This Week In Space History

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  Space News Business

This Week In Space History

posted: 19 March 2008
03:14 pm ET










March 17





1958:

The U.S. Navy’s Vanguard 1 satellite launches on a three-stage Vanguard rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The scientific satellite collected geodetic measurements of the Earth. The satellite’s successful launch helped atone for the publicly televised failure of the first Vanguard launch in December 1957.


2002:

The U.S. and German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites are launched by a Rockot booster from PlesetskCosmodrome in northern Russia. The twin satellites have taken precise measures of the Earth’s gravitational field.






March 18





1965:

The Soviet Union’s second-generation manned orbiter Voskhod 2 launches from the BaikonurCosmodrome on a Soyuz rocket carrying cosmonauts PavelBelyayev and AleskseyLenonov. During the 16-orbit flight, Lenonov conducts the first spacewalk.


2001:

A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket launches XM Satellite Radio’s XM-2 satellite from its Odyssey platform in the Pacific Ocean.






March 19







1970:





The joint U.S. Air Force-NASA X-24A plane completes




its first powered flight from NASA Dryden in Edwards, Calif.




The X-24A was built by Martin Marietta and piloted by Air Force Maj. Jerauld Gentry. The plane’s




lifting body design









eventually was used




in the design of the space shuttle.






March 21





1999:

China’s Asiasat 3S communications satellite is launched on a Russian Proton rocket from the BaikonurCosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


2000:

An Ariane 5 rocket launches WorldSpace’sAsiaStar digital-radio broadcast satellite and India’s Insat 3B telecommunications satellite from Kourou, French Guiana.


2007:

Space Exploration Technologies’ Falcon 1 rocket fails to orbit due to premature engine shutdown on its second demonstration flight.






March 23







1961:

Soviet cosmonaut ValentinVasilyevichBondarenko is killed during a




training exercise when the




pure oxygen pressure chamber of the Vostok simulator




catches fire .


1965:

NASA’s Gemini 3 launches on a Titan 2 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., carrying astronauts Virgil Grissom and John Young on a three-orbit test flight. It was the first manned test flight for the two-manned spacecraft.