1970 in spaceflight
Orbital launches
First11 February
Last12 December
Successes124
Failures10
Catalogued114
National firsts
Satellite Japan
 China
Orbital launch Japan
 China

Japan and China each launched their first satellites in 1970, bringing the total number of nations with independent launch capability to five. Apollo 13 was launched; after suffering an explosion in deep space it had to circumnavigate the moon and use the LM as a life boat. Apollo 13 was a successful disaster in which the crew survived. The Soviet space program continued its Luna program with Luna 17, which delivered the robotic Lunokhod 1 rover to the lunar surface, and Luna 16, which achieved the first unmanned lunar sample return. The Soviets also continued the success of the Venera Venus probes with Venera 7, the first man-made spacecraft to successfully land on another planet and to transmit data back to Earth, though it only survived 23 minutes on the surface.

Launches

This is a list of spaceflights launched in 1970.

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks

February

11 February Japan Lambda-4S Japan Kagoshima Japan Japan
Japan Ohsumi Tokyo University Low Earth Technology 2 August 2003 Successful
First satellite launched by Japan

March

3 March
21:15
United Kingdom Black Arrow United Kingdom Woomera United Kingdom RAE
RAE Low Earth Test LV In orbit Successful

April

11 April
19:13
United States Saturn V (C-5) United States Kennedy LC-39A United States NASA
United States Apollo 13 CSM Odyssey NASA Intended: Lunar orbit
Actual: Lunar free return
Manned Lunar orbit. 15 April 1970 Failure
United States Apollo 13 LM Aquarius NASA Intended: Lunar landing
Actual: Lunar free return
Manned lunar landing 15 April 1970 Failure
Explosion in Service Module crippled spacecraft, resulting in mission abort. Mission aborted due to CSM malfunction. LM used to help bring crew back to Earth.
24 April China Long March 1 Rocket China Jiuquan China PRC
China Dong Fang Hong I PRC Low Earth Test satellite In orbit Successful
First satellite launched by China

June

1 June
19:00
Soviet Union Soyuz (R-7/A-2) Soviet Union Baikonur Site 1 Soviet Union RVSN
Soviet Union Soyuz 9 RVSN Low Earth Manned Orbital Spaceflight 19 June 1970
11:58
Successful
Longest Manned flight involving only one spacecraft. (As of 09/06/06)
1 June
19:00
United Kingdom Black Arrow United Kingdom Woomera United Kingdom RAE
United Kingdom Orba RAE Low Earth Micrometeoroid detection satellite In orbit Failure
First British attempt to launch a satellite. Failed to reach orbit after premature 2nd stage cutout.

September

12 September
13:25
Soviet Union Proton-K/D Soviet Union Baikonur 81/23 Soviet Union
Luna 16 Selenocentric Lunar lander In orbit Successful
First unmanned lunar sample return, first Soviet lunar sample return

October

20 October
19:55
Soviet Union Proton-K/D Soviet Union Baikonur 81/23 Soviet Union
Zond 8 Highly elliptical Spacecraft test In orbit Successful
Final circumlunar flight of the Zond program.

December

12 December
10:54
United States Scout B Kenya San Marco mobile range, Kenya Kenya CRA
Kenya Uhuru NASA Low Earth X-ray astronomy In orbit Successful
First satellite dedicated to X-ray astronomy.

Off-world launches

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
21 September
7:43
Soviet Union Luna 16 Ascent stage Mare Fecunditatis (Moon)
Soviet Union Luna 16 Return capsule Soviet Union Highly elliptical Sample return 17 September 1970 Successful
First unmanned lunar sample return mission

Deep Space Rendezvous

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
11 April 1970 Apollo 13 S-IVB stage Impacted the Moon
15 April Apollo 13 Lunar flyby at 254 kilometres (158 mi) Intended lunar landing, forced to abort and return to Earth using lunar free return trajectory
20 September Luna 16 100gm from Mare Fecunditatis First sample return mission
24 October Zond 8 Circumlunar flight of the Moon 1,110 kilometres (690 mi)
17 November Luna 17 Delivered Lunokhod 1 at Mare Imbrium First robotic Lunar rover
15 December Venera 7 Atmospheric probe worked for 23 min on the Venerian surface First soft landing on another planet

References

  • Bergin, Chris. "NASASpaceFlight.com".
  • 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).
Generic references:

Footnotes