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Mission Monday: A popular week for space missions

Through the decades, the first week of December has been a popular time for space missions. Look back at eight flights that launched this week ranging from 1965 to 2001 with these fast facts.


  • Launch date: Nov. 30, 2000
  • Landing date: Dec. 11, 2000
  • Spacecraft: Shuttle Endeavour
  • Crew: Brent Jett (Commander), Michael Bloomfield (Pilot), Joseph Tanner (Mission Specialist), Marc Garneau (Mission Specialist), and Carlos Noriega (Mission Specialist)
  • Highlights: This mission delivered the first set of U.S.-contributed solar arrays to the International Space Station (ISS).


  • Launch date: Dec. 2, 1990
  • Landing date: Dec. 10, 1990
  • Spacecraft: Shuttle Columbia
  • Crew: Vance Brand (Commander), Guy Gardner (Pilot), Jeffrey Hoffman (Mission Specialist), John Lounge (Mission Specialist), Robert Parker (Mission Specialist), Samuel Durrance (Payload Specialist), and Ronald Parise (Payload Specialist)
  • Highlights: This flight marked the tenth launch for Columbia. The crew used the ASTRO-1 observatory, comprised of four telescopes, to make astronomical observations during this mission.


  • Launch date: Dec. 2, 1988
  • Landing date: Dec. 6, 1988
  • Spacecraft: Shuttle Atlantis
  • Crew: Robert Gibson (Commander), Guy Gardner (Pilot), Richard Mullane (Mission Specialist), Jerry Ross (Mission Specialist), and William Shepherd (Mission Specialist)
  • Highlights: This flight marked the third launch for Atlantis and the third mission committed to the Department of Defense.


  • Launch date: Dec. 2, 1992
  • Landing date: Dec. 9, 1992
  • Spacecraft: Shuttle Discovery
  • Crew: David Walker (Commander), Robert Cabana (Pilot), Guion Bluford, Jr. (Mission Specialist), James Voss (Mission Specialist), and Michael Clifford (Mission Specialist)
  • Highlights: This mission was conducted in support of the Department of Defense and carried a classified primary payload along with unclassified secondary payloads and experiments.


  • Launch date: Dec. 2, 1993
  • Landing date: Dec. 13, 1993
  • Spacecraft: Shuttle Endeavour
  • Crew: Richard Covey (Commander), Kenneth Bowersox (Pilot), Story Musgrave (Payload Commander), Kathryn Thornton (Mission Specialist), Claude Nicollier (Mission Specialist), and Jeffrey Hoffman (Mission Specialist)
  • Highlights: This mission marked the first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the last shuttle flight of 1993.

Gemini 7

    • Launch date: Dec. 4, 1965
    • Landing date: Dec. 18, 1965
    • Spacecraft: Gemini-Titan 7
    • Crew: Frank Borman and Jim Lovell
    • Highlights: This mission marked NASA’s first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit.


    • Launch date: Dec. 4, 1998
    • Landing date: Dec. 15, 1998
    • Spacecraft: Shuttle Endeavour
    • Crew: Robert Cabana (Commander), Frederick Sturckow (Pilot), Nancy Currie (Mission Specialist), Jerry Ross (Mission Specialist), James Newman (Mission Specialist), and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (Mission Specialist)
    • Highlights: This flight was the first shuttle mission to begin assembly of the ISS, and carried Unity, or Node 1 (the first American module), into space.


    • Launch date: Dec. 5, 2001
    • Landing date: Dec. 17, 2001
    • Spacecraft: Shuttle Endeavour
    • Crew: Dominic Gorie (Commander), Mark Kelly (Pilot), Linda Godwin (Mission Specialist), Daniel Tani (Mission Specialist), and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Onufrienko, Mikhail Tyurin and Vladimir Dezhurov
    • Highlights: This mission was a station assembly flight that carried supplies to the ISS and deployed the STARSHINE 2 satellite. The crew also honored the fallen victims of the tragic September 11 attacks by flying American flags and photographs for their families.
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