a plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, June 3. A passenger plane carrying more than 150 people crashed in Nigeria’s largest city, killing everyone on board and several others on the ground. The pilot is said to have reported engine failure just before the aircraft went down.

A Pakistani boy who lives near a brick factory covers his face with a scarf to avoid a sand storm on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, June 6.

Venus appears as a small black dot (upper left corner) against the massive surface of the sun on its orbit between Earth and the center of our solar system, June 5. The transit of Venus across the sun is one of the rarest celestial sights visible from Earth. The event marked the last time Venus will cross the sun (as seen from Earth) for 105 years.

Kazakh nomads herd their livestock across a plain in Altay, China. The Altay, known in Chinese as the Aletai region, is situated in the most northern part of Xinjiang, sharing a border on the east with Mongolia and on the west with Russia.

NBC News.

One World Trade Center To Become New York’s Tallest Building Tomorrow Monday April 30

One World Trade Center, the giant monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City’s tallest skyscraper on Monday. Workers will erect steel columns that will make its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet high, just enough to peak over the roof of the observation deck on the Empire State Building.

The milestone is a preliminary one. Workers are still adding floors to the so-called “Freedom Tower” and it isn’t expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.

Those bragging rights, though, will carry an asterisk.

Crowning the world’s tallest buildings is a little like picking the heavyweight champion in boxing. There is often disagreement about who deserves the belt.

In this case, the issue involves the 408-foot-tall needle that will sit on the tower’s roof.

Count it, and the World Trade Center is back on top. Otherwise, it will have to settle for No. 2, after the Willis Tower in Chicago.

“Height is complicated,” said Nathaniel Hollister, a spokesman for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records.

Experts and architects have long disagreed about where to stop measuring super-tall buildings outfitted with masts, spires and antennas that extend far above the roof.

Consider the case of the Empire State Building: Measured from the sidewalk to the tip of its needle-like antenna, the granddaddy of all super-tall skyscrapers actually stands 1,454 feet high, well above the mark being surpassed by One World Trade Center on Monday.

Purists, though, say antennas shouldn’t count when determining building height.

An antenna, they say, is more like furniture than a piece of architecture. Like a chair sitting on a rooftop, an antenna can be attached or removed. The Empire State Building didn’t even get its distinctive antenna until 1952. The record books, as the argument goes, shouldn’t change every time someone installs a new satellite dish.

Excluding the antenna brings the Empire State Building’s total height to 1,250 feet. That was still high enough to make the skyscraper the world’s tallest from 1931 until 1972.

From that height, the Empire State seems to tower over the second tallest completed building in New York, the Bank of America Tower.

Yet, in many record books, the two skyscrapers are separated by just 50 feet.

That’s because the tall, thin mast on top of the Bank of America building isn’t an antenna, but a decorative spire.

Unlike antennas, record-keepers like spires. It’s a tradition that harkens back to a time when the tallest buildings in many European cities were cathedrals. Groups like the Council on Tall Buildings, and Emporis, a building data provider in Germany, both count spires when measuring the total height of a building, even if that spire happens to look exactly like an antenna.

This quirk in the record books has benefited buildings like Chicago’s recently opened Trump International Hotel and Tower. It is routinely listed as being between 119 to 139 feet taller than the Empire State Building, thanks to the antenna-like mast that sits on its roof, even though the average person, looking at the two buildings side by side, would probably judge the New York skyscraper to be taller.

The same factors apply to measuring the height of One World Trade Center.

Designs call for the tower’s roof to stand at 1,368 feet – the same height as the north tower of the original World Trade Center. The building’s roof will be topped with a 408-foot, cable-stayed mast, making the total height of the structure a symbolic 1,776 feet.

So is that needle an antenna or a spire?

“Not sure,” wrote Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building.

The needle will, indeed, function as a broadcast antenna. It is described on the Port Authority’s website as an antenna. On the other hand, the structure will have more meat to it than your average antenna, with external cladding encasing the broadcast mast.

Without that spire, One World Trade Center would still be smaller than the Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which tops out at 1,451 feet (not including its own antennas).

Debate over which of those buildings can truly claim to be the tallest in the U.S. has been raging for years on Internet message boards frequented by skyscraper enthusiasts.

As for the Council on Tall Buildings, it is leaning toward giving One World Trade the benefit of the doubt.

“This is something we have discussed with the architect,” Hollister said. “As we understand it, the needle is an architectural spire which happens to enclose an antenna. We would thus count it as part of the architectural height.”

See more pictures on ABC New York.

Read more from this story on News From The Associated Press.