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Space Missions of the Super70s

By Patrick Mondout

Our favorite decade was a golden age of planetary exploration. The United States launched missions to Mercury, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. In fact the incredible Voyager spacecraft eventually made it to Uranus and Neptune (in the 1980s) leaving Pluto as the only planet which has not been visited. The Soviets landed the first successful spacecraft on Venus and made many visits to the Mercury, the Moon and Mars. SkyLab and Comet Kohoutek became the punchlines to so many Johnny Carson jokes even Mars was smiling!

From the near tragedy of Apollo 13 to the joint US/USSR Apollo-Soyuz mission, here are the most important space missions during the Super70s by nation:

  Space Missions of the United States Space Missions of the Soviet Union
1970 Apollo 13 Luna-1970a
Venera 7
Kosmos 359
Luna 16
Zond 8
Luna 17
1971 Apollo 14
Mariner 8
Mariner 9
Apollo 15
Kosmos 419
Mars 2
Mars 3
Luna 18
Luna 19
Soyuz 11
1972 Pioneer 10
Apollo 16
Apollo 17
Luna 20
Venera 8
Kosmos 482
1973 Pioneer 11
Explorer 49
Mariner 10
Luna 21
Mars 4
Mars 5
Mars 6
Mars 7
1974 Helios 1 Luna 22
Luna 23
1975 Viking 1
Viking 2

Venera 9
Venera 10
Luna 1975a
1976 Helios 2 Luna 24
1977 Voyager 1
Voyager 2
1978 Pioneer Venus 1
Pioneer Venus 2
Venera 11
Venera 12
1979 ISEE3  


Source: NASA.


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Space References (Books):
Dickinson, Terence. Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. Firefly Books, 1998.
Greene, Brian. Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Vintage, 2000.
Hawking, Stephen. Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition. Bantam, 1996.
Hawking, Stephen. Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe. New Millenium, 2002.
Hawking, Stephen. The Universe in a Nutshell. Bantam, 2001.
Kaku, Michio. Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth Dimension.
Kranz, Gene. Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. Berkley Pub Group, 2001.
Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann. Comet, Revised Edition. Ballantine, 1997
Sagan, Carl. Cosmos, Reissue Edition. Ballantine, 1993
Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Ballantine, 1997

Space References (Videos):
Cosmos. PBS, 2000.
Stephen Hawking's Universe. PBS, 1997.
Hyperspace. BBC, 2002.
Life Beyond Earth PBS, 1999.
The Planets
. BBC, 1999.
Understanding The Universe. A&E, 1996.



While the US and USSR were still in a Cold War, they cooperated in the space race with Apollo-Soyuz.

Courtesy of NASA

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