Apollo 1 Tragedy [January 27, 1967]

On January 27, 1967, three NASA astronauts, Roger B. Chaffee (b. February 15, 1935), Virgil I. Grissom (b. April 3, 1926), and Edward H. White II (b. November 14, 1930) died when a flash fire swept through the Apollo 1 command module during a launch rehearsal test. The three men inside perished despite the best …

Neptune became the outermost planet on January 21, 1979

On January 21, 1979, a rare phenomenon occurred in our solar system: Neptune, the 8th planet from the Sun, took over Pluto and became the outermost planet as Pluto moved closer due to their highly elliptical orbits. Pluto was still a planet back then (good old days!).

The first soft landing on Titan was performed by the Huygens spacecraft on January 14, 2005

On January 14, 2005, the Huygens spacecraft, the atmospheric entry robotic probe part of the Casini-Huygens mission performed the first soft landing on Titan. As of 2023, it is the only one accomplished in the outer Solar System and was also the first on a moon other than Earth’s, and the most distant landing ever.

The first soft landing on another planet (Venus) was performed by Venera 7 on December 15, 1970

On December 15, 1970, Soviet Union’s Venera 7 spacecraft landed on Venus’ surface and became the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on another planet. It also transmitted information to Earth for 53 minutes, 23 minutes of them from the Venusian surface, another first in the history of space exploration (the first data transmission …

Mars Pathfinder was launched on December 4, 1996

On December 4, 1996, Mars Pathfinder, a robotic spacecraft that was designed primarily to demonstrate a low-cost way of delivering a set of science instruments and a free-ranging rover (Sojourner) to the Martian Surface was launched from Cape Canaveral on top of a Delta II rocket.

The first soft Mars landing was performed on December 2, 1971

On December 2, 1971, Soviet Union’s Mars 3 robotic space probe performed the first soft Mars landing. But, just 110 seconds after the landing, and 20 seconds after the transmissions has begun, it failed and transmitted just a gray image with no details. Although having no scientific value, this was the first transmission ever from …

International Space Station was launched on November 20, 1998

On November 20, 1998, the first element of the International Space Station, the Russian module Zarya (which means “Sunrise” in Russian) was launched into space on top of a Proton rocket. It was the first step towards more than two decades of international cooperation, scientific research, and discovery.

The first photo of Earth from space [October 24, 1946]

The first photo of Earth from space was taken by a captured German V-2 rocket (V2 #13) on October 24, 1946. The rocket was launched from the White Sands Missile Range carrying a 35mm motion picture camera onboard. The camera also recorded the first footage of Earth from space, snapping an image every second and …