The year 2007 contained several significant events in
spaceflight, including a Chinese
ASAT test, the launches of the US
Dawn missions to study
Asteroid belt respectively,
Lunar orbiter, and the first Chinese Lunar
The internationally accepted definition of a spaceflight is any flight which crosses the
Kármán line, 100 kilometres above sea level. The first recorded spaceflight launch of the year occurred on 10 January, when a
PSLV, launched from the
Satish Dhawan Space Centre, placed four spacecraft into
low Earth orbit. One of these spacecraft was
SRE-1, which returned to Earth twelve days later, in the first
Indian attempt to recover a satellite after
Several carrier rockets made their maiden flights in 2007; the
Long March 3B/E,
Proton-M Enhanced. These were all modernised or upgraded versions of existing systems. The
RS-24 missile also conducted its first launch, and the Atlas V made its first flight in the 421 configuration. The first
Libertad 1 and
Rascom-QAF 1 respectively, were launched in 2007, although a helium leak reduced Rascom's operational lifetime by thirteen years.
The launch of a Delta II Heavy with the Dawn spacecraft.
Several spacecraft were launched to explore the
Moon. Japan's Kaguya orbiter, along with the smaller
Ouna relay spacecraft, was launched on 14 September. The spacecraft entered
Selenocentric orbit on 3 October. China launched its first Lunar probe, Chang'e 1, on 24 October, with the spacecraft entering Selenocentric orbit on 5 November. In 2009, two satellites launched into highly elliptical Earth orbits in 2007 as part of the
THEMIS mission were also sent to the Moon. They are expected to arrive in October 2010.
In August, the
NASA Phoenix spacecraft was launched towards Mars, followed by the Dawn mission to the Asteroid belt in September.
Cassini continued to make flybys of the moons of
Saturn, mostly focussing on
Titan. In November,
Rosetta flew past Earth, where it was mistaken for an asteroid, and given the