July 10, 2017 - An Elegant Solution

An Elegant Solution  Fifty-five years ago this week, NASA decided how to get to the Moon. Two possibilities, Direct Ascent and Earth Orbit Rendezvous, involved launching a massive rocket (or two smaller rockets that would join up in Earth orbit) toward the Moon, landing, and then blasting off for Earth. But the powerful boosters and orbiting support facilities required for these methods could not be built in time. An obscure but elegant third solution, Lunar Orbit Rendezvous, finally won. LOR called for three modest-sized special-purpose spaceships to arrive at the Moon. After the lunar module landed, its upper half would blast off and join the command/service module (like Apollo 15’s CSM above) in lunar orbit. The CSM would depart for Earth, but only the conical command module would splash down.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

July 10-16, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 10

Pluto at opposition

1962: Telstar 1 launched, allowing transatlantic transmission of TV signals
1992: Giotto spacecraft flies past comet Grigg-Skjellerup

Moon phase Tuesday 11

1962: NASA selects lunar orbit rendezvous method for lunar landings
1969: X-24A lifting body rolled out for first time
1979: Skylab reenters atmosphere

Moon phase Wednesday 12

1966: First glide test of M2-F2 lifting body
2000: Zvezda Service Module launched to ISS
2001: STS-104 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Thursday 13

Neptune 0.9° north of Moon

1995: STS-70 Discovery launched

Moon phase Friday 14

Venus 3° north of Aldebaran

1965: Mariner 4 completes first successful flyby of Mars
1967: Surveyor 4 launched
2015: New Horizons makes first ever Pluto flyby

Moon phase Saturday 15

1943: Jocelyn Bell Burnell born
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (Apollo 18) launched, last Apollo mission
2004: Aura satellite launched
2009: STS-127 Endeavour launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-05M launched carrying ISS Expedition 32/33 crew

Moon phase Sunday 16

Last Qtr Moon 3:26 PM ET
Uranus 4° north of Moon

1969: Apollo 11 launched
1994: First fragment of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts Jupiter
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta

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