Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

International Space Exploration

Japan Reaches Venus

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Akatsuki Climate Orbiter spacecraft to explore Venus. In 2010, a crucial engine burn to insert Akatsuki into orbit around Venus failed.


The European Space Agency’s (ESA) sent the Trace Gas Orbiter to Mars with a test module called Schiaparelli.

Netting Satellites

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Clean Space Initiative has been investigating ways to deal with dead satellites.

Chinese Craft Orbits Moon

In October 2014, the Chinese Chang’e 5-T1 spacecraft completed an 8-day mission to orbit the moon.

India Spacecraft at Mars

On September 24th, India announced their unmanned spacecraft MOM entered the orbit of Mars.

China's Moon Mission

China launched the Chang’e-3 probe on December 1st and landed on the moon in the Sea of Rainbows on December 14th.

Russians Launch Animals

Friday, April 19th, Russians launched the Bion M1 spacecraft into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan.

Small Satellites from Europe

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Vega launcher carried nine small satellites into orbit in February. Vega is ESA’s new, versatile space launcher.

Progress 44 Explodes

Mission Control Moscow lost all contact with Progress 44 spacecraft, headed for the International Space Station (ISS) with 2.5 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the ISS.

ESA Moon Mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) is in the early stages of planning a mission to the South Pole of the moon.

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