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Today In Space History

Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit & Opportunity Land On Mars

Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit & Opportunity Land On Mars
Of all Mars spacecraft, only a third has succeeded in completing their mission. Turns out that sending things to Mars is pretty hard, go figure. ...

Luna 1, the First Spacecraft To Get Close to the Moon

Luna 1, the First Spacecraft To Get Close to the Moon
Luna 1 launched on 2 January 1959 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kzachstan on a SS-6 Sapwood rocket.  As part of the Soviet Luna program, its g...

Apollo 8 Completes First Manned Moon Orbit

Apollo 8 Completes First Manned Moon Orbit
In the summer of 1968, the stakes were as high as they get. In 1961, US President John F. Kennedy had promised in a speech that they would put a ...

First Successful SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

First Successful SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Landing
Successful first stage landing - grab the poster On 21 December 2015, Falcon 9 made its 20th flight. Most of these previous flights had a clear go...

15 December 1970 - Venera 7 Lands on Venus

15 December 1970 - Venera 7 Lands on Venus
Venera 7 lander On December 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 became the first human object to land on another planet. After the Mariner 2 was t...

14 December 1962 - Mariner 2 Completes First Successful Planetary Flyby of Venus

14 December 1962 - Mariner 2 Completes First Successful Planetary Flyby of Venus
Mission crew members unveiling a print-out of the Mariner 2 flyby of Venus On 14 December 1962, the Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to perfor...

8 December 2010 - SpaceX Dragon Becomes First Commercially Built Spacecraft to Re-enter Atmosphere

8 December 2010 - SpaceX Dragon Becomes First Commercially Built Spacecraft to Re-enter Atmosphere
On 8 December 2019, SpaceX launched and recovered its Dragon spacecraft. With that feat, it became the first private company to recover a spacecr...

7 December 1995 - Galileo Completes First Jupiter Orbit

7 December 1995 - Galileo Completes First Jupiter Orbit
On 7 December 1995, Galileo arrived at Jupiter and completed the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It was launched 6 years earlier and had as mis...

4 December 1978 - The Pioneer Venus Orbiter Enters Venus Orbit

4 December 1978 - The Pioneer Venus Orbiter Enters Venus Orbit
Image credit: NASA On 4 December 1978, the Pioneer Venus Orbiter entered Venus Orbit. In 1975, two Venus landers Venera 9 and 10 had already transm...

3 December 2013 - SpaceX Launches Its First Satellite In Supersynchronous Orbit

3 December 2013 - SpaceX Launches Its First Satellite In Supersynchronous Orbit
  Image copyright James McCloskey  On 3 December 2013, SpaceX successfully launched and the SES-8 satellite and brought it into orbit. SES-8 is a ...

2 December 1971 - Mars 3 Sends First Image Of Mars Surface Back To Earth

2 December 1971 - Mars 3 Sends First Image Of Mars Surface Back To Earth
Mars 3 was part of the Soviet Mars program. That whole program consisted of 2 mission: the Mars 2  and Mars 3. Both had identical rockets, orbiter...

27 November 1971 - Soviet Mars 2 Crash Lands on Mars' surface

27 November 1971 - Soviet Mars 2 Crash Lands on Mars' surface
Try to get picture the atmosphere in the mission control room of the Soviet space program in November 1971. Soviet mission control center 6 months ...