1968 in spaceflight

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1968 in spaceflight
NASA Earthrise AS08-14-2383 Apollo 8 1968-12-24.jpg
The crew of Apollo 8 were the first humans to witness Earthrise, photographed by William Anders on December 24, 1968
Orbital launches
Total 6

The United States National Space Science Data Center catalogued 157 spacecraft placed into orbit by launches which occurred in 1968.[1] The first manned Apollo missions occurred in 1968. It was also the year in which Earth lifeforms first left low Earth orbit, during the successful Zond 5 mission, and the year that humans first left low Earth orbit, during the successful Apollo 8 mission.


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


22 January
United StatesSaturn IB (C-1B) United StatesLC-37B, Cape Canaveral United StatesNASA
Apollo 5 NASA LEO Test Lunar Module 12 February 1968
Minor malfunction of LM descent stage engine, otherwise successful


4 April
United StatesSaturn V (C-5) United StatesLC-39A, Kennedy United StatesNASA
Apollo 6 NASA LEO Test CSM heat shield at Lunar return speeds. Test S-IVB re-ignition in LEO. 4 April 1968
Partial failure
Experienced Pogo oscillation during S-IC first stage ascent. S-IVB failed restart test.


11 October 1968
United StatesSaturn IB (C-1B) United StatesLC-34, Cape Canaveral United StatesNASA
Apollo 7 NASA LEO Manned orbital flight 22 October 1968
First manned Apollo flight
25 October 1968
Soviet UnionSoyuz (R-7/A-2) Soviet UnionLC-1/5, Baikonur Soviet UnionRVSN
Soyuz 2 RVSN LEO Docking target for Soyuz 3 28 October 1968
Soyuz 3 failed to dock
26 October
Soviet UnionSoyuz (R-7/A-2) Soviet Union LC-31/6 Baikonur Soviet UnionRVSN
Soyuz 3 RVSN LEO Manned orbital flight 30 October 1968
Partial Failure
Failed to dock with Soyuz 2


21 December
United StatesSaturn V (C-5) United StatesLC-39A, Kennedy United StatesNASA
Apollo 8 NASA Selenocentric Manned lunar orbiter 27 December 1968
First manned mission to the Moon

Deep space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
10 January Surveyor 7 Lunar landing in the debris from Tycho crater
31 January Lunar Orbiter 5 Lunar impact
10 April Luna 14 Selenocentric orbit insertion
18 September Zond 5 Flyby of the Moon; first return to Earth after flight to Moon; first Earth life forms to travel around the moon Closest approach: 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi)
14 November Zond 6 Flyby of the Moon Closest approach: 2,420 kilometres (1,500 mi)
24 December Apollo 8 Selenocentric orbit insertion; first humans to travel around the moon
25 December Apollo 8 Leaves selenocentric orbit Completed 10 orbits

Orbital Launch Summary

See also


  • 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:


  1. ^ "Spacecraft Query Results". Master Catalog Search. NASA NSSDC. Retrieved 30 May 2010.

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