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May 31, 2010 - Watch That First Step

Watch That First Step A photograph that was to become an icon of the Space Age was snapped forty-five years ago this week by astronaut James McDivitt as he photographed his fellow Gemini IV astronaut, Ed White, as White made America’s first extravehicular activity, or space walk. In addition to this historic feat, Gemini IV made several other firsts: it was the first human space mission broadcast live to a worldwide audience, and it was the first flight to utilize the new Mission Control Center in Houston. After about fifteen minutes of floating around outside the open-hatched Gemini capsule, a reluctant White was asked by ground controllers in Houston to return to the ship. The image of his weightless excursion, brief though it was, has become a lasting symbol of human space exploration.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

May 31 - June 6, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 31

Memorial Day

Saturn appears stationary
Neptune appears stationary

1975: European Space Agency formed
1990: Kristall module launched to Mir space station
2008: STS-124 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 1

Moon phase Wednesday 2

1930: Charles “Pete” Conrad born
1966: Surveyor 1 lands on Moon
1970: First glide test of M2-F3 lifting body
1998: STS-91 Discovery launched
2003: Mars Express / Beagle 2 launched

Moon phase Thursday 3

Moon at apogee
Neptune 5° south of Moon

1948: 200-inch Hale telescope dedicated
1965: Gemini IV launched; Ed White takes America’s first space walk
1966: Gemini IX launched

Moon phase Friday 4

Last Quarter Moon 6:13 PM ET

1971: Last X-24A lifting body flight
1974: Construction begins on space shuttle Enterprise
2000: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory reenters atmosphere

Moon phase Saturday 5

1819: John Couch Adams born
1989: Voyager 2 begins regular observations of Neptune
1991: STS-40 Columbia launched
2002: STS-111 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Sunday 6

Jupiter 7° south of Moon
Mars 0.9° north of Regulus
Uranus 6° south of Moon

1932: Dave Scott born
1971: Soyuz 11 launched, first crew to occupy Salyut 1 space station
1983: Venera 16 launched

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