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December 2, 2013 - Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required The first assembly mission of the International Space Station began fifteen years ago this week with the launch of the STS-88 shuttle mission. The unmanned Russian-built Zarya module had been alone in orbit for two weeks, awaiting the arrival of the U.S.-built Unity connecting module. One day after their launch, the crew of STS-88, using the shuttle’s robot arm, unpacked Unity from Endeavour’s cargo bay and mounted it to the shuttle’s docking system. Then, again using the robot arm, Zarya was plucked from orbit and mated to Unity. Afterward, a series of three spacewalks by astronauts Jerry Ross (seen here) and Jim Newman attached exterior cables, connectors and handrails to the station. The ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2000.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 2-8 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 2

New Moon 7:22 PM ET

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 Tuesday 3

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby

Moon phase Wednesday 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 Thursday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Friday 6

Venus reaches greatest illuminated extent

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

Moon phase Saturday 7

1905: Gerard Kuiper born
1972: Apollo 17 launched
1995: Galileo probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere; orbiter begins prime mission
1997: Galileo Europa Mission begins

Moon phase Sunday 8

Neptune 6° south of Moon

1964: Apollo A-002 launched
1990: Galileo makes first Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
1992: Galileo makes second Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
2010:
SpaceX Dragon 1 launched; first private spacecraft recovered from orbit

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