Feb. 18


U.S. astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers the ninth

planet, Pluto. However, in August 2006, the International Astronomical Union redesignated Pluto as a dwarf planet



Japan’s Superbird 4 communications satellite is launched into geosynchronous-transfer orbit by Arianespace on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle

from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Feb. 19


Japan launches Marine Observation Satellite-1, a remote-sensing, ocean-monitoring satellite, from Tanegashima Space Center on a Japanese H-1 rocket. The satel

lite was the country’s first marine observation satellite.

Feb. 20


The United States begins the Blossom Project, in which V-2 rockets

carrying fruit flies and different seed types are launched to test their reaction to exposure to cosmic radiation.


Odin, an astronomy and atmospheric research satellite developed by the Swedish Space Corp.,

launches on a Start-1 launch vehicle from Svobodny in Russia’s Far East.

Feb. 21


The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency launches the Akari sky surveyor satellite on an M-5 rocket from Japan’s Uchinoura Space Center. The probe’s primary mission was to create an infrared map of the known universe.

Feb. 22


In the last flight of the launch vehicle, a

n Ariane 1 rocket lofts France’s Spot 1 remote sensing satellite and Sweden’s Viking science satellite from Kourou, French Guiana.


NASA’s Galileo probe performs a flyby of

Jupiter’s moon Io. The spacecraft was deployed in October 1989 from

Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-34 mission.