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February 25, 2019 - This Gumdrop Was a Lifesaver

This Gumdrop Was a Lifesaver  Apollo 9 was an especially dangerous spaceflight, because for the first time, astronauts would fly in a spacecraft that was not designed to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. During this Earth-orbital mission launched 50 years ago this week, the Apollo 9 crew docked the Command/Service Module Gumdrop with the new Lunar Module Spider. The Lunar Module was only designed to operate in the vacuum of space, either in orbit or on the lunar surface. As such, it had no provision for reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Once Spider separated from Gumdrop, the two spacecraft had to rendezvous and redock successfully (which they did). In this image, Command Module pilot David Scott stands in the open hatch of the Gumdrop. In the foreground is the lunar module Spider.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

February 25 - March 3, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 25

 

Moon phase Tuesday 26

Last Qtr Moon 6:28 AM ET
Mercury at greatest elongation (18° E)

1842: Camille Flammarion born
1966: First Saturn 1B rocket launched

Moon phase Wednesday 27

Jupiter 2° south of Moon

1897: Bernard Lyot born
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body altitude record of 90,300 feet

Moon phase Thursday 28

1959: Discoverer 1 launched
1966: Gemini IX primary crew, Bassett & See, killed in plane crash
1990: STS-36 Atlantis launched
2007: New Horizons spacecraft flies past Jupiter en route to Pluto

Moon phase Friday 1

Saturn 0.3° south of Moon
Pluto 0.5° south of Moon

1927: George Abell born
1966: Venera 3 impacts on Venus
1982: Venera 13 returns first color photos from the surface of Venus
2002: STS-109 Columbia launched
2016: ISS crew completes one-year mission

Moon phase Saturday 2

Venus 1.2° north of Moon

1972: Pioneer 10 launched
1995: STS-67 Endeavour launched (Astro-2 mission)
2004: Rosetta cometary probe launched
2019: SpaceX launches first Dragon 2 spacecraft to ISS

Moon phase Sunday 3

1959: Pioneer 4 launched
1969: Apollo 9 launched

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