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.
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.
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.
January 5, 1972
U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program.
January 4, 2004
Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, lands successfully on Mars.
January 4, 1959
Two days after launch, the Soviet spacecraft Luna 1 becomes the first to reach the vicinity of the Moon.
January 4, 1958
After nearly 3 months in orbit, the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 falls to Earth.
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 🙂
January 2, 2004
The NASA spacecraft Stardust successfully flies past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.
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.