NASA HISTORY: Space Shuttle Challenger Launches From Cape Canaveral Over 30 Years Ago

By  //  April 7, 2016

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launched on the STS-41C mission

On this day (April 6) in 1984, Space Shuttle Challenger launched on the STS-41C mission. The mission had two primary objectives: deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and repair the Solar Maximum Mission (SolarMax) satellite. (NASA image)

On this day (April 6) in 1984, Space Shuttle Challenger launched on the STS-41C mission. The mission had two primary objectives: deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and repair the Solar Maximum Mission (SolarMax) satellite. (NASA image)

(NASA) – On April 6, 1984, Space Shuttle Challenger launched on the STS-41C mission.

The mission had two primary objectives: deploy the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and repair the Solar Maximum Mission (SolarMax) satellite.

LDEF was a school-bus sized cylindrical facility designed to provide long-term experimental data on the outer space environment. It successfully carried science and technology experiments for about 5.7 years. These experiments relayed a detailed collection of space environmental data.

SolarMax was designed to investigate solar phenomena, particularly solar flares. SolarMax showed that, contrary to expectations, the Sun is actually brighter during the sunspot cycle maximum. Why?

Because sunspots are surrounded by bright faculae, which more than cancel the darkening effect of the sunspot.

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Thanks to the good work of the STS-41C crew, more environmental data was collected, and our understanding of the Earth and Sun grew.

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