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November 12, 2018 - Mercury Man on the Moon

Mercury Man on the Moon  Alan Shepard piloted America’s first space mission and was the only one of the seven original Mercury astronauts to walk on the Moon.  Born 95 years ago this week, Shepard flew the Freedom 7 Mercury capsule on a 15-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961. When asked later what he thought about while waiting in his capsule for liftoff, Shepard quipped, “the fact that every part of this ship was built by the lowest bidder.”  An inner-ear disorder kept Shepard grounded during the Gemini program, but he became Chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office and was responsible for crew assignments. Corrective surgery landed Shepard back on active duty, and he commanded the Apollo 14 mission to the Fra Mauro region of the Moon in 1971. Shepard died in 1998.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 12 - 18, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 12

Pluto 0.9° south of Moon

1833: Great Leonid Meteor Shower
1980: Voyager 1 flies past Saturn
1981: STS-2 Columbia launched
2014: Philae probe becomes first spacecraft to land on a comet

Moon phase Tuesday 13

Venus appears stationary

1971: Mariner 9 becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mars
1978: Einstein Observatory (HEAO-2) launched

Moon phase Wednesday 14

Moon at apogee

1969: Apollo 12 launched, second lunar landing mission
2008: STS-126 Endeavour launched
2011: Soyuz TMA-22 launched carrying ISS Expedition 29/30 crew

Moon phase Thursday 15

First Qtr Moon 9:54 AM ET
Mars 1° north of Moon

1738: William Herschel born
1973: First powered flight of X-24B lifting body
1988: Green Bank 300-foot radio telescope collapses
1988: Soviet Shuttle Buran launched

Moon phase Friday 16

1962: Saturn SA-3 launched
1973: Skylab 4 crew launched on 84-day mission
1974: Interstellar message broadcast from Arecibo radio telescope
2009: STS-129 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Saturday 17

Juno at opposition
Neptune 3° north of Moon
Leonid meteor shower

1970: Luna 17 lands on Moon; Lunokhod 1 rover becomes first wheeled vehicle on Moon
2016: Soyuz MS-03 launched carrying ISS Expedition 50/51 crew

Moon phase Sunday 18

Leonid meteor shower

1923: Alan Shepard born
1989: Cosmic Background Explorer launched
2013: MAVEN spacecraft launched to Mars

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