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December 14, 2015 - Meet Me in Orbit

Meet Me in Orbit The astronauts of the Gemini program were assigned the daunting task of overcoming many of the obstacles that would face future Apollo missions to the Moon, including long-duration space flights (a Moon landing mission would take at least eight days), and executing a rendezvous with another orbiting spaceship (which the Lunar Module would have to do when it left the Moon to meet the Command Module already in orbit). Fifty years ago this week those two problems were solved when Gemini VI was launched and managed the first piloted rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini VII, which was launched eleven days earlier on a record-setting fourteen-day mission. This view from Gemini VI shows Gemini VII during the four hours they flew in formation.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 14-20, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 14

Geminid meteor shower

1546: Tycho Brahe born
1962: Mariner 2 first planet flyby (Venus)
1972: Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan becomes last human to walk on Moon
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft lands on Moondeploys Yutu rover

Moon phase Tuesday 15

1965: Gemini VI launched
1970: Venera 7 makes first landing on Venus
1984: Vega 1 launched to study Venus and Halley’s Comet
2003: National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center opens
2010: Soyuz TMA-20 launched carrying ISS Expedition 26/27 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 16

1857: E. E. Barnard born
1965: Pioneer 6 launched
1976: Last two Saturn V moon rockets donated to museums

Moon phase Thursday 17

Neptune 3° south of Moon

1903: First powered flight, by Orville Wright
1979: First successful test of all three Space Shuttle main engines
2012: GRAIL A & B spacecraft impact Moon

Moon phase Friday 18

First Qtr Moon 10:14 AM ET

1999: Terra spacecraft launched

Moon phase Saturday 19

Uranus 1.2° north of Moon

1960: MR-1A launched, first Mercury capsule
1961: CNES founded
1966: United Nations approves Outer Space Treaty
1999: STS-103 Discovery launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-07M launched carrying ISS Expedition 34/35 crew
2013: Gaia spacecraft launched

Moon phase Sunday 20

1904: Mount Wilson Solar Observatory founded
1972: Final M2-F3 lifting body flight
1978: Venera 12 lander lands on Venus
2009Soyuz TMA-17 launched carrying ISS Expedition 22/23 crew

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