The JWST was launched at an unusual date, the 25th of December. Are there other historic launches during the last 10 days of December?

Some examples:

Apollo 8       at 21 December 1968
Soyuz TM-4     at 21 December 1987
Soyuz TMA-03M  at 21 December 2011
Progress 39    at 25 December 1988
Progress M-55  at 21 December 2005
Progress M-62  at 23 December 2007
Progress MS-01 at 21 December 2015
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    $\begingroup$ I think you've answered your own question. $\endgroup$
    – WarpPrime
    Dec 27, 2021 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ @fasterthanlight There may be more launches to be found. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Dec 27, 2021 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe not historic, but here's one in 2010. What is special about last ten days of December ? $\endgroup$
    – AJN
    Dec 27, 2021 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ this is very fuzzy, what do you classify as historic launches? It cannot be all orbital launches, as you excluded the facon9 of 21dec, the HII-a of 22dec, the LongMarch of 23 dec, and the LongMarch of 26dec (just to list the last week only)) {there are4 other orbital launches scheduled before 2022} $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2021 at 4:35
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    $\begingroup$ There's an easy to use list at Gunter's page: space.skyrocket.de/directories/chronology.htm $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2021 at 4:55

1 Answer 1


Here's one! I'll bet Uwe already intended this one as an easter egg. No doubt the launch of "the very first Ariane" counts as historic.

Luckily in Ludo's answer to Why does JWST need "a carefully designed series of oscillations" to avoid overheating during the 2nd stage burn? Why not rotate "rotisserie style"? they link to the NASA video James Webb Space Telescope Launch — Official NASA Broadcast below. After about 56:48 Rafael Chevre(?) from Arianespace says:

Ya, this is a very reliable and successful rocket! Webb is going to be the 112th Ariane V to be launched. And the very first Ariane, Ariane I , took off exactly 42 years ago yesterday, this was on Christmas Eve 1979. Good symbol!

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    $\begingroup$ I'm completely baffled by the down vote, this seems to be a perfectly good answer! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 31, 2021 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ it might have been because you wrote "Uwe already intended this one as an easter egg" which is a confusing sentence; makes sense if you come from an SE like Code Golf, but other SEs do not have "easter eggs" $\endgroup$
    – Avery
    Dec 31, 2021 at 1:06
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    $\begingroup$ It also contains a single (valid) data point which only in the most vague way answers the OP's question. And presupposes that the OP was not honest in asking that question, but wanted to use it to elicit an interesting but obscure fact from history. nice fun, but very anti-SE $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2021 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Avery almost everybody these days who spends a little time on the internet knows what an "easter egg" is, and if not, go back and look at the first sentence; I've added a link to the explanation. The folks in Space SE are a pretty clever bunch, I don't think this is a problem. Of course this is Stack Exchange so there are always occasional spurious downvotes so we may never know. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 31, 2021 at 7:41

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