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This Week In Space History

Aug. 20


The first Redstone missile, which later became the launch system for several missions in NASA’s Mercury program, is test fired. The rocket missed its target by 240 kilometers.


Viking 1

, the first successful martianlander, launches aboard a Titan 3 rocket


Aug. 21


Gemini 5 launches astronauts Pete Conrad and Leroy Cooper for an eight-day mission in

Earth orbit on a Titan 2 rocket.


Echostar 8, a geostationary telecommunications satellite for the satellite-broadcasting company Echostar, launches from BaikonurCosmodrome aboard a Russian Proton rocket.


Koreasat 5, a dual-use telecommunications satellite, launches from Kiritmati aboard a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket.

Aug. 22


While on the launch pad at Alcntra, in Brazil, the third prototype for the VLS-1 launch vehicle explodes

when its fuel ignited too soon, killing 21 people and severely damaging the launch facility.

Aug. 25


NASA launches the Spitzer Space Telescope from a Delta rocket.

Aug. 27


Mariner 2 launches on an Atlas rocket for Venus. The probe beco

mes the first to successfully perform an interplanetary flyby

as it passes

by Venus on Dec. 14, 1962.


Symphonie 2, a telecommunications satellite owned jointly by France and West Germany

launches aboard a Delta 2 rocket.

Aug 29


Japan successfully launches its two-stage H-2A rocket, which has become its workhorse launch system.