This Week In Space History

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  Space News Business

This Week In Space History

posted: 31 July 2007
03:55 pm ET











July 23


1980:

Soyuz 37 launches from BaikonurCosmodrome




to the Soviet Salyut space station, during the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.




Its crew includes




Phaum
Tuan, a Vietnamese national and the first cosmonaut




from a non-Warsaw Pact nation.

July 24


1950:

The two-stage Bumper 8 becomes the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Bumper 8 integrated the Wac Corporal upper stage with a German-built V-2 rocket first stage. The Bumper 8 flew 288 kilometers




miles




downrange.


1969:

Apollo 11, the first spacecraft to send humans to the surface of the Moon, splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, 434 kilometers away from its original landing site to avoid a storm.


1975:





The last Apollo mission splashes down in the Pacific Ocean after having docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in low Earth orbit July 17.




Astronauts conducting




the




Apollo-Soyuz Test Project were exposed to toxic nitrogen tetroxide fumes during descent due to




a landing-procedure error. The astronauts all




made a full recovery.


2006:

The failure of a Russian Dnepr rocket results in the loss of nearly 20 nanosatellites carrying scientific payloads from various academic institutions and Belarus’ first satellite, a remote sensing spacecraft named Belka.






July 26


1963:

NASA launches Syncom 2,




the first successful communications satellite to be placed into geosynchronous orbit following the loss of contact




with Syncom




1. Built by Hughes Aircraft, Syncom 2




transmitted television broadcasts of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.


1971:

The Apollo 15 manned lunar landing mission was launched from Cape Canaveral.




Apollo 15 marks NASA’s first use




of a lunar rover on the Moon’s surface.


2005:

NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery launches toward the international space station, becoming the first space shuttle mission since the Feb. 1, 2003, loss of Space Shuttle Columbia




. Though Discovery returned safely and was considered a success, NASA found that some foam insulation had shed during liftoff, which is what led to




Columbia’s disintegration upon re-entry. It would almost be another year until the next shuttle mission, with the launch of Discovery again July 4, 2006




.



July 28


1964:

Ranger 7, the first successful lunar probe,




launches




on a collision course




with the Moon. The NASA probe sent back 4,316 photographs with six cameras until it was intentionally crashed into the Moon’s Sea of Clouds




at 7,500 kilometers per hour.



July 29


1958:

U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, thus authorizing the creation of NASA.