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Notable Events in Astronomy and Aerospace History

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 10/24/2010

Today marks the anniversary of the discovery of three natural satellites within our own solar system across one hundred fifty years. Read about these events and more about Astronomy and Aerospace History with this chronology of notable events in the history of space exploration.

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    Chronological Events


    Astronomer Tycho Brahe, born Tyge Ottesen, dies. Brahe was well known for his extensive astronomical observations.


    William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two of the satellites of the planet Uranus later named for character in Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope. Ariel was determined to have an estimated diameter of 1,160 km and a period of 2.52 days while Umbriel was determined to have an estimated diameter of 1,170 km and an orbital period of about 4 days.


    A camera carried aboard the V-2 No.13 rocket captures the first photographs of Earth ever taken from space.


    The United States Air Force launched the X-20 Dyna-Soar program in order to develop a spaceplane capable of flying military missions, including: bombing, reconnaissance, satellite maintenance, and space rescue; however the government would discontinue the program by December 10, 1963, before even a single craft had been produced.


    Nedelin Disaster Nedelin DisasterIn a serious set-back for the USSR, Chief Marshal of Artillery Mitrofan Nedelin died in a fuel explosion along with 125 other personnel at launch pad 41 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome during a test of a Soviet ICBM. The incident, which would later be dubbed "The Nedelin catastrophe," was the result of the highly corrosive nature of the rocket's fuel, hypergolic UDMH-nitric acid, otherwise known as "Devil's Venom." The USSR wil long deny the incident, later claiming that Nedelin died in a separate plane crash.


    The Soviet space probe Mars 1962A is launched but burns up either during the ascent or during a navigational burn.


    Magion 1, the first Czechoslovak satellite, was launched.


    Intelsat 5 re-enters Earth's atmosphere five months after its failure.


    A total solar eclipse visible from Iran, India, Thailand, and Southeast Asia occurred.


    The NASA space probe Deep Space 1 was launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral on a mission to test new technologies in the hope of reducing the cost of future missions. Particularly, the probe tests an electrostatic ion thruster system which used a xenon propellant.


    The Cassini Imaging Team discovered Polydeuces, one of the satellites of Saturn, in images taken on October 21st.

    17p Holmes 2007

    The periodic comet Comet Holmes (17P/Holmes) developed a coma, flared to five hundred thousand times its former brightness, and briefly became visible to the un-aided human eye. Its coma eventually became larger in terms of volume than the Sun, making it only the second comet to behave in such a manner in 2007.