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December 16, 2013 - Milestones of Flight

Milestones of Flight From the windy sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville Wright made the world’s first powered flight, a twelve-second jaunt in a wood and canvas airplane that he and his brother, Wilber, had built. This week marks the 110th anniversary of that historic flight, the realization of the age-old human quest to “slip the surly bonds of Earth.” It also marks a related milestone in human achievement: the forty-fifth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight around the Moon, just sixty-five years after that historic day at Kitty Hawk. Seen here prior to its momentous lift-off is the Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo 8 on its way. At two points in its journey, Apollo 8 traveled 38,000 km/h (24,000 mph), some 800 times faster than the Wright Flyer.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 16-22, 2013

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 16

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

Moon phase Tuesday 17

Full Moon 4:28 AM ET
Uranus appears stationary

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 Wednesday 18

1999: Terra spacecraft launched

Moon phase Thursday 19

Jupiter 5° north of Moon
Moon at apogee

1960: MR-1A launched, first Mercury capsule
1961: CNES founded
1966: United Nations approves Outer Space Treaty
1999: STS-103 Discovery launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-07M launched carrying ISS Expedition 34/35 crew
2013: Gaia spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 20

Venus appears stationary

1904: Mount Wilson Solar Observatory founded
1972: Final M2-F3 lifting body flight
1978: Venera 12 lander lands on Venus
2009Soyuz TMA-17 launched carrying ISS Expedition 22/23 crew

Moon phase Saturday 21

Winter Solstice 12:11 PM ET

1968: Apollo 8 launched
1984
: Vega 2 launched
1988
: Cosmonauts Titov and Manarov return after spending one year aboard Mir space station
2011Soyuz TMA-03M launched carrying ISS Expedition 30/31 crew

Moon phase Sunday 22

Ursid meteor shower

1966: Luna 13 launched
1966: First glide test of the HL-10 lifting body

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