Nov. 12


The Soviet Union launches its Venera 2 probe from BaikonurCosmodrome, Kazakhstan,

aboard an SS-6 rocket on a planned flyby of Venus.

The probe ceased

functioning before reaching the planet and no data is returned.


The NASA Space Shuttle Columbia launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. On the STS-2 mission, astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly tested the shuttle’s robotic arm. The planned five-day mission returned after only two days due to a

fuel cell failure


Nov. 13


The U.S. Mariner 9, launched in May, becomes the first spacecraft to orbit Mars and provides the first complete map of the red planet’s surface.


Blue Origin, owned by founder Jeff Bezos, tests an unpiloted version of its New Shepard suborbital passenger-carrying vehicle

. The vehicle, dubbed Goddard, successfully performed a vertical take-off and landing from Blue Origin’s private West Texas launch site.

Nov. 14


Apollo 12 launches aboard a Saturn 5 rocket from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon

and Alan Bean. The mission marks

the second successful Moon landing and return to Earth.

Nov. 16


The Soviet Union’s Venera 3 launches on a journey to Venus on an SS-6 rocket from BaikonurCosmodrome, Kazakhstan

. During the planned landing attempt, the lander accidentally crashes into the planet’s surface and fails to return data. However, it becomes the first man-made object to hit the surface of another planet.

Nov. 17


NASA selects Chrysler Corp.

to develop and launch 20 1st-stage Saturn 1 rocket boosters

under a $200 million five-year contract.

Nov. 18


NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer launches for Earth orbit

aboard a Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The space telescope detected infrared and microwave background radiation from the beginning of the universe.