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DECEMBER 11

* Last day humans stood on the Moon. The words of the plaque say:

HERE MAN COMPLETED HIS FIRST EXPLORATION OF THE MOON DECEMBER 1972 A.D. MAY THE SPIRIT OF PEACE IN WHICH WE CAME BE REFLECTED IN THE LIVES OF ALL MANKIND. (Apollo 17, 1972)

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DECEMBER 12

* First pad abort of a manned spacecraft after the engines were fired, (Gemini 6), 1965.

* The first amateur radio ("ham") satellite launched (1961)

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DECEMBER 13

* Pioneer 8 successfully launched to explore Earth's magnetotail and wake which streams from the Sun (1967).

* Two balloon satellites were launched by USAF using Scout rockets. Balloons with orbits between 194 miles and 481 miles are to be targets for missles launched from F-15 jet fighters (1985).

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DECEMBER 14

* Mariner 2 passed within 34,762 kilometers (21,600 miles) of Venus on December 14, 1962, and became the first spacecraft to scan another planet.(Click on Mariner for more information.)

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DECEMBER 15

* First rendezvous in space of two manned spacecraft, Gemini 7 and Gemini 6 (1965).

* Soviets launched Vega, a Halley fly-by spacecraft (1984).

* The Soviet Union's Venera 7 spacecraft became the first spacecraft to soft-land on Venus (1970).

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DECEMBER 16

* Soviet craft landed on Venus, which was the first time for a spacecraft from Earth reached the planet's surface (1970).

* Pioneer 6 left Earth successfully for a close view of the Sun. The craft orbited the Sun between Earth and Venus for 311 days, at a distance of from 75 to 90 million miles from the Sun (1965).

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DECEMBER 17

* The Wright brothers performed the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (1903).

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DECEMBER 18

* The first human voice transmitted from space was by an Atlas rocket. The voice from Project Score was that of President Eisenhower, a pre- recorded Christmas greeting (1958).

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DECEMBER 19

* First airplane flight in Japan was flown by Y.Tolugawa in an H. Farman bi-plane (1910).

* A test flight of the unmanned Mercury capsule is launched into space reaching an altitude of 130.7 miles and distance of 235 miles from the launch site (1960).

* Apollo 17, last manned mission to the Moon, returns to Earth. Astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmidt performed man's longest stay on the Moon, some 74 hours and 59 minutes, while command module pilot, Ronald E. Evans orbited above the Moon until the pair of moon-walkers docked their lunar module with the command module for the return to Earth (1972).

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DECEMBER 20

* The European Space Agency (ESA) used an Ariane rocket to launch a maritime (Marecs 1) communications satellite. It was launched from French Guiana (1981).

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DECEMBER 21


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