This Day In History
This Day In History
Saturday, December 15, 2018


October 15, 2001

NASA's Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter's moon Io. The radiation environment near Io in particular was very unhealthy for Galileo's systems, and so these flybys were saved for the extended mission when loss of the spacecraft would be more acceptable.
Io, NASA, Galileo spacecraft, spacecraft, space

January 4, 2004

Spirit, a NASA Mars...
Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, lands successfully on Mars at 04:35 UTC. Spirit, MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A), is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.
Spirit, space, Mars, NASA

October 27, 1961

NASA launches the first...
NASA launches the first Saturn I rocket in Mission Saturn-Apollo 1. The Saturn I was the United States' first heavy-lift dedicated space launcher, a rocket designed specifically to launch large payloads into low Earth orbit. Most of the rocket's power came from a clustered lower stage consisting of tanks taken from older rocket designs and strapped together to make a single large booster, leading critics to jokingly refer to it as "Cluster's Last Stand".
Saturn, space, NASA

November 14, 1969

Mission insignia
Mission insignia
NASA launches Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the Moon. Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the American Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon (an H type mission). It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms. Key objectives were achievement of a more precise landing (which had not been achieved by Apollo 11), and to visit the Surveyor 3 probe to remove parts for analysis. The mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown, having completed the main mission parameters successfully.
Apollo program, NASA, Apollo 12, space

November 19, 1969

Apollo 12 astronauts Pete...
Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum (the "Ocean of Storms") and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.
Apollo program, NASA, Apollo 12, space

November 28, 1964

NASA launches the Mariner...
NASA launches the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars. Mariner 4 was the fourth in a series of spacecraft intended for planetary exploration in a flyby mode and performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world largely changed the view of the scientific community on life on Mars.Mariner 4 was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration. On December 21, 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.
Mariner program, Mariner 4, NASA, space, Mars

March 3, 1915

NACA, the predecessor of...
NACA, the predecessor of NASA, is founded. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915, to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NACA was pronounced as individual letters, rather than as an acronym.

March 23, 1965

NASA launches Gemini 3,...
NASA launches Gemini 3, the United States' first two-man space flight. Gemini 3 was the first manned mission in NASA's Gemini program, the second American manned space program. On March 23, 1965, the spacecraft, nicknamed Molly Brown, performed the seventh manned US spaceflight, and the 17th manned spaceflight overall (including X-15 flights over 100 kilometers). It was also the final manned flight controlled from Cape Canaveral, Florida before mission control functions were shifted to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Gemini 3, NASA, space

March 29, 1974

NASA's Mariner 10 becomes the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury. The first Mercury encounter took place at 20:47 UT on March 29, 1974, at a range of 703 kilometres (437 mi), passing on the shadow side.
Mariner 10, space probe, Mercury, NASA, space

April 26, 1962

NASA's Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon. Ranger 4 was a spacecraft of the Ranger program designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to crashing upon the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. An onboard computer failure caused failure of the deployment of the solar panels and navigation systems; as a result the spacecraft crashed on the far side of the Moon without returning any scientific data.
Ranger 4, NASA, space, Moon
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