This Week In Space History

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  Space News Business

This Week In Space History

posted: 14 February 2008
09:17 am ET











Feb. 11





2002:

Five Iridium communications satellites launch into low Earth orbit on board a Delta 2 rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.




Feb. 12



1961:

The Soviet Union launches the unmanned probe Venera 1 to Venus. Though it failed to enter the planet’s orbit, it became the first spacecraft to




make a flyby of




Venus on its way to orbiting the sun.


2001:

NASA’s Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission lands on the asteroid Eros




to gather information on its




composition, mass, geology and gravity.




Feb. 14



1972:

The Soviet Union launches the unmanned spacecraft Luna 20, which successfully completes




a soft landing on the Moon and returns




soil samples back to the Earth.




Feb. 15



1961:

James E. Webb is sworn in as NASA Administrator, replacing




T. Keith Glennan, the first person appointed




to the




post.




2006:

Sea Launch lofts the direct-broadcast television satellite Echostar 10 on a Zenit-3SL rocket from its Odyssey ocean-faring platform in the Pacific Ocean.




Feb. 16





1971:

Japan launches its Tansei satellite on an M-4S-2 launch vehicle from the Kagoshima Space Center. The launch




was a test for the M-4S-2




rocket and




for satellite performance




.




Feb. 17





1959:

The U.S. Navy’s Vanguard 2 satellite launches from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a Vanguard rocket.




The satellite –




designed to measure cloud-cover from




orbit – produced the first series of satellite photographs of Earth.


2007:

NASA launches five nearly identical probes in its Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions




during Substorms, or THEMIS, mission. Launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the mission was designed to track the origin of substorms, which cause the appearance of auroras on Earth, within the Earth’s magnetic field.