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SPACE FLIGHT 2006 - The Year in Review

Table 1. Some significant Space Events in 2006

Designation
Date
Country
Event
New Horizons Jan 19 United States Launch on a Atlas 5 as humankind's first mission to the planet Pluto, with flyby at Jupiter in Feb. 2007, to arrive at Pluto in summer 2015.
Akari
(Astro-F)
Feb 21 Japan Infrared observatory, launched by JAXA on an M-V rocket into a 462-mi. (739 km) high polar orbit. Mass: 2,035 lbs (925 kg).
MRO March 10 United States Arrival of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) at the Red Planet and start of maneuvers into final science orbit at 155 mi. (250 km) x 196 mi. (316 km).
Soyuz TMA-8IISS-12S March 29 Russia Launch of the 7th ISS crew rotation flight on a Soyuz-FG, bringing the Expedition 13 crew of Pavel Vinogradov & Jeffrey Williams, plus 8-day visitor Marcos Cezar Pontes.
Venus Express April 11 Europe Arrival of ESA's first Venus exploration probe at the target planet, after a 153 day cruise, to study Venus from a 250 x 60,000 km/24-hour orbit.
Progress
M-56/21P
April 24 Russia Uncrewed logistics cargo/resupply mission to the International Space Station ISS, on a Soyuz-U rocket.
CloudSat/ CALIPSO April 28 United States Launch of twin environmental satellites by NASA on a Delta 2 into a polar orbit at 438 mi. (705 km) for observation of cloud & aerosol effects on climate & weather.
Progress
M-57/22P
June 24 Russia Uncrewed logistics cargo/resupply mission to the International Space Station ISS, on a Soyuz-U rocket.
STS-121 (Discovery) July 4 United States The long delayed 2nd shuttle Return to Flight Mission (ULF1.1) to ISS, with cargo for ISS, ESA Astronaut Thomas Reiter for ISS, and 3 EVAs during a 13d 6h 37m mission.
STS-115 (Atlantis) Sept 9 United States ISS Mission 12A with new truss elements (P3/P4) to resume station assembly and deployment of new solar arrays, with 3 EVAs, for a mission duration of 11d 19h 6m.
Soyuz TMA-9IISS-13S Sept 18 Russia Launch of the 8th crew rotation flight to ISS on a Soyuz-FG, bringing the Expedition 14 crew of M. Lopez-Alegria & M. Tyurin, plus first female space tourist Anousheh Ansari (10d).
Progress
M-58/23P
Oct 23 Russia Uncrewed logistics cargo/resupply mission to the International Space Station ISS, on a Soyuz-U rocket.
STEREO-A/STEREO-B Oct 25 United States Launch of twin Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory satellites by NASA on a Delta 2 into solar orbit, STEREO-A ahead of Earth, STEREO-B trailing behind Earth.
STS-116 (Discovery) Dec 9 United States ISS Mission 12A.1 with the P5 truss element for assembly, ISS crewmember Sunita Williams to replace Thomas Reiter, four EVAs. Total mission duration: 12d 20h 45m.