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December 2, 2019 - Orion Takes Flight

Orion Takes Flight  The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) was the first test flight of NASA’s newest crewed spacecraft, Orion. Launched five years ago this week from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 37B, the Orion spacecraft (without crew) rode atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket on what would be a four-hour, two-orbit flight to test Orion’s flight control systems and ability to withstand high-speed reentry conditions. On its second orbit, the conical Orion, which is a larger, modern version of the Apollo capsule, was propelled by the Delta’s second stage engine into a highly elliptical orbit that took it 5,800 km (3,600 mi) away from Earth. Upon reentry, Orion was traveling 32,000 km/h (20,000 mph), close to the speed it might achieve returning from future crewed missions in the vicinity of the Moon.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 2 - 8, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 2

Pallas in conjunction with Sun

1974: Pioneer 11 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
1988: STS-27 Atlantis launched
1990: STS-35 Columbia launched on Astro-1 mission
1992: STS-53 Discovery launched
1993: STS-61 Endeavour launched
1995: SOHO launched

Moon phase Tuesday 3

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
2014: Hayabusa 2 launched on asteroid sample return mission
2018: Soyuz MS-11 launched carrying ISS Expedition 57/58 crew
2018: OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu

Moon phase Wednesday 4

First Qtr Moon 1:58 AM ET
Neptune 4° north of Moon
Moon at apogee

1639: First transit of Venus observed
1965: Gemini VII launched
1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 orbiter arrives in orbit around Venus
1996: Mars Pathfinder launched
1998: STS-88 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Thursday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched
2014: Orion spacecraft launched on first uncrewed test flight

Moon phase Friday 6

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core
2015: Akatsuki probe begins orbiting Venus

Moon phase Saturday 7

1905: Gerard Kuiper born
1972: Apollo 17 launched
1995: Galileo probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere; orbiter begins prime mission
1997: Galileo Europa Mission begins
2018: Chang'e 4 spacecraft launched to Moon

Moon phase Sunday 8

Uranus 5° north of Moon

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
SpaceX Dragon 1 launched; first private spacecraft recovered from orbit

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