March 24


NASA performs a successful man-rating test fire of the Redstone rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.


In its first launch attempt, Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s Falcon 1 rocket fails to loft the

U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falconsat-2 satellite. The launch attempt from the Kwajalein Atoll failed seconds after launch

and the satellite crashed into a nearby shed.

March 25


The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 10 on a modified SS-6 rocket with the dog Zvezdochka and a cosmonaut dummy aboard. Both were recovered successfully during this last precursor to the first-ever manned space mission.


China’s unmanned Shenzhou 3 launches on a Long March 2 rocket from Jiquan Space Launch Center. The successful test flight paves the way

for China’s first manned orbital flight with the Shenzhou 5 in October 2003.

March 26


The Explorer 3 satellite launches successfully on a

U.S. Army Juno rocket. The satellite, a joint effort by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, collected data on Earth’s radiation belts, micrometeorite impacts and temperature.

March 27


NASA’s Mariner 7 launches on an Atlas-Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The space probe took photographs of Mars’ southern hemisphere and south pole during its flyby of the red planet.


The Soviet Union’s Venera 8 launches for Venus from the

BaikonurCosmodrome on a modified SS-6 rocket. The lander sent back data during its descent and for

50 minutes following its

landing, before

it was destroyed

by the planet’s

high surface pressure and

high temperatures.

March 28


Robert Goddard launches the first rocket with gyroscopic controls near Roswell, N.M. The rocket reached an altitude of 1,460 meters, a distance of 3,960 meters and a speed of 885 kilometers per hour.


NASA performs a successful suborbital test launch of an Apollo capsule on a Saturn 1 rocket

from Cape Canaveral

, Fla.


Japan launches its first pair of Information Gathering Satellites, IGS-1a and IGS-1b, from Tanegashima, Japan, on an H-2 rocket.

IGS-1a is an optical reconnaissance satellite, and

IGS-1b is a radar satellite.