November 30, 2009 - The Art of Spaceflight

The Art of Spaceflight The structures that populate low Earth orbit are predominantly composed of spheres, cylinders, straight edges, or combinations of the three. Spheres are inherently strong when pressurized, cylinders fit nicely in the payload bays of launch vehicles, and linear objects like trusses are strong and simple to assemble. Perhaps because of the ubiquity of these shapes it is always a welcome sight when a space shuttle noses its way into a photograph. Its parabolic shape is at once familiar (the path followed by every ball ever tossed) and unique; something we’ve seen before, but compelling enough to warrant a second look. This closeup of the shuttle Atlantis’s nose and docking system was part of a series of images taken in Feburary 2008 to inspect for any launch-related tile damage.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 30 - December 6, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 30

1954: Elizabeth Hodges bruised by a ten-pound meteorite in Alabama
2000: STS-97 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Tuesday 1

1957: Ballistic shape of Mercury spacecraft proposed by Max Faget

Moon phase Wednesday 2

Full Moon 2:30 am
Uranus appears stationary

1974: Pioneer 11 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
1988: STS-27 Atlantis launched
1990: STS-35 Columbia launched
1992: STS-53 Discovery launched
1993: STS-61 Endeavour launched
1995: SOHO launched

Moon phase Thursday 3

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby

Moon phase Friday 4

Moon at perigee

1965: Gemini VII launched
1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 orbiter arrives in orbit around Venus
1996: Mars Pathfinder launched
1998: STS-88 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Sunday 6

Mars 6° north of Moon

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core

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