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February 15, 2016 - A Symbol of Peace in Space

A Symbol of Peace in Space  Thirty years ago this week, the core segment of the space station Mir was launched aboard a Proton rocket, marking the birth of the Soviet Union’s planned permanent “place in space.” But Mir—which translates as both “peace” and “world”—suffered from numerous mechanical difficulties, program launch delays, and even the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union itself. Despite several successful long-duration missions and an eventual partnership with NASA in the mid-1990s, Mir was deemed to be unsustainable. After fifteen years and over 86,000 orbits, the 134-ton Mir reentered the atmosphere over the South Pacific in 2001. Here we see Mir in orbit from the viewpoint of the shuttle Atlantis during the 1996 STS-76 mission, almost exactly above its fiery reentry location five years later.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

February 15-21, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 15

Presidents' Day

First Qtr Moon 2:46 AM ET

1564: Galileo Galilei born
1973: Pioneer 10 becomes first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt
2013Meteor explodes over Chelyabinsk, Russia injuring 1,500 people

Moon phase Tuesday 16

Aldebaran 0.3° south of Moon

1948: Gerard Kuiper discovers Miranda, moon of Uranus
1965: Saturn SA-9 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 17

1959: Vanguard 2 launched
1965: Ranger 8 launched
1996: NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft launched
2007: THEMIS spacecraft launched
2009Dawn spacecraft flies by Mars

Moon phase Thursday 18

1930: Pluto discovered by Clyde Tombaugh
1970: HL-10 sets lifting body speed record
1977: First captive flight of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Friday 19

1473: Nicholas Copernicus born
1986: Mir space station launched

Moon phase Saturday 20

1962: Friendship 7 launched; John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth
1965: Ranger 8 impacts the Moon, returns photographs
1994: Clementine enters lunar orbit

Moon phase Sunday 21

1931: Germany's first liquid-fuel rocket launched by VfR flies 3m (10 ft)

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