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First satellite repair
The mission for the crew of space shuttle Challenger's April 1984 flight was two-fold -- deploy the experiment-laden Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and then track down the crippled Solar Max spacecraft, capture it and perform repairs during spacewalks. Initial attempts by the astronauts to grab the craft while wearing the Manned Maneuvering Unit spacewalk backpacks failed, but the crew ultimately retrieved Solar Max and installed fresh equipment while it was anchored in the payload bay. The crew narrates this post-flight presentation of home movies and highlights from mission STS-41C.

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STS-26: Back in space
The space shuttle program was grounded for 32 months in the painful wake of the 1986 Challenger accident. Americans finally returned to space in September 1988 when shuttle Discovery safely launched for its mission to deploy a NASA communications satellite. Enjoy this post-flight presentation narrated by the astronauts as they show movies and tell the story of the STS-26 mission.

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Amazing STS-51I flight
Imagine a space shuttle mission in which the astronaut crew launched two commercial and one military communications spacecraft, then conducted a pair of incredible spacewalks to recover, fix and redeploy a satellite that malfunctioned just four months earlier. The rescue mission was a success, starting with an astronaut making a catch of the spinning satellite with just his gloved-hand. Enjoy this post-flight presentation narrated by the astronauts as they tell the story of shuttle Discovery's August 1985 mission known as STS-51I.

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Seeing high in Saturn's sky
Posted: January 6, 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Download larger image version here

In this magnificent view from the Cassini orbiter, delicate haze layers high in the atmosphere encircle the oblate figure of Saturn. A special combination of spectral filters used for this image makes the high haze become visible. A methane-sensitive filter (centered at 889 nanometers) makes high altitude features stand out, while a polarizing filter makes small haze particles appear bright.

Methane in the atmosphere absorbs light with wavelengths around 889 nanometers as it travels deeper into the gas planet, thus bright areas in this image must represent reflective material at higher altitudes. Small particles or individual molecules scatter light quite effectively to a polarization of 90 degrees, which this polarizing filter is sensitive to. Thus, high altitude haze layers appear bright in this view.

The small blob of light at far right is Dione (1,126 kilometers, or 700 miles across).

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera at a distance of approximately 2.9 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 100 degrees. The image scale is 169 kilometers (105 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.