Space Travel

Last Contact with Pioneer 10

Pioneer 10January 23, 2003

The last successful contact was made with the spacecraft Pioneer 10, one of the most distant man-made objects in the universe. Pioneer 10 is heading in the direction of the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus at roughly 2.6 AU per year. If Aldebaran had zero relative velocity, it would take Pioneer 10 about 2 million years to reach it.

First Lunar Module Test Launch

Apollo 5 EmblemJanuary 22, 1968

Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first unmanned Lunar module into space.

Computer is Used in the Discovery of New Planets

Paul Butler and Geoffrey MarcyJanuary 17, 1996

Paul Butler and Geoffrey Marcy announced to the American Astronomical Society that they had discovered two new planets using an unconventional computer technique to analyze the movement of stars. Since that time, thanks in part to their use of computer technology, Butler and Marcy have become known as “the world’s most successful planet hunters”.

Space Shuttle Columbia Launches for Final Time

Space Shuttle ColumbiaJanuary 16, 2003

Famous for being the first Space Shuttle ever to be launched (mission STS-1), the Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107. This mission would prove to be its final one as Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.

Soyuz 4 & 5 Make History

Soyuz 5 PatchJanuary 16, 1969

Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.

Probe Lands on Titan

Huygens ProbeJanuary 14, 2005

The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe lands on Saturn‘s moon Titan. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.

Telstar 401 Satellite Fails Mysteriously

January 11, 1997

Telstar 401, a satellite owned by AT&T that transmitted computer data, phone calls, and television programming, suddenly fails for no apparent reason. AT&T attempts for over a week to reestablish contact, but ultimately fails. While AT&T never officially acknowledges the possibility, many scientists believe that a major solar storm may have contributed to the failure of the satellite.

Three Spacecraft Dock Together For First Time

January 11, 1978

Soyuz 27 links with Salyut 6 & Soyuz 26, marking the first time that three spacecraft are docked together.

Moon Rocket Announced

January 10, 1962

NASA announces plans to build the C-5 rocket booster. It became better known as the Saturn V moon rocket, which launched every Apollo moon mission.

First RADAR Contact With Moon

January 10, 1946

The first RADAR contact with the Moon is made.