1970 in spaceflight

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1970 in spaceflight
Orbital launches
First 11 February
Last 12 December

1970 saw Japan and China launch their first rockets and satellites. Apollo 13 was launched; after suffering an explosion in deep space it had to circumnavigate the moon and use the LM as a life boat. Apollo 13 was a successful disaster in which the crew survived. The Soviet space program launched lunar rovers this was known as the Lunokhod program. Also continued success of the Venera 7 Venus probes in which it became the first man-made spacecraft to successfully land on another planet and to transmit data from there back to Earth survived 23 minutes on the surface before being crushed.


This is a list of spaceflights launched in 1970.

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome


11 February Japan Lambda-4S Japan Kagoshima Japan Japan
Japan Ōsumi Tokyo University Low Earth Technology 02 August 2003 Successful
First satellite launched by Japan


03 March
United Kingdom Black Arrow United Kingdom Woomera United Kingdom RAE
RAE Low Earth Test LV In orbit Successful


11 April
United States Saturn V (C-5) United States Kennedy LC-39A United States NASA
United States Apollo 13 CSM Odyssey NASA Intended: Lunar orbit
Actual: Lunar free return
Manned Lunar orbit. 15 April 1970 Failure
United States Apollo 13 LM Aquarius NASA Intended: Lunar landing
Actual: Lunar free return
Manned lunar landing 15 April 1970 Failure
Explosion in Service Module crippled spacecraft, resulting in mission abort. Mission aborted due to CSM malfunction. LM used to help bring crew back to Earth.
24 April China Long March 1 Rocket China Jiuquan China PRC
China Dong Fang Hong I PRC Low Earth Test satellite In orbit Successful
First satellite launched by China


01 June
Soviet Union Soyuz (R-7/A-2) Soviet Union Baikonur Site 1 Soviet Union RVSN
Soviet Union Soyuz 9 RVSN Low Earth Manned Orbital Spaceflight 19 June 1970
Longest Manned flight involving only one spacecraft. (As of 09/06/06)
01 June
United Kingdom Black Arrow United Kingdom Woomera United Kingdom RAE
United Kingdom Orba RAE Low Earth Micrometeoroid detection satellite In orbit Failure
First British attempt to launch a satellite. Failed to reach orbit after premature 2nd stage cutout.


12 December
United States Scout B Kenya San Marco mobile range, Kenya Kenya CRA
Kenya Uhuru NASA Low Earth X-ray astronomy In orbit Successful
First satellite dedicated to X-ray astronomy.

Deep Space Rendezvous[edit]

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
15 April Apollo 13 Lunar flyby at 254 kilometres (158 mi) sample return mission
20 September Luna 16 100gm from Mare Fecunditatis sample return mission
24 October Zond 8 Circumlunar flight of the Moon 1,110 kilometres (690 mi)
17 November Luna 17 Delivered Lunokhod 1 at Mare Imbrium
15 December Venera 7 Atmospheric probe worked for 23 min on the Venerian surface


Generic references: