Sputnik 6
Science & Exploration

1 December

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science

1960: On 1 December 1960, Pchelka (Little Bee) and Mushka (Little Fly) were launched aboard the Soviet Sputnik 6 mission.

The launch was perfect and the dogs spent a day in orbit. There were problems with the retrofire burn and the re-entry angle was too steep. The rocket and its passengers were burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

Bernhard Schmidt
Bernhard Schmidt

1935: On 1 December 1935, Bernhard Voldemar Schmidt died.

He was an Estonian-born astronomer and optical instrument maker who invented the telescope named after him. In 1929, he devised a new mirror system for reflecting telescopes which overcame previous problems of aberration of the image. He used a vacuum to suck the glass into a mold, polishing it flat, then allowing in to spring back into shape. The Schmidt telescope is now widely used in astronomy to photograph large sections of the sky because of its large field of view and its fine image definition.

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