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December 3, 2018 - Construction Zone

Construction Zone  Twenty years ago this week, astronauts completed the first construction assignment for the International Space Station. The unmanned Russian-built Functional Cargo Block, named Zarya (Russian for “sunrise”), had been 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 and Jim Newman (both visible at the end of the robot arm in the image above) attached exterior cables, connectors and handrails to the newest outpost in space.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 3 - 9, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 3

Venus 4° south of Moon

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
2014: Hayabusa 2 launched on asteroid sample return mission

Moon phase Tuesday 4

1639: First transit of Venus observed
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 Wednesday 5

Mercury 1.9° south of Moon

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched
2014: Orion spacecraft launched on first uncrewed test flight

Moon phase Thursday 6

Mercury appears stationary

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core
2015: Akatsuki probe begins orbiting Venus

Moon phase Friday 7

New Moon 2:20 AM ET
Mars 0.04° north of Neptune

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 Saturday 8

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

Moon phase Sunday 9

Saturn 1.1° south of Moon
Pluto 0.7° south of Moon

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

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