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Monday, February 3, 2014

This Day in Science History - February 3 - Space Race Firsts

February 3rd, 1966 was a day for two 'firsts' during the Space Race between the United States and Soviet Union. The United States launched the first meteorological satellite, the ESSA-1. ESSA-1 (Environmental Science Services Administration) would take photographs of cloud cover and transmit the data to the National Meteorological Center. It would be supplemented by 8 other ESSA satellites over the next three years and provided weather information to receiving stations in 45 different countries.

The Soviet Union successfully landed a probe on the surface of the Moon for the first soft landing on another celestial body. The Luna 9 spacecraft touched down and began taking photographs of the area around the landing site. Luna 9 was the second spacecraft to reach the moon after the Luna 2 probe crashed into the surface in 1959.

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