June 8, 2015 - How to Get a Spacecraft Named After You

How to Get a Spacecraft Named After You  It’s really quite simple to have an interplanetary spacecraft named after you. All you have to do is be the first person to calculate how fast Jupiter rotates, compute a table of the motions of its moons, and determine the first accurate distances to Mars and the Sun. And it helps if you discover at least four satellites of Saturn (Iapetus, Rhea, Dione and Tethys) and identify a prominent gap in Saturn’s rings. Giovanni Cassini, born 390 years ago this week, did all of these things, and the Cassini spacecraft that has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 is named in his honor. In this spectacular false-color Cassini image, the angry eye of a hurricane-like storm at Saturn’s north pole appears dark red, while the fast-moving hexagonal jet stream framing it is a yellowish green.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI

Weekly Calendar

June 8-14, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 8

Neptune 3° south of Moon

1625: Giovanni Cassini born
1959: First X-15 unpowered glide test
1975: Venera 9 launched
2007: STS-117 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Tuesday 9

Last Qtr Moon 11:42 AM ET

1812: Johann Gottfried Galle born

Moon phase Wednesday 10

Moon at perigee

1985: Vega 1 deploys lander and balloon on Venus
2003: Mars rover Spirit launched

Moon phase Thursday 11

Mercury appears stationary
Uranus 0.5° north of Moon
Pallas at opposition

2008: Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope launched
2013: Shenzhou 10 launched, China's fifth human spaceflight mission

Moon phase Friday 12

Neptune appears stationary

1967: Venera 4 launched

Moon phase Saturday 13

1831: James Clerk Maxwell born
1974: National Space Society founded
1983: Pioneer 10 leaves solar system, begins traveling in interstellar space
2010: Hayabusa spacecraft returns first asteroid samples to Earth
2012: NuSTAR X-Ray telescope launched

Moon phase Sunday 14

Flag Day

Mars in conjunction with Sun
Mercury 0.04° north of Moon

1967: Mariner 5 launched
1975: Venera 10 launched
1985: Vega 2 deploys lander and balloon on Venus

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