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On this day in 1680 - November 14th - German astronomer Gottfried Kirch discovered the comet C/1680 V1.

It was the first comet to be discovered using a telescope, and became one of the brightest comets of the 17th century.


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On this day in 1971 - November 14th - NASA's Mariner 9 was inserted into Martian orbit.

Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit Mars.


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On this day in 1738 - November 15th - William Herschel was born in Hannover, now part of Germany.

Herschel, a naturalized Englishman, was the first person in history to discover a new planet (Uranus). Working in partnership with his sister Caroline, he helped to lay the foundations of modern astronomy.


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On this day in 1974 - November 15th - Spain launched its first satellite, Intasat, on a Delta rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base in the United States.

Intasat was a small spacecraft carrying a beacon experiment to study the ionosphere. It was in operation for two years.


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On this day in 1970 - November 17th - the Soviet Mission Luna 17 landed on the Moon.

Luna 17 contained the Lunokhod 1 rover, the first wheeled vehicle on Moon.


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On this day in 1995 - November 17th - the European Space Agency (ESO) launched the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO).

It was the first orbiting infrared observatory that allowed astronomers to make sensitive observations at infrared wavelengths.


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On this day in 1923 - November 17th - NASA astronaut Alan Shepard was born.

Shepard was the first American in space, though not the first to orbit. He later commanded the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon.


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On this day in 1989 - November 18th - NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) was launched.

COBE was a cosmology satellite that investigated the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). It provided key pieces of evidence that supported the Big Bang theory of the Universe.


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On this day in 2013 - November 18th - NASA's MAVEN spacecraft was launched.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) is a space probe designed to study the Martian atmosphere from Mars orbit.


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On this day in 1956 - November 19th - NASA astronaut Eileen Collins was born.

Collins, who had been a military test pilot, was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and the first woman commander of a space shuttle.


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