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1999: The Year in Space - Table 1. Some Significant Space Events in 1999
Designation Date Country Event
Mars Polar Lander January 3 United States First attempt to land near Mars' south pole. Arrived 12/3, after 9/23 loss of Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO), but was also lost. Given up by NASA early in 2000.
STARDUST February 7 United States NASA's comet probe, launched on Delta-2. Currently on its way to Comet Wild-2 where it is to arrive in 2004.
Soyuz TM-29/Mir-27 February 20 Russia Launch of Mir-27 crew of three, incl. French researcher Jean-Pierre Haignère & Slovak Ivan Bella; left Mir on 8/27 unoccupied for first time in 10 years.
WIRE March 4 United States Wide-Field Infrared Explorer, launched on a Pegasus XL; lost after Earth orbit insertion due to excessive tumbling.
Landsat 7 April 15 United States Launch of new Earth observation satellite as a major part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program. Carries Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM Plus).
STS-96 (Discovery) May 27 United States First human visit in history to the new International Space Station ISS & the first supply & service mission, a pathfinder for future heavy logistics flights to ISS.
QuikScat June 20 United States NASA's Quick Scatterometer spacecraft; measures wind speeds & directions over the world's oceans from space.
FUSE June 24 United States NASA's Far-UV Spectroscopic Explorer; determines relationships between interstellar medium & star formation, mass created during Big Bang, etc.
Progress M-42 July 16 Russia Second uncrewed resupply mission to Mir of '99; brought equipment & propellants to prepare Mir for an extended period of unoccupied dormancy
DSSTS-93 (Columbia)-1 July 23 United States Launch of the $1.5billion Advanced X-ray Facility (AXAF), now called Chandra X-Ray Observatory, third in NASA's series of Great Observatories.
IKONOS September 24 United States First of a new generation of non-military Earth-imaging satellites to provide high- resolution images with detail at the 1m (3.3 ft) level for commercial use.
Shenzhou November 19 China Uncrewed 14-orbit test flight & recovery, on an uprated CZ-2F, of China's human space flight "Project 921", using a modified Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
XMM December 10 Europe X-Ray Multi Mission Observatory, Europe's equivalent of Chandra & Hubble, launched on the first operational flight of Europe's Ariane 5 heavy lifter.
Terra December 18 United States "Flagship" of NASA's new-millennium Earth Observation System, for new research into the interactions of Earth's land, ocean, air, ice, and life as a whole system.
STS-103 (Discovery) December 20 United States Third maintenance and repair mission to Hubble Space Telescope, "rescuing" it after loss of four gyroscopes, by major overhaul with new systems.