This Day In Astro History

venera 8
Lavochkin 3V (V-70) 
Venera 7 Spacecraft

Gemini Spacecraft Gemini Spacecraft 
at rendezvous

December 15

1984 - Vega 1 Launch. Soviet twin missions to Venus (lander) and Comet Halley flyby.

1970 - The USSR's Venera 7 touches down on Venus and becomes the first spacecraft to transmit data from another planet. Although data transmission after landing only lasted 23 minutes, possibly due to landing on its side from a parachute failure at 30 feet altitude, its temperature and pressure sensors confirmed that the planet's surface air pressure was ninety times that of Earth and the temperature was over 475 degrees Celsius (900 degree Fahrenheit).

1965 Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 carried out the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in Earth orbit. The Gemini 6 astronauts were Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford, and the astronauts of Gemini 7 were Frank Borman and James A. Lovell, Jr. - You Tube Video ...

1911 - How's this for a particularly notable "first" in astronomy (considering what it took in 1911 to be able to make this observation): "It is quite interesting, to see the sun wander round the heavens at so to speak the same altitude day and night. I think we are the first to see this curious sight." Roald Amundsen, leader of the first group to reach the South Pole Dec. 15, 1911 (and possibly the first group to reach either Pole) (sledging diary, Dec. 16, 1911; quoted in Huntford, "Scott and Amundsen")
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene