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February 4, 2013 - Ready for my Close-Up

Ready for my Close-Up In the wake of the Columbia tragedy in 2003, several new protocols were introduced for all remaining space shuttle missions. To allow the spacecraft to be surveyed for any possible damage that occurred during ascent to orbit, each shuttle would perform a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, a several-minute-long backflip that allowed astronauts on board the International Space Station to photograph the shuttle up close. This image of Atlantis, taken just prior to docking with the ISS, is one of about 300 close-ups taken during the STS-122 mission, which began five years ago this week. The thirteen-day mission saw Atlantis deliver the European Columbus laboratory module to the ISS. In addition, Atlantis delivered a new crew member to the station and brought one home in his place.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

February 4-10, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 4

Ceres appears stationary

1906: Clyde Tombaugh born

Moon phase Tuesday 5

1965: First test of Apollo Service Propulsion System engine
1967: Lunar Orbiter III launched
1971: Apollo 14 lands on Moon
1974: Mariner 10 uses gravity of Venus to adjust trajectory toward Mercury

Moon phase Wednesday 6

1971: Alan Shepard hits first golf balls on Moon

Moon phase Thursday 7

Moon at perigee

1984: Bruce McCandless makes first untethered spacewalk during STS-41B
1999: Stardust comet probe launched
2001: STS-98 Atlantis launched
2008: STS-122 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Friday 8

Mercury 0.3° north of Mars

1828: Jules Verne born
1974: 84-day Skylab 4 mission ends, last crew to occupy Skylab
2010: STS-130 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 9

1971: Apollo 14 returns from Moon; last post-mission quarantine

Moon phase Sunday 10

Chinese New Year

New Moon 2:20 AM ET

1990: Galileo spacecraft passes by Venus on its way to Jupiter
1992: First Atlas II launch

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