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1961 in spaceflight

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1961 in spaceflight
Vostok 1 after landing.jpg
The Vostok 1 spacecraft, aboard which Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth on 12 April 1961
Orbital launches
First31 January
Last22 December
Partial failures2
National firsts
Spaceflight Italy
Space traveller Soviet Union
 United States
Maiden flightsAtlas LV-3A Agena-B
Kosmos-2I 63S1
Saturn I (suborbital test)
RetirementsAtlas LV-3A Agena-A
Juno II
Crewed flights
Total travellers4

Deep Space Rendezvous

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
19 May Venera 1 First flyby of Venus Spacecraft was already non-functional as communication had been lost en route, closest approach: 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi)

Notable creations of orbital debris

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
29 June[1] Thor-Able upper stage of Transit 4A navigation satellite Rocket explosion 294[1] First explosion of a rocket stage in orbit creating hundreds of debris pieces

Orbital launch summary

By country

1961 Launches.svg
  Soviet Union
  United States
Orbital launch attempts by country in 1961
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
 Soviet Union 9 5 4 0
 United States 41 23 16 2

By rocket

Rocket Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Atlas LV-3A Agena-A  United States 1 1 0 0 Retired
Atlas LV-3A Agena-B  United States 7 2 4 1 Maiden flight
Atlas LV-3B  United States 3 2 1 0 First orbital launch
RM-90 Blue Scout II  United States 1 0 1 0 First orbital launch
Juno II  United States 3 1 2 0 Retired
Kosmos-2I 63S1  Soviet Union 2 0 2 0 Maiden flight
Molniya 8K78  Soviet Union 2 1 1 0
Scout X-1  United States 3 1 2 0
Thor DM-21 Ablestar  United States 3 2 0 1
Thor DM-21 Agena-B  United States 17 11 6 0
Thor DM-19 Delta  United States 3 3 0 0
Vostok-K 8K72K  Soviet Union 5 4 1 0

By orbit

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not Achieved Accidentally Achieved Remarks
Low Earth 41 28 13 3
Medium Earth 1 1 0 0
High Earth 6 2 4 0 Including Highly elliptical orbits
Heliocentric 2 1 1 0


Generic references:
 Spaceflight portal
  • Bergin, Chris. "".
  • Clark, Stephen. "Spaceflight Now".
  • Kelso, T.S. "Satellite Catalog (SATCAT)". CelesTrak.
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Chronology of Space Launches".
  • Kyle, Ed. "Space Launch Report".
  • McDowell, Jonathan. "Jonathan's Space Report".
  • Pietrobon, Steven. "Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive".
  • Wade, Mark. "Encyclopedia Astronautica".
  • Webb, Brian. "Southwest Space Archive".
  • Zak, Anatoly. "Russian Space Web".
  • "ISS Calendar". Spaceflight 101.
  • "NSSDCA Master Catalog". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • "Space Calendar". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • "Space Information Center". JAXA.
  • "Хроника освоения космоса" [Chronicle of space exploration]. CosmoWorld (in Russian).


  1. ^ a b Orbital Debris: A Chronology (PDF). NASA JSC. January 1999. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 September 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2016. Two hours after separating from the U.S. Transit 4-A satellite, its Able Star upper stage becomes the first known artificial object to break up unintentionally in space. The cause of the explosion is unknown. The event produces at least 294 trackable pieces, more than tripling the number of known satellites of Earth.

This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 01:29
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