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On this day in 1989 - August 8th - ESA's Hipparcos astrometry mission was launched.

Pinpointing the stars, their motion and distance, this mission mapped the heavens more accurately than ever before.


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On this day in 2000 - August 9th - ESA launched the second pair of Cluster satellites.

They completed the four-satellite constellation of the Cluster II mission, which is still making the most detailed investigation yet of how the Sun and Earth interact.


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On this day in 1675 - August 10th - the first Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed laid the cornerstone for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

By the end of the 19th century most of the world's shipping was using navigation charts based on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich.


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On this day in 1966 - August 10th - NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 was launched.

It was the first American spacecraft to orbit the Moon.


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On this day in 1990 - August 10th - NASA's Magellan spacecraft entered orbit around Venus to begin radar mapping of the surface.

It had been launched on May 4, 1989, the first interplanetary mission to be launched from the Space Shuttle.


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On this day in 1877 - August 12th - Asaph Hall discovered Deimos, moon of Mars.


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On this day in 2005 - August 12th - NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was launched.

Since 2006, MRO has been conducting reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit.


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On this day in 1970 - August 17th - the Soviet probe Venera 7 was launched.

When it landed on the Venusian surface, it became the first spacecraft both to land on another planet and to transmit data from there back to Earth.


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On this day in 2006 - August 17th - Voyager 1 was 100 AU from the Sun.

100 AU (astronomical units) is 100 times farther away from the Sun than Earth is, and twice as far away as Pluto is at the most distant part of its orbit.


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On this day in 1936 - August 17th - Margaret Hamilton was born.

Hamilton was the lead developer for the Apollo flight software, and her rigorous systems approach was essential to its success.


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