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November 26, 2012 - Military Mission Milestone

Military Mission Milestone When the space shuttle was conceived and developed, the U.S. military was eager to utilize a launch vehicle that promised inexpensive and frequent access to space. Construction of a dedicated Department of Defense shuttle launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California began in 1979 and continued through 1986, but the Challenger accident that year placed the effort on indefinite hold without a single shuttle ever lifting off from the West Coast. The Department of Defense did utilize the shuttle on ten occasions, the final time being the STS-53 mission of Discovery, which was launched twenty years ago this week from the Kennedy Space Center. STS-53 carried a classified payload, believed to be a Satellite Data Systems 2 communications satellite.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 26 - December 2, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 26

Mercury appears stationary

1965: France becomes third nation to launch a satellite
1975: Final X-24B lifting body flight
1985: STS-61B Atlantis launched
1989: Kvant 2 module launched
2011: Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity launched

Moon phase Tuesday 27

Venus 0.6° south of Saturn

1885: First photo of a meteor shower
1971
: Mars 2 probe becomes first artificial object to hit Mars
1997: Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission launched

Moon phase Wednesday 28

Full Moon 9:46 AM ET
Moon at apogee
Jupiter 0.6° north of Moon

1964: Mariner 4 launched
1983: STS-9 Columbia launched

Moon phase Thursday 29

1967: First Australian satellite launched

Moon phase Friday 30

1954: Elizabeth Hodges bruised by a ten-pound meteorite in Alabama
2000: STS-97 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 1

1957: Ballistic shape of Mercury spacecraft proposed by Max Faget

Moon phase Sunday 2

First Sunday in Advent

Jupiter at opposition

1974: Pioneer 11 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
1988: STS-27 Atlantis launched
1990: STS-35 Columbia launched
1992: STS-53 Discovery launched
1993: STS-61 Endeavour launched
1995: SOHO launched

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