The USSR launched Luna 13 on a mission to soft-land on the Moon.
NASA launched Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon from the Kennedy Space Center. The astronauts would make ten orbits of the Moon on Christmas Eve, when it would take the first close-up photographs of the lunar surface
The Soviet space probe Venera 12 entered the atmosphere of the planet Venus and landed on its surface, from which it would return data for approximately one hundred and ten minutes. During that time, it would record evidence of electrical discharges which would be later attributed to lightning.
The USSR launched the Vega 2 space probe on a mission to perform a fly-by of Halley's Comet, which it would perform on March 9, 1986.
The Soyuz spacecraft TM-4 carried three cosmonauts on a mission to space station Mir.
One year to the day after being launched into space, the former crew of the TM-4, Vladimir Titov, Anatoly Levchenko, and Musa Manarov Vladimir return to Earth.
Galaxy XI, the world's largest commercial communications satellite, was launched. It was equipped with a record sixty-four transponders.