February 24, 1949
The first US rocket to reach outer space (Bumper 5) is launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. The rocket was a modified German V-2 ballistic missile. It reached a record altitude of 244 miles, which broke the unofficial record of 117 miles, reportedly set by a V-2 missile launched by Germany in 1944. The later named and established Kármán line, which is 62.1 miles (100 kilometers) above the Earth’s sea level, is considered the upper limit of Earth’s atmosphere and the beginning of Outer Space.
February 20, 1986
The Soviet Union launches the core module of the Mir space station. The core module will provide living quarters for the cosmonauts, including a galley, cooking elements, storage, individual crew cabins and personal hygiene area. Five additional modules will be launched between March 1987 and April 1996.
February 18, 1977
The first Space Shuttle orbiter, the Enterprise, embarks on its maiden flight in “captive mode,” attached to the top of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The flight is the first of five captive flights before the orbiter is finally released to land on its own. The nine month test program is conducted through November 1977 at the Dryden Flight Research Facility to demonstrate that the orbiter can fly and land like an airplane. The Enterprise, while the first shuttle to fly, was not the first space-worthy orbiter and was only used for testing purposes.
February 11, 1974
The first Titan-Centaur rocket test launch fails. However the test was successful enough that no more tests were performed and this rocket design was used 6 more times successfully. Scientists are strange.
February 11, 1970
Japan launches Osumi, their first satellite. By doing so, Japan becomes the 4th nation to put a satellite in orbit.