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December 16, 2019 - 2.4 Billion Kilometer Checkup

2.4 Billion Kilometer Checkup  With only two of its six gyroscopes functioning, the Hubble Space Telescope suspended science operations in November 1999 while awaiting its third servicing mission. Launched 20 years ago this week, the STS-103 mission featured 24 hours of spacewalks over three days to refurbish the ailing Hubble, which had traveled nearly 2.4 billion km (1.5 billion mi) since its 1990 launch. In addition to replacing all six of Hubble’s gyroscopes, the crew of Discovery installed an advanced computer that was 20 times faster and had six times more memory than its predecessor. Other enhancements included a new fine-guidance sensor, new insulation, and a new solid-state data recorder to replace the old reel-to-reel one. The refurbished Hubble is seen here after it was redeployed.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

December 16 - 22, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 16

1857: E. E. Barnard born
1965: Pioneer 6 launched
1976: Last two Saturn V moon rockets donated to museums

Moon phase Tuesday 17

1903: First powered flight, by Orville Wright
1979: First successful test of all three Space Shuttle main engines
2012: GRAIL A & B spacecraft impact Moon
2017: Soyuz MS-07 launched carrying ISS Expedition 54/55 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 18

Moon at perigee
Last Qtr Moon 11:57 PM ET

1999: Terra spacecraft launched

Moon phase Thursday 19

1960: MR-1A launched, first Mercury capsule
1961: CNES founded
1966: United Nations approves Outer Space Treaty
1999: STS-103 Discovery launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-07M launched carrying ISS Expedition 34/35 crew
2013: Gaia spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 20

1904: Mount Wilson Solar Observatory founded
1972: Final M2-F3 lifting body flight
1978: Venera 12 lander lands on Venus
2009Soyuz TMA-17 launched carrying ISS Expedition 22/23 crew

Moon phase Saturday 21

Solstice 11:19 PM ET

1968: Apollo 8 launched
: Vega 2 launched
: Cosmonauts Titov and Manarov return after spending one year aboard Mir space station
2011Soyuz TMA-03M launched carrying ISS Expedition 30/31 crew
2015: SpaceX Falcon 9 makes first powered vertical landing of orbital booster

Moon phase Sunday 22

Hanukkah begins at sunset

Mars 4° south of Moon
Ursid meteor shower

1966: Luna 13 launched
1966: First glide test of the HL-10 lifting body

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