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On This Day: 1973

Aviation events for 1973

January 7: Cameron Balloons Ltd. of Bristol, England, flies for the first time the world’s only hot-air airship (G-BAMK) from Wantage, Berkshire.
January 7: Launch of Luna 21 carrying the Lunokhod 2 rover, the second robotic lunar rover. Made lunar landing with an automated Lunokhod 2 rover.
January 14: A U.S. Navy F-4B Phantom II of Fighter Squadron 161 (VF-161) off USS Midway (CVA-41) flown by Lieutenant V. T. Kovaleski (pilot) and Ensign D. H. Plautz (radar intercept officer) becomes the last American aircraft lost over North Vietnam when it is shot down by antiaircraft artillery near Thanh Hoa while escorting an Operation Blue Tree reconnaissance mission.
January 15: The last mission of a B-52 in the Vietnam War.
January 15: Luna 21 lands on the Moon, carrying the Lunokhod 2 rover, the second robotic lunar rover.
January 27: A U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom II from USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65) piloted by Lieutenant Commander Harley Hall is shot down over South Vietnam near the Demilitarized Zone. It is the last American fixed-wing aircraft lost in the Vietnam War.
February 15: U.S.S.R. launches Prognoz 3 to study sun (589/200,300 km).
February 18: Daniel Bouchart and Didier Potelle land 19,568 feet up on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in an SA 319 B Alouette II helicopter.
February 21: Libyan Airlines Flight 114 is shot down over the Sinai Peninsula by an Israeli Air Force F-4 Phantom IIs after an airspace violation. The Boeing 727-224 (5A-DAH) became lost and ended up in the area that was occupied by Israeli during the Six-Day War. The intention of the 20mm cannon fire was to cripple the aircraft, and the emergency landing resulted in the deaths of 108 of the 113 on-board.
March 3: Ryan International Airlines commences flight operations.
March 7: Comet (Lubos) Kohoutek discovered at Hamburg Observatory.
April 6: Pioneer 11 - USA Jupiter/Saturn Flyby (April 6, 1973 - November 1995) launched. Pioneer 11 flew by Jupiter on December 1, 1974 passing 42,900 kilometers from Jupiter's cloud tops. It took better pictures than Pioneer 10, and measured Jupiter's intense charged-particle and magnet field environment. As it flew by Jupiter it was given a gravity assist which swung it onto a course for Saturn. On September 1, 1979, Pioneer 11 flew past the outer edge of Saturn's A ring at a range of 3,500 kilometers. It traveled underneath the ring system and passed 20,930 kilometers from Saturn's cloud tops. It has now left the solar system.
April 16: The Florida State Senate votes unanimously to restore the name “Cape Canaveral” to the NASA establishment which was renamed “Cape Kennedy” shortly after the President’s assassination.
April 17: Federal Express begins operations, using a fleet of 14 Dassault Falcon 20 jets to ferry parcels from 25 cities to their Memphis hub for the nightly sort and subsequent distribution across the country. The sort has gone on every night since, with the company growing becoming critical to the backbone of the world economy, and the fleet growing to over 700 aircraft flying to about 325 destinations.
May 8: The Airbus A300B prototype makes the type’s first fully automatic landing in Toulouse, France.
May 26: Skylab, USA Space Station, launched. Skylab, which was America's first space station, was manned for 171 days by three crews during 1973 and 1974. The space station included the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM), which astronauts used to take more than 150,000 images of the Sun. Skylab was abandoned in February 1974 and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere in 1979.
June 3: The first crash of a supersonic transport aircraft occurs as a Tupolev Tu-144 goes down during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show.
June 7: Bahamasair commences operations.
June 10: Explorer 49 - USA Solar Probe launched. Solar physics probe placed in lunar orbit.
July 31: Delta Air Lines Flight 723, a DC-9-31 aircraft (reg. N975NE) acquired in the Northeast Airlines merger a year to the day earlier, crashes on approach to Boston Logan Airport (BOS), killing all but one of the 89 people on board. The lone survivor would succumb to his burns four months later.
August 22: First flight of the Learjet 35.
September 14: Israel shoots down 13 Syrian MIG-21s.
October 6: Egypt and Syria launch air strikes on Israel, starting the Yom Kippur War. The conflict lasts 18 days.
November 16: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three for an 84 day mission. Read more...
November 17: Skylab Program: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral for an 84-day mission.
December 3: Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter.

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