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Surveyor 1 was a three-legged spacecraft, 10 feet tall, with large pads at the end of each leg. At about 650 pounds, it was a true test of the lunar surface and the first controlled-descent, soft landing on the Moon. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: Surveyor 1 Launches

Robotic lander series demonstrated lunar surface would support Apollo’s Lunar Module.

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The satellite rescue attempt during STS-51-D included an unscheduled rendezvous maneuver, an unscheduled spacewalk, and a highly unusual request: Build a fly swatter. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: Build a Fly Swatter

Well-trained shuttle crew works to activate malfunctioning satellite.

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis carried the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-1) module in its cargo bay in March 1992 during the STS-45 mission. The ATLAS-1 instruments are back dropped against the Atlas Mountains and dunes in the Iguidi Dune Sea near Mali in the western Sahara. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: STS-45 Studies Earth

First flight of ATLAS examined Earth’s complex mesosphere and solar science.

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NASA astronauts James D. A. “Ox” van Hoften, and George D. “Pinky” Nelson train to capture and repair the Solar Maximum Mission spacecraft at Marshall Space Flight Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Simulator. The training included using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Credit: NASA/MSFC
This Month in NASA History: Solar Maximum Mission

Rescued spacecraft examined sunspots, solar flares and more.

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The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), after nearly six years orbiting Earth, is retrieved during space shuttle mission STS-32. LDEF gathered data about how high-performance spacecraft materials withstand long-term exposure to solar radiation, space debris, and the extreme temperatures of Low Earth Orbit. This information helped engineers select the best materials to build the International Space Station, Mars rovers, and other spacecraft. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: Recovering LDEF

NASA’s Long Duration Exposure Facility reveals hazards of Low Earth Orbit.

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Thirteen tons of telescopes and support equipment occupy the payload bay of the Space Shuttle Columbia for mission STS-35, the first shuttle mission dedicated entirely to astronomy. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: 13 Tons of Telescopes

STS-35 was the first mission devoted exclusively to astronomy.

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At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, workers tow the space shuttle orbiter Columbia from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: Columbia Returns to Space

Crew of STS-2 works through the night on shortened mission.

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An NB-52 mothership carries an X-15 aloft for a research flight on April 13, 1960, Maj. Gen. Robert M. White's first flight in the hypersonic rocket plane. The X-15s reached speeds well beyond 4,000 mph and altitudes that qualified eight pilots for astronaut wings. Credit: NASA
This Month in NASA History: The X-15 Lands

Rocket plane pushed the boundaries of aeronautics at dawn of the space race.

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