Feb. 4



Soviet mission

to Venus launches on an A-1 rocket from the U.S.S.R.’sBaikonurCosmodrome, but the spacecraft

fails to leave Earth orbit.


Japan launches the commercial communications satellite Sakura 2-A from its Tanegashima Space Center on an N-2 rocket.

Feb. 5


NASA establishes a working group to study multiple aspects of lunar exploration during a meeting at the

Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.



Lunar Orbiter 3 launches on an Atlas-Agena D rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The orbiter was the last in a series designed to photograph potential landing sites for the Apollo lunar landing missions.


The solar observatory ReuvenRamaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) launches on an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket, which was dropped from beneath an L-1011 jet aircraft operating out of

Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla.

Feb. 7



Bruce McCandless performs the first untethered spacewalk outside Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-41B. The spacewalk was conducted using the manned maneuvering unit, a self-propelled backpack-like propulsion device.


NASA’s Stardust spacecraft

launches on a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. The spacecraft was sent on a rendezvous with Comet Wild 2 and became the first to return dust from a comet to researchers on Earth.


Space Shuttle Atlantis

launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on mission STS-98 and delivers the Destiny laboratory module to the international space station.

Feb. 8


Arianespace launches Brazil’s Brasilsat A1 and the 21-country Arab League’s Arabsat 1A, both first generation communications satellites.

Feb. 10


Celestis-02 is launched into orbit aboard

an Orbital Sciences-built Taurus launch vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The spacecraft carried cremated human remains as part of a commercial service venture.