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On this day in 1994 - January 25th - Clementine was launched.

Over a period of nearly four months the US spacecraft Clementine made scientific observations of the Moon. In addition, the craft was used to test the effects on sensors and components of extended exposure to space.


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On this day in 1736 - January 25th - French mathematician Joseph Lagrange was born.

Lagrange was one of the great minds of the 18th century, and his work included major contributions to physics and astronomy. He's best known now for his identification of equilibrium points between the gravity of the Earth and that the Sun. NASA's SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) sits at one of these points.


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On this day in 1983 - January 25th - the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) was launched.

IRAS, a joint project of NASA (USA), NIVR (Netherlands) and SERC (UK), was the first space telescope to carry out a survey of the whole night sky at infrared wavelengths.


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On this day in 1978 - January 26th - the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) was launched.

The IUE was a joint effort by ESA, the UK Science Research Council and NASA. It was switched off in 1996, after it had worked 14 years beyond its planned lifetime.


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On this day in 1967 - January 27th - the crew of Apollo 1, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, died when fire swept through the command module during a preflight test.

They are commemorated at the Astronaut Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


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On this day in 1941 - January 27th - New Zealand astrophysicist Beatrice Hill Tinsley was born.

Beatrice Tinsley began her career late, and died in 1981, but in the intervening years she revolutionized our view of galactic evolution. Her pioneering work continues to be regularly cited by researchers.


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On this day in 1829 - January 27th - pioneering astrophotographer Isaac Roberts was born.

Roberts was a Welsh amateur astronomer, and a fellow of the Royal Geological Society. He developed a photographic technique which made it possible to capture faint objects. Roberts's photograph of the Andromeda Nebula actually showed the spiral structure of M31.


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On this day in 1986 - January 28th - NASA's space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after launch, killing the seven crew members.

They are commemorated at the Astronaut Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


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It's one of those memories that stays with you for eternity.

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I agree, Monika. It's always so heart-wrenching to think of it. And instantly see in your mind the launch footage where suddenly the spacecraft breaks up. The anniversary of the third of the trio of NASA disasters is on Saturday.


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