Today in Space! July 23, 1999: Chandra X-Ray Observatory Deployed in Space

Welcome to “Today in Space,” where we peer back in our archives to find historic moments in spaceflight and astronomy. So enjoy a blast from the past with Space.com’s Hanneke Weitering to look back at what happened on this day in space!

On July 23, 1999, the space shuttle Columbia launched into orbit to deploy the Chandra X-ray Observatory .

This space telescope can detect X-ray radiation emitted by things in the universe that are hot and have a lot of energy, like supernova explosions and black holes. When it launched, Chandra was the most sophisticated X-ray telescope ever built. But there’s another reason why this shuttle mission is considered a major milestone for NASA. STS-93 astronaut Eileen Collins also became the first woman to command the space shuttle on this flight.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory and its upper stage (at right) are seen just after being deployed from the space shuttle Columbia's payload bay on July 23, 1999 in this still image from a video recorded by an STS-93 mission crewmember.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory and its upper stage (at right) are seen just after being deployed from the space shuttle Columbia’s payload bay on July 23, 1999 in this still image from a video recorded by an STS-93 mission crewmember.

Credit: NASA

More Resources: 

Chandra: A Great Observatory

Our X-Ray Universe: Amazing Photos by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Chandra: To X-Ray the Sky – From the Sky

Chandra’s Tech: How to X-Ray the Cosmos

Chandra X-Ray Observatory – 15 Years Of Discovery

And that’s what happened today in space!

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Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience . Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook  and Google+

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