This Day In Space Overview Updated July 16, 2021

This Day In Space

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17 'This Day In Space' stories

October 2020 - July 2021


Apollo 1 launch pad fire January 27, 1967 Read More
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster January 28, 1986 Read More


Space Shuttle Columbia disaster February 1, 2003 Read More


Ranger 9 impacts Moon March 24, 1965 Read More


First American woman in space (Sally Ride) June 18, 1983 Read More
First privately funder crewed spaceflight (SpaceShipOne) June 21, 2004 Read More
Falcon Heavy STP-2 launch June 25, 2019 Read More
SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 failure June 28, 2015 Read More


STS-135: Final launch of the Space Shuttle July 8, 2011 Read More


Sputnik: First satellite launched to space October 4, 1957 Read More
Zond 8 launched to the Moon October 20, 1970 Read More
NASA Ares 1-X launch October 28, 2009 Read More
Skull shaped asteroid passes by Earth October 31, 2015 Read More


Mariner 9: First manmade object reaches Mars November 13, 1971 Read More
NOAA-20 launched into orbit November 18, 2017 Read More


Apollo 8 launches first crew to the Moon December 21, 1968 Read More
SpaceX lands first orbital-class booster vertically December 21, 2015 Read More
SR-71 takes its first flight December 22, 1964 Read More
Apollo 8 captures the famous “Earthrise” image December 24, 1968 Read More

This Day In Space Stories July 20

It’s a hot and humid summer morning. On July 16th, 1969 the silence was broken by the sound of five F-1 engines roaring to life. Apollo 11 lifted off at 9:32 AM EDT on a mission of a lifetime. On July 20th, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are about to land on the Moon.

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This Day In Space Stories July 8

STS-135 Touchdown at Kennedy Space Center | Image credit: NASA/Chad Baumer
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Space Shuttle Atlantis currently resides in an exhibit building at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, its permanent home. Back on this day in 2011, Atlantis would fly for the last time. STS-135 marked the end of the Space Shuttle Program.

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This Day In Space Stories June 25

SpaceX launched the Space Test Program 2 (STP-2) mission in early June 25th, 2019. STP-2 was launched on the third flight of Falcon Heavy, reusing the side boosters from the Arabsat-6A launch earlier that year.

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This Day In Space Stories June 21

On this day 17 years ago the age of privately funded space ventures reached a major milestone with Mojave Aerospace Ventures’ SpaceShipOne flight. Mojave Aerospace Ventures is a joint venture between Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites, largely funded by Paul Allen. This marked the first privately funded and developed crewed spaceflight and also led won Mojave Aerospace Ventures the Ansari X Prize.

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This Day In Space Stories June 18

Today marks an important milestone in spaceflight history. For the first time on the Space Shuttle, a woman would fly and bring motivation to little girls everywhere to join the STEM industry.

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This Day In Space Stories March 24

On this day in 1965, Ranger 9 impacted the Moon at 14:08:19 UTC with a relative speed of 2.67 km/s (5,972 mph). This impact concluded the 3-day mission of Ranger 9 and the overall Ranger program. This mission gathered important data needed for the later Surveyor program, and ultimately the Apollo program.

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This Day In Space Stories February 1

On January 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia set off on its 28th mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the launch, a one-pound piece of foam broke off and impacted the thermal protection system on the edge of the shuttle’s left wing. NASA’s ignorance of the damage caused by this would ultimately spell doom for the crew of seven onboard.

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This Day In Space Stories December 24, 2020

Humans first orbited the Moon on this day in 1968, and while on their first pass around the backside of the Moon, they first saw with their own eyes Earthrise over the horizon.

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This Day In Space Stories December 22, 2020

In the early 60s, the Cold War was intensifying between the United States and the Soviet Union. Because of rising tensions between the two superpowers, the threat of a nuclear war was a genuine concern for both sides. So naturally, spying and reconnaissance became valuable tactics.

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This Day In Space Stories December 21, 2020

Launch of the Apollo 8 mission (December 21, 1968)

On the morning of December 21, 1968, a 36-story-tall Saturn V rocket towered over Cape Kennedy, now known as Cape Canaveral. Thousands of onlookers gathered to view the historic event on the nearby beaches. Sitting atop the lumbering Saturn V was the Apollo 8 spacecraft, ready to carry the first humans around the moon.

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