This Day In Space (August 24, 2006): Pluto loses its planetary status (but not our hearts)

On this day 15 years ago, children across the world had to come up with a new way to remember the names of the planets in the solar system. No more pizzas were coming from our educated mothers, instead it would be… nachos?

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This Day In Space: Perseverance launches to Mars; NASA’s most advanced rover yet

The Mars 2020 mission consisted of two main payloads, the Perseverance rover and a technology demonstration helicopter called Ingenuity. Perseverance was the 6th rover ever sent to the Martian surface and was based on the successful design of the 2011 Curiosity rover. On this day, Mars 2020 launched to space.

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This Day In Space (July 20, 1969): Apollo 11 Lands on The Moon

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 (July 8, 2011): The launch of STS-135, the final Space Shuttle launch

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 (June 25, 2019): The launch of STP-2 on Falcon Heavy

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 (June 21, 2004): SpaceShipOne makes first-ever privately funded crewed spaceflight

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 (June 18, 1983): Sally Ride takes her first ride into space

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 (March 24, 1965): Ranger 9 Impacts the Moon

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 (February 1, 2003): The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

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 (December 24, 1968): Apollo 8 captures the famous ‘Earthrise’ photo around lunar orbit

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 (December 22, 1964): The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird makes its first flight

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 (December 21, 1968): Launch of the Apollo 8 mission and first SpaceX booster landing

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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This Day In Space (November 18, 2017): The NOAA-20 satellite was launched into polar orbit

On this day, back in 2017, the NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite was launched into orbit onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Once the satellite reached polar orbit, its official name was changed to NOAA-20 in order to maintain the NOAA’s consistent naming conventions.

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This Day In Space (November 13, 1971): The first manmade spacecraft reaches Mars

On May 30, 1971, Mariner 9 was launched from LC-36B at Cape Canaveral. It was a potentially historic launch because if it was successful, it would be the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. However, Mariner 9 wouldn’t be alone on its journey; in fact, it would be in a race.

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This Day In Space (October 31, 2015): A skull-shaped asteroid passed by Earth

Every once in a while, some scary coincidences take place that makes us all wonder if there is something more at play. That’s exactly what happened about five years ago in 2015 when an asteroid that looked remarkably similar to a human skull zipped past Earth on Halloween.

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This Day In Space (October 28, 2009): NASA launches the Ares I-X flight test vehicle

On October 28, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. PT, Ares I-X was launched from John F. Kennedy Space Center as part of NASA’s Constellation program. Ares I-X was the first-stage prototype and demonstrator for the Ares I, which was supposed to be a crew launch vehicle. Unfortunately, the Constellation program would never achieve its full potential.

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This Day In Space (October 20, 1970): The Soviet Union launches the Zond 8 spacecraft

The Soviet Union’s “Zond” program, which means “probe” in Russian, consisted of 17 spacecraft, the last of which launched on this day back in 1970. It was called Zond 8, and it marked the end of the Zond program despite two more Zond spacecraft having been planned to launch after it.

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This Day In Space (October 4, 1957): The first artificial satellite was launched into orbit

On this day, back in 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into low Earth orbit. Doing so marked both the beginning of the “Space Race” and the world’s first artificial satellite launching into space. The launch both astounded and terrified Americans as it truly displayed the technological prowess that the Soviet Union possessed.

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