This Week In Space History

      Friday December 14th:
            1962 Mariner-2 Flyby of Venus (21598mi). Now in solar orbit.
            1972 Apollo-17 Liftoff from the Moon, with the last humans to visit in the Apollo program.
            2009 Launch of NASA Wide Field Infrared Explorer astronomy satellite.
            2013 Launding of China's Chang'e 3 lunar rover in Mare Imbrium. First lunar soft landing since 1976.

      Saturday December 15th:
            1965 Launch of Gemini 6 - Schirra, Stafford (100 x 162 nm, 28.9 deg, 17 orbits,
came within 1 foot of Gemini 7 in first rendezvous)
            1970 Venera-7 Probe enters atmosphere. Successfully lands and transmits.
            1984 Vega-1 Launched to Venus and Halley's Comet.
            2010 Launch of Soyuz TMA-20. Kondratev, Nespoli, and Coleman to join ISS Expedition 26.
            2015 Launch of Soyuz TMA-19M with Malenchenko, Kopra, and Peake to join ISS Expedition 46/47.

      Sunday December 16th:
            1965 Pioneer-6 Monitor Solar activity. Send data, far side of sun.
            1965 Gemini-6 Splashdown 25 hrs. 51 mins.
            1973 Explorer-51 Launch. Atmoshpere explorers look at pollution.
            1975 China-5 Launch. Purpose undetermined.
            1979 Soyuz-T-1 Launch. Unpiloted.

      Monday December 17th:
            2001 Return of ISS Expedition 3 crew after 128 days, aboard STS-108.
Culbertson, Dezhurov, and Tyurin.

      Tuesday December 18th:
            1965 Gemini-7 Splashdown 13 days 18 hrs 35 mins.
            1973 Soyuz-13 Launch. Klimuk, Levedev. First time US and Soviets are in space simultaneously.

      Wednesday December 19th:
            1960 Mercruy-1 Launch. unpiloted mission flew to 130.7 miles.
            1963 Explorer-19 Launch. 2nd in series of air density experiments.
            1972 Apollo-17 Splashdown 12 days 13 hrs.
Last piloted visit to the Moon in the Twentieth Century.
            1979 Soyuz-T-1 After 3 days of maneuvers, docks with Salyut-6.
            2012 Launch of Soyuz TMA-07M. Romanenko, Hadfield (first Candadian to command ISS), and Marshburn to join ISS Expedition 34/35.
            2013 Launch of ESA's Gaia stellar distance measuring satellite.

      Thursday December 20th:
            1999 Launch of STS-103 - C. Brown, S. Kelly, Clervoy, Smith, Foale, Grunsfeld, Nicollier.
HST Servicing Mission 3A.
            2009 Launch of Soyuz TMA-17. Kotov, Creamer and Noguchi to join ISS Expedition 22.

Space history data compiled by Jay Apt.   Thanks to the following good sources:
TRW Space Log, NASA Glenn Research Center Space Calendar,
Rick von Glahn's CompuServe SpaceForum archive,
Jonathan's Space Report, and

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