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13Bil BC
In 2009 a gamma ray burst was spotted by a NASA satellite that dated to this time. A typical burst "puts out in a few seconds the same energy expended by the sun in its whole 10 billion year life span." Researchers announced in 2011 that they have gathered data placing the blast more than 13 billion light years away, meaning that the event took place when the universe was still in its infancy.
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1868
In 2008 scientists, using NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, reported that a supernova took place in the Milky Way about this time.
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1915 Mar 3
The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), a NASA forerunner, was created. It was the first US government sponsored organization in support of aviation research and development.
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1950
German physicist and engineer Wernher von Braun and a team of some 118 German scientists, described as “prisoners of peace,” began arriving in Huntsville, Alabama, to work on the US space program at Redstone Arsenal.
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1957 Oct 4
The Space Age and "space race" began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik (traveler), the first man-made space satellite. The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik, developed under the chief scientist Sergei Korolyov, orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles. The event was timed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. In 1958 it reentered the earth's atmosphere and burned up. It was followed by 9 other Sputnik spacecraft.
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1958 Jan 31
Explorer 1, the first successful US satellite, was launched by a Jupiter-C rocket and the United States entered the Space Age. It discovered the "Van Allen radiation belts" around Earth named after James Van Allen. Radio signals from the transmitter aboard the 30.8 pound satellite were picked up in California within a few minutes after the launch. Two months earlier, the first attempt to launch a satellite had failed.
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1959 Jun 8
The NASA rocket powered X-15 made its first glide flight.
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1959 Sep 15
Scott Crossfield (1921-2006) flew the rocket-powered X-15 faster and higher than any aircraft in history.
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1959 Sep 17
The North American Aviation X-15 rocket plane, piloted by Scott Crossfield, made its first powered flight.
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1961 Jan 31
Chimpanzee Ham landed safely and became the 1st primate in space after a 16 minute flight aboard a Mercury-Redstone 2 rocket.
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1961
Dana Ulery (b.1938) became the first female engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena.
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1962 Feb 20
U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. (1921-2016), became the first American to orbit the earth. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Glenn made three 90-minute orbits of the earth in Friendship 7, radioing down to Earth, "Oh, that view is tremendous!" When the ship's automatic altitude control system began to fail, Glenn, a decorated WW II pilot, took manual control for the rest of the flight. During Friendship 7's approach to Earth, Glenn saw some flaming material breaking off the capsule, but the parachute opened and the capsule landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean. It was some time later that NASA mission control determined that the sparks were crystallized water vapor released by Friendship 7's air-conditioning system. Friendship 7's flight lasted four hours and 56 minutes.
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1962 Jul 17
Air Force pilot Robert White (1924-2010) flew the rocket-powered X-15 to an altitude of 314,750 feet (59.6 miles).
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1963 Feb 14
NASA launched Syncom 1 with the Delta B #16 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral. It was intended to be the first geosynchronous communications satellite, but was lost on the way to geosynchronous orbit due to an electronics failure.
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1963 Jun 27
USAF Major Robert A. Rushworth reached an altitude of 53.9 miles in the X-15.
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1963 Jul 26
NASA launched Syncom 2, the world's first successful geosynchronous communications satellite. Syncom 3, launched in 1964, was the world's first geostationary satellite.
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1963 Aug 22
The X-15 aircraft set an altitude record of 67 miles.
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1965 Mar 18
The first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov (30) left his Voskhod 2 capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20 minutes, secured by a tether.
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1966 Mar 16
1966 Mar 17
US astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott performed the frist orbital docking.
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1966
NASA was spending 4.4% of the American government’s budget providing jobs for some 400,000 people.
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1968 Jan 9
The Surveyor VII space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.
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1968 Jan 22
Apollo 5 was launched to the Moon from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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1968 Mar 2
The USSR launched space probe Zond 4. It failed to leave Earth orbit.
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1968 Mar 4
NASA launched its Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 5.
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1968 May 6
Astronaut Neil Armstrong was nearly killed in a lunar module trainer accident.
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1968 Jul 4
The radio astronomy satellite Explorer 38 launched.
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1968 Oct 11
Apollo 7, The first manned Apollo mission, was launched from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard. It made 163 orbits in 260 hours.
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1968 Oct 14
The first live telecast from a manned US spacecraft was sent from Apollo 7.
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1968 Oct 22
Apollo 7 returned safely, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.
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1968 Oct 24
At the National Air and Space Administration test pilot Bill Dana was at the controls of the North American X-15 rocket-propelled research aircraft when it made the 199th--and what turned out to be the final--flight of the X-15 program. He was flying the X-15-1, which had been the first of three aircraft to participate in a series of tests that spanned a decade and resulted in major advances for America's space flight program. In the course of that research, the X-15s spent 18 hours flying above Mach 1, 12 hours above Mach 2, nearly 9 hours above Mach 3, almost 6 hours above Mach 4, one hour above Mach 5 and a few short minutes above Mach 6. The X-15 was hailed by the scientific community as the most successful research aircraft of all time.
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1968 Dec 7
The first orbiting astronomical observatory, OAO-2, was launched.
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1968 Dec 21
Apollo 8 with astronauts Borman, Lovell & Anders was launched on the 1st mission to orbit the moon.
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1968 Dec 24
The 3 Apollo 8 astronauts (James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman), orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the Moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
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1968 Dec 27
Apollo 8, the 1st manned mission to the moon, and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.
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1969 Mar 3
Apollo 9 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a mission to test the lunar module. It carried astronauts James McDivitt, Russell Schweickart and David Scott and made 151 Earth orbits over 10 days.
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1969 Mar 13
The Apollo 9 astronauts splashed down, ending a mission that included the successful testing of the lunar module.
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1969 May 18
Astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10.
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1969 May 22
The lunar module of Apollo 10 separated from the command module and flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.
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1969 May 26
The Apollo 10 astronauts returned to Earth after a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing.
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1969 Jul 16
Apollo XI set out from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy), Florida, with Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. Engineer George Mueller (1918-2015) served as head of manned space flight at NASA.
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1969 Jul 19
Apollo 11 and its astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins, went into orbit around the moon. The Apollo 11 lunar lander engine was built by TRW.
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1969 Jul 20
Astronaut Neil Armstrong took his legendary "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin made the first successful landing of a manned vehicle on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility when they touched down in Apollo 11. Armstrong stepped down from the ladder of the landing module Eagle to become the first man ever to walk on the moon. The two astronauts explored the moon's surface for 2 1/2 hours, with amazed TV audiences looking on. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments and his contributions to the space program. Edwin Aldrin became the second man to step foot on the moon shortly after Neil Armstrong hopped off the lunar lander Eagle at 10:56 p.m. Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon for about two hours during their 22-hour lunar stay. Thomas Kelly (d.2002 at 72) was the engineer who had overseen the building of the lunar module. In 2009 Buzz Aldrin authored “Magnificent desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon.”
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1969 Jul 21
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the lunar module.
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1969 Jul 24
The Apollo XI astronauts, two of whom had been the first men to set foot on the moon, splashed down safely in the Pacific. They were picked up by the 42,000 ton USS Hornet. The Hornet was decommissioned in 1970 and set up as a museum in 1998 in Alameda, Ca.
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1969 Aug 5
The U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mars, sending back photographs and scientific data. It returned 127 images of the South Polar icecap and southern hemisphere. Mariner 6 also flew past Mars this year and returned 75 images of the Martian equator along with the surface temperature, atmospheric pressure and composition.
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1969 Nov 14
The United States launched Apollo 12 for the moon from Cape Kennedy.
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1969 Nov 19
Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean made man's second landing on the moon. The second manned craft to land on the moon was the lunar module Intrepid. It landed on the lunar surface at 1:54 a.m. Intrepid landed 500 feet from the Surveyor 3 spacecraft. It spent 31 hours on the moon and docked with command module Yankee Clipper on November 20 and splashed down in the Pacific on November 24.
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1969 Nov 24
Apollo 12 splashed down safely in the Pacific, ending the second manned mission to the moon.
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1970 Apr 11
Apollo 13 blasted off on a mission to the moon, commanded by Jim Lovell, that was disrupted on April 13, when an explosion crippled the spacecraft. The astronauts managed to return safely on April 17.
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1970 Apr 13
Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst: "Houston, we've got a problem!" The incident preventing a planned moon landing. The three-man crew managed to return safely.
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1970 Apr 17
The Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft. A film was made in 1995 that depicted the mission.
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1970
Dr. John D. Anderson announced that radio signals bounced off of the Mariner VI spacecraft had returned with a time lag of 204 microseconds. At this time the spacecraft had reached a distance of about 2 1/2 times earth's average distance from the sun. It was a delay that fell within the error limits of Einstein’s theory and attributed to the effect of the sun's gravitation on the radio waves.
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1971 Jan 31
Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
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1971 Feb 1
The three astronauts aboard the Apollo XIV overcame a difficult docking problem but faced a critical test to determine whether they could land on the moon.
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1971 Feb 2
The Apollo XIV astronauts confirmed that they would attempt a lunar landing.
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1971 Feb 5
Apollo 14 lander Antares landed on Moon. Astronauts Shepard & Mitchell walked on the moon.
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1971 Feb 6
Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the Moon during the Apollo 14 mission.
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1971 Feb 9
The "Apollo 14" spacecraft returned to Earth after man's third landing on the moon.
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1971 May 30
The American space probe Mariner 9, the first satellite to orbit Mars, blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla. It later transmitted photos of possible riverbeds.
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1971 Jul 26
Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy.
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