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February 4, 2019 - Twelve Weeks Without Weight

Twelve Weeks Without Weight  After orbiting Earth 1,214 times, the crew of the last Skylab mission returned to Earth 45 years ago this week. Astronauts Gerald Carr, William Pogue, and Edward Gibson (seen here during the mission’s final spacewalk) lived in a weightless environment on the orbiting space station for 12 weeks, longer than either of the previous two Skylab crews, but they came back in better health because they exercised significantly more than the other crews. The trio conducted thousands of experiments and took four spacewalks, including one to observe Comet Kohoutek. The cumulative effect of atmospheric drag caused the vacant space station to lose altitude. Ambitious plans to boost it to a higher orbit were never realized, and Skylab burned up in the atmosphere in 1979.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

February 4 - 10, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 4

New Moon 4:04 PM ET

1906: Clyde Tombaugh born
2018: First Falcon Heavy launched

Moon phase Tuesday 5

Chinese New Year

Moon at apogee

1965: First test of Apollo Service Propulsion System engine
1967: Lunar Orbiter III launched
1971: Apollo 14 lands on Moon
1974: Mariner 10 uses gravity of Venus to adjust trajectory toward Mercury

Moon phase Wednesday 6

Vesta 1.1° south of Moon

1971: Alan Shepard hits first golf balls on Moon
2018: First Falcon Heavy launch

Moon phase Thursday 7

Neptune 3° north of Moon

1984: Bruce McCandless makes first untethered spacewalk during STS-41B
1999: Stardust comet probe launched
2001: STS-98 Atlantis launched
2008: STS-122 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Friday 8

1828: Jules Verne born
1974: 84-day Skylab 4 mission ends, last crew to occupy Skylab
2010: STS-130 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 9

1971: Apollo 14 returns from Moon; last post-mission quarantine

Moon phase Sunday 10

Mars 6° north of Moon
Uranus 5° north of Moon

1990: Galileo spacecraft passes by Venus on its way to Jupiter
1992: First Atlas II launch

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