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On this day in 1997 - October 30th - the European Space Agency (ESA) launched its first successful Ariane 5 rocket.

The Ariane 5, Europe's most powerful launch vehicle, has been used to launch the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, numerous telecom satellites, all of the International Space Station ATV resupply ships, the Herschel Space Observatory, and the Rosetta mission.


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On this day in 2005 - October 31st - the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of two new moons of Pluto was announced.

The moons were later named Nix and Hydra.


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On this day in 1919 - November 1st - Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist Hermann Bondi was born.

Bondi was a distinguished academic, Fellow of the Royal Society, and among many positions outside academia, he served as Director-General of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) (1967–1971) (which later became the European Space Agency, ESA).


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On this day in 1917 - November 2nd - the 100-inch telescope on Mount Wilson saw first light.

Edwin Hubble would make observations with this telescope that showed there was much more to the Universe than just our own Galaxy.


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On this day in 1885 - November 2nd - American astronomer Harlow Shapley was born.

Shapley, director of the Harvard College Observatory for thirty years, was best known for his studies of the Milky Way.


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On this day in 2000 - November 2nd - Expedition 1 arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS has been continuously occupied ever since then.


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On this day in 1957 - November 3rd - Sputnik 2 carried the dog Laika into space.

Laika was the first living creature to enter Earth orbit.


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On this day in 1973 - November 3rd - NASA launched the Mariner 10 Venus/Mercury probe.

It was the first spacecraft to visit two planets and also the first to make use of an interplanetary gravitational slingshot maneuver.


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On this day in 2013 - November 5th - the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).

MOM - also called Mangalyaan ("Mars-craft" in Sanskrit) was India's first interplanetary mission. In September 2019 it completed its fifth year in orbit and is expected to have enough propellant for another year.


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On this day in 1966 - November 6th - Lunar Orbiter II was launched.

The Lunar Orbiter program was a series of five unmanned missions launched by NASA to help select Apollo landing sites by mapping the Moon's surface.


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