Jan. 14


U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower reassigns the Army Ballistic Missile Agency’s Development Operations Division, headed by Wernher von Braun, to NASA.


The Soviet Union’s chief designer, SergeiKorolev, dies from complications stemming from routine surgery, leaving the Soviet space program without its most influential leader of the preceding 20 years.


Koreasat 2 launches on a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Identical to Koreasat


the satellite was designed to provide direct broadcasting and fixed-station telecommunications across the Korean peninsula.


U.S. President George W. Bush announces

the Vision for Space Exploration, which

moves missions to the Moon and Mars to the top of

NASA’s priorities list.

Jan. 16


The Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy creates

the Special Subcommittee on Outer Space Propulsion, chaired by Sen.

Clinton Anderson (D-N.M.).


The Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-107, launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., carrying aboard

the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, to fly into space. Columbia disintegrated Feb. 1 upon re-entry, killing its entire seven-astronaut crew.

Jan. 19


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory awards a


to Hughes Aircraft Co. to build seven Surveyor spacecraft. The Surveyor spacecraft were designed to

soft land

on the Moon and

take observations of the lunar surface.


Gemini 2 launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on a Titan 2 launch vehicle. It was the second unmanned test launch for NASA’s first multi-crew orbiter.


NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft launches on an Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The spacecraft is slated to fly past Pluto and its moon Charon in July 2015.

Jan. 20


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center awards contracts to develop a paraglider recovery system for the Saturn rocket to North American Aviation and Ryan Aeronautical.