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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 in East Derry, Derry, New Hampshire.

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 2013 – November 19th – Apollo 12 astronauts landed on the Moon in the southeastern part of the Ocean of Storms.

Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean carried out lunar surface tasks. Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit.

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On this day in 2005 – November 19th – the Hayabusa spacecraft of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) became the first ever to lift off from an asteroid.

It had collected a sample of material from near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa, which it then returned to Earth.

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On this day in 1889 – November 20th – American astronomer Edwin Hubble was born in Marshfield, Missouri.

He showed that the Universe was much bigger than our own Galaxy, and his observations provided evidence for an expanding universe. The Hubble Space Telescope is named for him.

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On this day in 1998 – November 20th – the Zarya module was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Zarya was the first module of the International Space Station. A much expanded space station is still operating with crews made up of astronauts from many nations.

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