March 21, 2011 - Half a Year on Mir

Half a Year on Mir The Russian Mir space station appears to float in front of the cloud-blanketed Earth in this view from the space shuttle Atlantis, which was launched on the STS-76 mission fifteen years ago this week. STS-76, the third Shuttle-Mir docking mission, saw the two spacecraft connected in orbit for five days. When Atlantis undocked at the end of that time, it was one astronaut lighter: Shannon Lucid remained on Mir for what was supposed to be a 140-day stay as Mir’s first American woman researcher. Lucid’s ride home, STS-79, was delayed twice because of solid rocket motor replacements and two Florida hurricanes, and she ended up spending six months in orbit—a record for women that was not surpassed until 2007 when Sunita Williams flew on the ISS Expedition 15 crew.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

March 21-27, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 21

Uranus in conjunction with Sun

1965: Ranger 9 launched

Moon phase Tuesday 22

Mercury at greatest elongation (19° E)

1982: STS-3 Columbia launched
1996: STS-76 Atlantis launched
1997: Comet Hale-Bopp closest approach to Earth

Moon phase Wednesday 23

1749: Pierre Laplace born
1840: John William Draper takes first photograph of Moon
1912: Wernher von Braun born
1965: Gemini III launched
2001: Mir space station reenters atmosphere

Moon phase Thursday 24

1893: Walter Baade born
1992: STS-45 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Friday 25

1655: Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, moon of Saturn
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Earth
2000: IMAGE spacecraft launched

Moon phase Saturday 26

Last Quarter Moon 8:07 AM ET
Venus 0.2° south of Neptune

2009: Soyuz TMA-14 launched carrying ISS Expedition 19/20 crew

Moon phase Sunday 27

1969: Mariner 7 launched
1972: Venera 8 launched
1989: Contact lost with Phobos 2
1999: First Sea Launch mission

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