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NEAR Shoemaker
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker , renamed after its 1996 launch in honor of planetary scientist Eugene M. Shoemaker, was a robotic space probe designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA to study the near-Earth asteroid Eros from close orbit over a period of a year...
Timeline of Events
1996
2.17.1996
NASA's Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.
2000
2.14.2000
The spacecraft ''NEAR Shoemaker'' enters orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.
2001
2.12.2001
NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the "saddle" region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.