Launch Anniversary of the First International Space Station Module (20 November 1988)
Zarya (literally Russian for “dawn”), also known as the Functional Cargo Block or FGB, was the first module of the International Space Station to be launched. The FGB provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance to the ISS during the initial stage of assembly. With the launch and assembly in orbit of other modules with more specialized functionality, Zarya is now primarily used for storage, both inside the pressurized section and in the externally mounted fuel tanks. The Zarya is a descendant of the TKS spacecraft designed for the Russian Salyut program. The name Zarya was given to the FGB because it signified the dawn of a new era of international cooperation in space. Although it was built by a Russian company, it is owned by the United States.
Apollo 15 Launch Anniversary
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the United States Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed “J missions”, long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous missions. It was also the first mission where the Lunar Roving Vehicle was used.
The mission began on July 26, 1971, and concluded on August 7. At the time, NASA called it the most successful manned flight ever achieved.
Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin spent three days on the Moon and a total of 18½ hours outside the spacecraft on lunar extra-vehicular activity. The mission was the first not to land in a lunar mare, instead landing near Hadley rille in an area of the Mare Imbrium called Palus Putredinus (Marsh of Decay). The crew explored the area using the first Lunar Rover, allowing them to travel much farther from the Lunar Module lander than had previously been possible. They collected a total of 77 kg (170 lbs) of lunar surface material. At the same time, Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden orbited the Moon, using a Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) in the Service Module to study the lunar surface and environment in great detail with a panoramic camera, gamma ray spectrometer, mapping camera, laser altimeter, mass spectrometer, and lunar sub-satellite deployed at the end of Apollo 15’s stay in lunar orbit (an Apollo program first).
Zvezda (ISS module) Launch Anniversary
Zvezda (Russian: Звезда, meaning “star”), DOS-8, also known as the Zvezda Service Module, is a component of the International Space Station (ISS). It was the third module launched to the station, and provides all of the station’s life support systems, some of which are supplemented in the USOS, as well as living quarters for two crew members. It is the structural and functional center of the Russian portion of the station - the Russian Orbital Segment.
The module was manufactured by RKK Energia, with major sub-contracting work by GKNPTs Khrunichev. Zvezda was launched on a Proton rocket on July 12, 2000 and docked with the Zarya module on July 26. The rocket used for the launch was one of the first to carry advertising; it was emblazoned with the logo of the fast food chain Pizza Hut, for which the company is reported to have paid more than US$1 million.
Anniversary of the Progress spacecraft / Mir Spektr module collision
On June 25, 1997, the Progress M-34 spacecraft crashed into Spektr while doing experimental maneuver for a docking with the Kvant-1 module. The collision damaged one of Spektr’s solar arrays and punctured the hull, depressurizing the module. The module was sealed off from the rest of the station to prevent depressurization of the entire Mir station, but required cutting off the power cables from Spektr’s solar panels, which had to be disconnected manually.
An internal spacewalk in the Spektr module in August 1997 by cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, from Soyuz TM-26, succeeded in restoring those power connections by modifying the hatch to allow them to pass through in the closed position. In a second internal spacewalk in October they connected two of the panels to a computer system to allow them to be controlled remotely and align with the Sun. These modifications allowed power generation to return to approximately 70% of the pre-collision generation capability.
Spektr was left depressurized and isolated from the remainder of the Mir complex.
The above image is of the damaged Spektr module.