July 13, 2009 - The Greatest Journey Begins

The Greatest Journey Begins With nearby beaches and highways crowded to capacity by onlookers eager to see history in the making, and millions more following the event on television, a Saturn V rocket took to the skies forty years ago this week carrying three astronauts, one of whom, Neil Armstrong, would be the first to set foot on the Moon. It was the first step in a half-million mile round-trip journey to the Moon that would ultimately fulfill President Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to land an astronaut on the Moon “before this decade is out.” The Saturn’s first stage generated a staggering 7.5 million pounds of thrust, a necessity considering the rocket’s total liftoff weight of 6 million pounds.Three hours after reaching Earth orbit, the Saturn’s third stage fired to send the crew to the Moon.

Image credit: NASA


Weekly Calendar

July 13-19, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 13

Uranus 6° south of Moon
Jupiter 0.6° south of Neptune

1995: STS-70 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 14

Venus 3° north of Aldebaran

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 15

Last Quarter Moon 5:53 am

1975: Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Apollo 18) launched, last Apollo mission
2004: Aura satellite launched
2009: STS-127 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Thursday 16

1969: Apollo 11 launched
1994: First fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta

Moon phase Friday 17

1850: John Adams Whipple takes first stellar photograph (Vega)
1970: Final HL-10 lifting body flight
1975: Apollo-Soyuz dock in orbit
1984: Soyuz T-12 launched, 100th human space flight

Moon phase Saturday 18

Mars 5° south of Moon

1921: John Glenn born
1966: Gemini X launched
1980: India becomes seventh nation to launch its own satellite

Moon phase Sunday 19

Venus 6° south of Moon

1846: Edward Pickering born
1967: Explorer 35 launched
1985: NASA selects Christa McAuliffe as first teacher to travel in space

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.