KSC: This Week in Space (July 1-15)
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex just shared with us the latest edition of their regular feature known as "This Week in Space." Let's take a look back:
- July 1, 1962: Kennedy Space Center was founded on this day as America’s Spaceport. A year after founding, the center was named after the man who set America on path to space exploration.
- July 2, 1985: The European Space Agency launched their Giotto spacecraft with the purpose of studying the composition of Halley’s Comet.
- July 3, 1992: The first of NASA’s Small Explorer (SMEX) missions launched to study various cosmic rays and energy particles beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
- July 4, 1997: On this day the Mars Pathfinder, Sojourner, successfully landed on Mars making it the first rover to ever reach another planet. From the final data transmission of September of that year, the missions returned more than 17,000 pictures as well as 15 chemical analyses and information on weather.
- July 5, 1982: Challenger, the second of five orbiters among the Space Shuttle Fleet, arrived at Kennedy Space Center. Originally called OV-099, Challenger was named after the British Naval research vessel HMS Challenger.
- July 6, 1687: Isaac Newton's “Principia” was published on the laws of motion. Newton believed that all motion followed the same basic principle which encouraged a new search for merging patterns in nature.
- July 7, 1914: Robert H. Goddard received a U.S. patent for first multi-stage rocket, thus pioneering the way to space exploration.
- July 8, 2011: STS-135 Atlantis launched on the final shuttle mission for the American Space Shuttle Program. Closing out the 30 year chapter of space shuttle history, Atlantis spent 13 days in space delivering supplies to the International Space Station. Now, Atlantis has a new home here at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
- July 9, 1979: The Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter. Together with Voyager 1, the two spacecrafts took over 33,000 photos of Jupiter and its satellites before continuing on the journey to capture images of the other three outer, gas planets.
- July 10, 1962: Telstar communication satellite launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was the first communications satellite and the first commercial payload in space.
- July 11, 1979: Skylab reentered the atmosphere after almost six years of orbiting the Earth. Skylab was the first space station and a prime science and engineering laboratory for astronauts.
- July 14, 1965: The Mariner 4 spacecraft obtained the first close range images of Mars. Mariner 4 took 22 photographs of the Martian surface and it continued sending images to Earth through October of that year.
- July 15, 1975: The first international space partnership, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, took place between Russian and U.S. space ventures. This first encounter of international space flight occurred when the Apollo and the Soyuz docked for a nine-day mission that inevitably brought the two former rivals together as one. This mission was used to test rendezvous and docking systems, as well as space rescues.