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May 20, 2019 - So Close, and Yet So Far

So Close, and Yet So Far  The Apollo 10 mission, the final practice flight before the first lunar landing, flew near the Moon 50 years ago this week. Designed as a dress rehearsal for the history-making Apollo 11 flight, Apollo 10 was to demonstrate all the procedures necessary for an actual lunar landing, but the crew was to take the fully-functional Lunar Module, Snoopy, no closer than 15 km (50,000 ft) to the lunar surface. Astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan piloted Snoopy closer to the Moon than any human had ever traveled before, while John Young remained in lunar orbit in the Command Module Charlie Brown. This image of Charlie Brown was taken just before the two craft were reunited, a mission-critical event because the astronauts in Snoopy had no other means of returning to Earth.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

May 20 - 26, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Monday 20

Victoria Day (Canada)

Jupiter 1.7° south of Moon

1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 launched
1995: Spektr module launched to Mir space station

Tuesday 21

Mercury in superior conjunction

2010: IKAROS spacecraft launched; first successful solar-sail propulsion

Wednesday 22

Saturn 0.5° north of Moon

1969: Apollo 10 lunar module descends to within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface
2012: Dragon C2+ spacecraft launched, first commercial mission to dock with ISS

Thursday 23

Pluto 0.07° north of Moon

1984: NASA selects 10th astronaut group

Friday 24

1962: Aurora 7 launched

Moon phase Saturday 25

1961: JFK challenges nation to Moon landing before end of decade
1965: Saturn SA-8 launched
1966: Roll-out of first full-scale Saturn V
1973: Skylab 2 begins 28-day mission
2008: Phoenix lander lands on Mars

Moon phase Sunday 26

Moon at apogee
Last Qtr Moon 12:34 PM ET

1951Sally Ride born

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