This Week In Space History

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  Space News Business

This Week In Space History

posted: 19 June 2008
01:32 pm ET





June 16


1963:

Soviet cosmonaut ValentinaTereshkova launches into orbit on Vostok 6 from BaikonurCosmodrome, becoming the first woman in space.


1977:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s second Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES- 2, launches on a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The meteorological satellite monitored the Atlantic region and the eastern United States.


1983:

Eutelsat 1, the first in a series of commercial communications satellites developed by the European Space Agency for Eutelsat, launches on an Ariane 1 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana.

June 17


1985:

Sultan SalmanAbdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia becomes the first person of Arab descent to go into space as an astronaut when he launched aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The STS 51-G mission deployed communications satellites: the Arab Satellite Communications Organization’s Arabsat-A, Mexico’s Morelos-A and AT&T’s Telstar-3D.

June 18


1952:

H. Julian Allen, a scientist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, devises a blunt-nose design for spacecraft to dissipate heat more effectively during atmospheric re- entry, a concept used on NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions.


1959:

Six U.S. Navy sailors participate in an eight-day experiment in a simulated space cabin at the Air Crew Equipment Laboratory of the Naval Air Material Center at the Philadelphia Naval Base.


1977:

Fred Haise and Gordon Fullerton performed the first shuttle approach and landing test on Enterprise, an atmospheric test version of the space shuttle, which took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., mounted to NASA’s modified Boeing 747 aircraft.


1983:

Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first U.S. woman to go to space. Ride and the STS-7 mission crew launched aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and deployed two communications satellites, Telesat Canada’s Anik C-2 and Indonesia’s Palapa-B1, during the mission.

June 20


1996:

NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia launches the STS-78 mission from Kennedy Space Center. The primary payload for the mission was the Life and Microgravity Spacelab – a joint effort between NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and the French Space Agency, CNES – which included more than 40 biological and microgravity experiments.

June 21


2004:

Mike Melvill pilots Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne past Earth’s atmosphere and into space, becoming the first private plane to accomplish that feat.

June 22


1960

: A Thor-Able rocket launches the U.S. Navy’s Transit 2-A and Solrad 1 experimental navigation satellites from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the first time two instrumented satellites are launched into orbit on the same rocket.


1976:

The Soviet Union launches the Salyut 5 space station from BaikonurCosmodrome on a Proton rocket. It was the second successfully deployed Soviet Almaz, or military, space station.


1978:

U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy discovers Pluto’s moon Charon.


1999:

NASA’s Quick Scatterometer, or QuikScat, launches on a Titan 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The oceanographic satellite was designed to measure wind speeds and directions over oceans.