Oct. 15


India launches the IRS P2 remote sensing satellite. It is the first launch of India’s indigenously developed, four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.


NASA launches the Saturn-bound Cassini-Huygens mission from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a Titan 4B rocket.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory-built spacecraft arrived at Saturn July 1, 2004, and released the Europe-supplied Huygens probe Dec. 24, 2004, to descend into the atmosphere of

Saturn’s moon Titan and crash on its surface.


China launches its first taikonaut,

People Liberation Army

Lt. Col. YanLiwei, into orbit aboard

the Shenzou 5 capsule. The launch aboard

a Long March 2F rocket took place from Jiuquan Space Launch Center.

Oct. 16


NASA launches the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

-A, the first in the

ongoing series of GOES weather satellites, aboard

a Delta rocket for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oct. 17


India launches

Resourcesat-1, a remote sensing satellite, aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

Oct. 18


The Soviet Union’s Venera 4 probe lands on Venus and captures data on

the planet’s atmosphere and chemical composition.

Oct. 20


The Soviet Union launches the Zond 8 lunar flyby spacecraft aboard a Proton rocket. The probe circled around the Moon, taking

photographs of the lunar surface and of the

Earth, before returning for an

Oct. 27 splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

Oct. 21



President Dwight D. Eisenhower transfers the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Ala., headed by Werner von Braun, to the recently

formed NASA, pending congressional approval