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December 15, 2014 - Give the Gift of Gyroscopes

Give the Gift of Gyroscopes With only two of its six gyroscopes functioning properly, the aging Hubble Space Telescope suspended science operations in November 1999 while it awaited its third scheduled servicing mission. Launched fifteen years ago this week, the STS-103 mission featured twenty-four hours of spacewalks over three days to refurbish the ailing Hubble. In addition to replacing all six of Hubble’s gyroscopes, astronauts on board the shuttle Discovery installed an advanced computer that was twenty times faster and had six times more memory than its predecessor. Other enhancements included a new fine-guidance sensor, new insulation, and a new solid-state data recorder to replace the old reel-to-reel one. Hubble was released back into orbit on Christmas Day.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 15-21, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 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 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 16

Hanukkah begins at sunset

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

Moon phase Wednesday 17

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 Thursday 18

1999: Terra spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 19

Saturn 1.5° south of Moon

1960: MR-1A launched, first Mercury capsule
1961: CNES founded
1966: United Nations approves Outer Space Treaty
1999: STS-103 Discovery launched

Moon phase Saturday 20

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

Moon phase Sunday 21

Solstice 6:03 PM ET
New Moon 8:36 PM ET

1968: Apollo 8 launched
1984
: Vega 2 launched
1988
: Cosmonauts Titov and Manarov return after spending one year aboard Mir space station

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