On this day in 1968 – December 6th – ESRO (a precursor to the European Space Agency) had its Highly Eccentric Orbit Satellite (HEOS-1) launched from Cape Kennedy.

It was the first European satellite to venture beyond near-Earth space. It studied magnetic fields, radiation and the solar wind, which required an orbit stretching two-thirds of the way to the Moon.

Mona Evans
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