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November 7, 2011 - End of an Era

End of an Era Gemini XII, the tenth and final piloted Gemini mission, was launched forty-five years ago this week. Astronauts Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin rounded out the program in style with an almost flawless four-day mission. Objectives included rendezvous and docking with another Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle, and completing several extravehicular activities. On one of these space walks, Aldrin (above) attached a 100-foot tether to the GATV. Aldrin accumulated five-and-a-half hours of EVA time during the flight, a record at the time. After undocking from the GATV, the crew noted that the two vehicles became slightly stabilized because of the tether. After Gemini XII, the next time NASA launched another crew of just two astronauts into space was on the first space shuttle mission in 1981.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 7-13, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 7

1963: First flight test of Apollo Launch Escape System
1967: Surveyor 6 launched
1996: Mars Global Surveyor launched

Moon phase Tuesday 8

Election Day

Moon at apogee

1656: Edmund Halley born
1984: STS-51A Discovery launched
1995: STS-74 Atlantis launched
2005: ESA’s Venus Express launched

Moon phase Wednesday 9

Jupiter 5° south of Moon
Venus 4° north of Antares

1934: Carl Sagan born
1967: Surveyor 6 lands on Moon
1967: Apollo 4 launched, first Saturn V launch

Moon phase Thursday 10

Full Moon 3:16 PM ET
Mars 1.4° north of Regulus

1970: Luna 17 launched

Moon phase Friday 11

Remembrance Day (Canada)
Veteran’s Day

1875: Vesto Slipher born
1966: Gemini XII launched
1982: STS-5 Columbia launched

Moon phase Saturday 12

Ceres appears stationary

1833: Great Leonid Meteor Shower
1980: Voyager 1 flies past Saturn
1981: STS-2 Columbia launched

Moon phase Sunday 13

1971: Mariner 9 becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mars
1978: Einstein Observatory (HEAO-2) launched

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