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On This Day in History - Newsletter

On This Day in History - August 30, 1913

On This Day in History - August 30, 1913

Young Lawrence Sperry building his homemade Voisin aircraft, 1909. Credit: NASA As a young man, Lawrence Sperry was very interested in aviation. At age 15 in the year 1909, he attended an airshow at Mineola, New York, and saw a French Voisin aircraft. While their parents were away on holiday, Lawrence and his brother built their own version of the Voisin in the basement of their home. Lacking an engine, the plane flew as a glider with Lawrence at the controls, his brother driving a car with a tow line attached. Lawrence reached 150 feet of altitude before the tow...

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On This Day in History - August 21, 1965

On This Day in History - August 21, 1965

Titan II rocket launches Gemini 5 from Cape Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA On August 21, 1965 NASA launched Gemini 5 from Cape Kennedy, Florida aboard a Titan II rocket. It was the first long duration space flight and the first test of a fuel cell system that could function long enough to fly men to the Moon and back. Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad spent 8 days in orbit circling the Earth 120 times. The mission was important for its experiments in the effects of long-term weightlessness. Gemini 5 set a new human spaceflight endurance record, exceeding the...

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On This Day in History - August 12, 1960

On This Day in History - August 12, 1960

Echo 1 communication satellite in Weeksville, NC, 1960. Credit: NASA On August 12, 1960 NASA launched the world's first successful communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Echo 1. Earlier that year in May 1960, a similar but unsuccessful attempt by NASA to launch a nearly identical satellite failed to reach orbit. This first attempt was the maiden voyage of the Thor-Delta launch vehicle where attitude control jets on the Delta stage failed to ignite, sending the payload into the Atlantic Ocean instead of into orbit. Echo 1 was designed as a passive communications reflector to relay telephone, radio, and...

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On This Day in History - August 2 ,1909

On This Day in History - August 2 ,1909

The Wright Model A flyer arrives via wagon, Fort Myers, VA. Credit: Smithsonian In December 1907, the United States Army Signal Corps requested bids for a flying machine with requirements generally thought to be impossible at the time. The specification required the “heavier-than-air flying machine” to carry two people, fly 40 miles per hour, make a one-hour endurance flight and be portable by U.S. Army wagons. At the time, there were few aeronautical developments upon which to build. From the close of the Civil War until 1907, the U.S. Army had acquired eight balloons and a small dirigible, used at...

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On This Day in History - July 29, 1958

On This Day in History - July 29, 1958

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Dr. Keith Glennan. April 1960. Credit: NASA On this day in 1958, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since landed men on the Moon, created the first reusable spacecraft and sponsored space expeditions, both manned and unmanned, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation and global communications.  ...

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