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On this day in 1867 - April 3rd - German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel, observing in Marseilles, discovered Comet 9P/Tempel 1.

in 2005 the comet was the target of NASA's Deep Impact probe.


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On this day in 1966 - April 3rd - the Soviet spacecraft Luna 10 was inserted into orbit around the Moon.

It was the first spacecraft to go into orbit around the Moon, and the first human-made object to orbit any body beyond the Earth.


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On this day in 2014 - April 3rd - ESA satellite Sentinel 1-A was launched from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, the first in its Copernicus EU programme.

Copernicus is the world's largest single Earth observation programme.


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On this day in 1973 - April 5th - NASA launched Pioneer 11.

Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to encounter Saturn and it followed Pioneer 10 into the far reaches of the Solar System.


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On this day in 1965 - April 6th - Intelsat I was the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit.

It was nicknamed Early Bird for the proverb "The early bird catches the worm." Although the satellite remains in orbit, the last time it was activated was in 1990.


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On this day in 1991 - April 7th - the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) was deployed by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

It was the second of NASA's "Great Observatories" and it transformed our knowledge of the high-energy sky, producing the first ever all-sky survey in gamma rays.


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On this day in 2001 - April 7th - NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched.

The orbiter was designed to look for evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as study the planet's geology and radiation environment. Its primary mission was meant to last 32 months, but It's still in service.


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On this day in 1964 - April 8th - NASA's Gemini I was launched - it was an unmanned test flight.

The Gemini program was the bridge between NASA's Mercury program - its original ventures in manned spaceflight - and the Apollo moon program.


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On this day in 1968 - April 9th - Europe's spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) or Guiana Space Centre, became operational.

The first launch was of a sounding rocket from the French Veronique series.


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On this day in 1921 - April 9th - Mary Jackson was born.

Mary Jackson was NASA's first black female engineer. She began as a computer for NASA's predecessor organization, but went on from mathematics to take advanced engineer classes. She worked at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for most of her career.


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