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March 10, 2014 - Holding on for Dear Life

Holding on for Dear Life When the STS-119 mission lifted off five years ago this week, it carried more than seven astronauts with it. Clinging to the foam insulation of the space shuttle’s external tank during the countdown was a small free-tailed bat, which observers were certain would fly away as soon as Discovery roared to life. The bat, however, held fast. It was still visible attached to the tank as the shuttle cleared the launch tower, but was presumed to have perished somewhere between Florida and low-Earth orbit. Discovery reached orbit and eventually docked with the International Space Station, delivering the fourth and final set of solar arrays to the ISS. In this image, STS-119 Astronaut Joseph Acaba seems to reenact the bat’s earlier heroics as he holds fast to the towering ISS main truss assembly.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

March 10-16, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 10

Jupiter 5° north of Moon

1977: Rings discovered around Uranus
2006: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars

Moon phase Tuesday 11

Moon at apogee

1811: Urbain Le Verrier born
1965: Pioneer 5 launched
2008: STS-123 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Wednesday 12

1835: Simon Newcomb born
1981: Victor Savinykh becomes 100th person to travel in space, Soyuz T-4 mission

Moon phase Thursday 13

1781: William Herschel discovers Uranus
1855: Percival Lowell born
1989: STS-29 Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 14

Mercury at greatest elongation (28° W)

1835: Giovanni Schiaparelli born
1879: Albert Einstein born
1934: Gene Cernan born
1986: Giotto flies by Halley’s Comet
1995: Soyuz TM-21 launched, first Russian mission with American on board

Moon phase Saturday 15

1713: Nicolas de Lacaille born
1932: Alan Bean born
1975: Helios 1 launched
2009: STS-119 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 16

Full Moon 1:09 PM ET

1750: Caroline Herschel born
1926: Robert Goddard launches first liquid fuel rocket
1966: Gemini VIII launched
1975: Mariner 10’s 3rd Mercury flyby

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