Space Travel

Record Stay in Space Begins

January 8, 1994

Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.

Luna 21 Launches

January 8, 1973

Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched. Luna 21 successfully landed on the moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover, Lunokhod 2.

The Last Surveyor Launches

January 7, 1968

Surveyor 7 lifts off from launch complex 36A, Cape Canaveral. Surveyor 7 was the seventh and last lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon.

Space Shuttle Given Green Light

January 5, 1972

U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.

Spirit Lands on Mars

January 4, 2004

Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, lands successfully on Mars.

Luna 1 Reaches Moon

January 4, 1959

Two days after launch, the Soviet spacecraft Luna 1 becomes the first to reach the vicinity of the Moon.

Sputnik 1 Falls

January 4, 1958

After nearly 3 months in orbit, the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 falls to Earth.

Mars Polar Lander Launched

January 3, 1999

The Mars Polar Lander is launched. The mission ultimately ended in failure during an attempted landing on Mars’ surface. Attempts to re-establish communication with the lander failed after the lander entered Mars’ atmosphere. It has been concluded that the most likely cause of the failure was a software error, causing the lander to crash into the planet. Even though software was the likely culprit, it has not been proven that Microsoft had anything to do with it 🙂

Stardust Flies By Comet Wild 2

January 2, 2004

The NASA spacecraft Stardust successfully flies past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.

Luna 1 Launch

January 2, 1959

Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, is launched by the U.S.S.R.