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December 7, 2015 - Galileo Arrives in Style

Galileo Arrives in Style  After being launched from the orbiting space shuttle Atlantis in 1989, the Galileo spacecraft spent six years following a circuitous route through the inner solar system, passing Venus once and Earth twice. Each time, the sightseeing probe stole some gravity from the planet it was passing, ultimately gaining speed to make it out to its final destination. Upon its arrival at Jupiter twenty years ago this week, Galileo’s first order of business was to relay signals from the atmospheric entry probe it had released to measure the structure and composition of Jupiter’s atmosphere firsthand. With the probe’s hour-long mission complete, Galileo settled in to an eight-year stint orbiting Jupiter, surveying the gas giant, its ring system, and its many moons, including the volcanically active Io, above.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

Weekly Calendar

December 7-13, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 7

Venus 0.7° south of Moon

1905: Gerard Kuiper born
1972: Apollo 17 launched
1995: Galileo probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere; orbiter begins prime mission
1997: Galileo Europa Mission begins

Moon phase Tuesday 8

1964: Apollo A-002 launched
1990: Galileo makes first Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
1992: Galileo makes second Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
2010:
SpaceX Dragon 1 launched; first private spacecraft recovered from orbit

Moon phase Wednesday 9

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

Moon phase Thursday 10

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

Moon phase Friday 11

New Moon 5:29 AM ET

1863: Annie Jump Cannon born
1972: Apollo 17 lands on Moon
1993: Sotheby’s holds first auction of Soviet space hardware & artifacts

Moon phase Saturday 12

1961: OSCAR 1 launched, first amateur radio satellite
1970: Italian ground crew becomes first to launch satellite for America, Explorer 42

Moon phase Sunday 13

Geminid meteor shower

2001: Final drop test of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype

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