1978 in spaceflight

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1978 in spaceflight
Atlas Centaur with Pioneer Venus Orbiter.jpg
The Pioneer Venus Orbiter atop an Atlas-Centaur before launch
Orbital launches
First 6 January
Last 28 December
Total 128
Catalogued 124
National firsts
Space traveller  Czechoslovakia
 Poland
 East Germany
Rockets
Retirements Atlas-Agena
Mu-3H
Crewed flights
Orbital 5
Total travellers 10

1978 saw the launch of the Pioneer Venus missions launched by the United States, on 20 May and 8 August. The Pioneer Venus Multiprobe landed four spacecraft on the planet, one of which transmitted data for 67 minutes before being destroyed by atmospheric pressure. ISEE-C, which was launched on 8 December, flew past comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner in 1985, and Halley's Comet in 1986.[1]

Launches[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
10 January
12:26:00
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 1/5 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionSoyuz 27 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 EP-1 16 March
11:18
Successful
Manned flight with two cosmonauts
20 January
08:25
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 31/6 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionProgress 1 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 logistics 8 February
02:00
Successful
Maiden flight of Progress spacecraft
2 March
15:28:10
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 1/5 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionSoyuz 28 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 EP-2 10 March
11:24
Successful
Manned flight with two cosmonauts, first Czechoslovakian in space
20 May
13:13:00
United StatesAtlas SLV-3D Centaur United StatesCape Canaveral LC-36A United States
United StatesPioneer Venus Orbiter NASA/ARC Cytherocentric Venus orbiter 22 October 1992 Successful
Entered 181.6 x 66,360-km orbit around Venus on 4 December 1978.
15 June
20:16:45
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 1/5 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionSoyuz 29 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 EO-2 31 September
11:40
Successful
Manned flight with two cosmonauts
16 June
10:49
United StatesDelta 2914 United StatesCape Canaveral LC-17B United States
United StatesGOES 3 NOAA Geostationary Weather In orbit Successful
Decommissioned on 29 June 2016.
27 June
15:27:21
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 1/5 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionSoyuz 30 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 EP-3 5 July
13:30
Successful
Manned flight with two cosmonauts, first Pole in space
8 August
07:33
United StatesAtlas SLV-3D Centaur United StatesCape Canaveral LC-36A United States
United StatesPioneer Venus Multiprobe Bus NASA/ARC Heliocentric Venus atmospheric probe 9 December 1978
20:22:55
Successful
United StatesPioneer Venus Large Probe NASA/ARC Heliocentric Venus atmospheric probe 9 December 1978
19:39:53
Successful
United StatesPioneer Venus North Probe NASA/ARC Heliocentric Venus atmospheric probe 9 December 1978
19:42:40
Successful
United StatesPioneer Venus Night Probe NASA/ARC Heliocentric Venus atmospheric probe 9 December 1978
19:52:07
Successful
United StatesPioneer Venus Day Probe NASA/ARC Heliocentric Venus atmospheric probe 9 December 1978
20:55:34
Successful
Day Probe survived landing, sent data for an additional 67 minutes afterward. First American probe to send data from the surface of Venus.
12 August
14:12:00
United StatesDelta 2914 United StatesCape Canaveral LC-17B United States
United StatesEuropean UnionInternational Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3)/International Cometary Explorer (ICE) NASA/ESRO Sun/Earth L1 to Heliocentric Probing interaction of Earth's magnetic field with solar wind, later cometary research In orbit Successful
First probe stationed at Sun/Earth L1 Lagrangian point. Later entered heliocentric orbit, encountering Comet Giacobini–Zinner on 11 September 1985. It would also study Halley's Comet from a distance in 1986.
26 August
14:51:30
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 1/5 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionSoyuz 31 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 EP-4 2 November
11:04
Successful
Manned flight with two cosmonauts, first East German in space
3 October
23:09:30
Soviet UnionSoyuz-U Soviet UnionBaikonur Site 31/6 Soviet Union
Soviet UnionProgress 4 Low Earth (Salyut 6) Salyut 6 logistics 26 October
16:28
Successful

Deep Space Rendezvous[edit]

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
4 December Pioneer Venus Orbiter Cytherocentric orbit insertion
9 December Pioneer Venus Multiprobe Venerian atmospheric entry The bus, one large and three small subprobes
21 December Venera 12 Venerian landing
25 December Venera 11 Venerian landing

EVAs[edit]

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
29 July
04:00
2 hours
20 minutes
06:20 Salyut 6
PE-2
Soviet UnionVladimir Kovalyonok
Soviet UnionAleksandr Ivanchenkov
Ivanchenkov retrieved samples and experiments attached to the outside of Salyut. Kovalyonok assisted with the retrievals and used a color television camera to transmit EVA images to the ground controllers.

References[edit]

Generic references:

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Hughes, J (1996) Larousse Desk Reference Encloypedia London RD Press