* In January of 1976, NASA began printing a magazine called "Spinoff" which features by-products of space research used in everyday life(1976). Some space spinoffs are Teflon, heat resistant cookware, and artifical heart valves.

* First recovery of a meteorite via photographic search (1970).

* Henry J. E. Reid appointed Engineer-in-Charge of NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, a post held until July 1960, when he retired as Director of NASA's Langley Research Center (1926).

* First physiological research laboratory completed at Wright Field by Air Corps to investigate and devise means to alleviate distressing symptoms occurring in flight (1937). * At request of Army Ordnance, Cal Tech's rocket laboratory started research and development program on long-range missiles, called Project ORDCIT, which resulted in development of Private "A" and Corporal missiles (1944).

* President's Finletter Commission submitted its comprehensive report entitled "Survival in the Air Age" (1948).

* Strategic Air Command assigned responsibility for U.S. operational ICBM capability; while the 672nd Strategic Missile Squadron, first to be equipped with USAF Douglas Thor IRBM, was activated (1958).

* U.S.S.R. launched LUNIK I into a solar orbit, with a total weight of a reported 3,245 pounds, the first man-made object placed in orbit around the sun. It was called MECHTA ("dream") by the Russians (1959).

* Defense officials indicated fiscal year 1960 budget would begin major integration of long-range missiles into weapons arsenal and replacement of manned aircraft on a large scale (1959).

* White House statement of President Eisenhower issued, stating that "the early establishment of a communication satellite system which can be used on a commercial basis is a national objective" (1961).

* Project Ice Way was established near Thule by the Geophysics Research Directorate of the Cambridge Research Laboratories to test the feasibility of landing heavy aircraft on ice runways. The tests, completed in June 1961, demonstrated the strength and other engineering qualities of the ice runways constructed of natural sea water or reinforced with strands of Fiberglass (1961).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* First spacecraft to orbit the Sun, Luna 1 (U.S.S.R., 1959).

* Elara, a satellite of Jupiter, discovered (1905).

* Leslie C. Peltier, one of the greatest variable star observers of all time, born (1900).

* Soviets launched an unmanned satellite to the Moon, but it missed by 3,100 miles and ended up orbiting the Sun (1959).

* Special investigation of high temperature aluminium alloys begun by J. C. McGee, Wright Field engineer, which led by June 1947 to useful alloy known as "ML," named after the Materials Laboratory (1946).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* In January of 1976, NASA began printing a magazine called "Spinoff" which features by-products of space research used in everyday life(1976). Some space spinoffs are Teflon, heat resistant cookware, and artifical heart valves.

* First recovery of a meteorite via photographic search (1970).

* President Hoover made the presentation of the Collier Trophy for 1929 to Dr. Joseph S. Ames, Chairman of the NACA (1930).

* NASA's Space Task Group, charged with carrying out Project Mercury and other manned space flight programs, officially became a separate NASA field element (1961).

* NASA awarded contract to General Electric for an investigation of means of storing solar heat energy in satellites (1961).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* Sputnik 1 reentered the atmosphere and burned (1958).

* James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, born (1581). He gave an age to the Earth.

* Latest sunrise of the year.

Click here to return to the calendar page.

*William G. Swan stayed aloft for 30 minutes over Atlantic City, N.J., in a glider powered with 10 small rockets (1931)

* University of California announced completion of pilot model for low-pressure supersonic wind tunnel, while NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory placed its low-density wind tunnel into operation about this time (1948).

*SPUTNIK I reentered the atmosphere and disintegrated (1958).

* American Rocket Society and the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel issued a summary of their proposals for a National Space Establishment. Preferably independent of the Department of Defense, but in any event not under one of the military services, this establishment would be responsible for the "broad cultural, scientific, and commercial objectives" of outer space development (1958).

* Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Pacific Missile Range declared officially operational for firings (1959).

* Ablation model test with electric arc attained 4,000 F for 105 seconds at Langley Research Center, one of a series of tests begun in September 1960 (1961).


* Goddard received $5000 grant from Smithsonian for work on rockets.

* Kiowa Indians recorded this as the night the stars fell (1834).

* Kathleen Kenyon, first person to place a date on the remains of Jericho, born (1906).

* First successful auroral photograph made (1892).

* Cloud seeding over McCook Field, Dayton, accomplished by Prof. W. D. Bancroft of Cornell University, from Air Service aircraft (1923).

* First assignment of a flight surgeon to Naval Aircraft Factory, Lt. Comdr. J. R. Poppen (USN), was directed to observe pilots, conduct physical examinations, and work on hygienic and physiological aspects of research and development projects (1935).

* LUNIK I transmissions ceased 373,125 miles from earth (1959).

* Turbofan-powered B-52H Boeing bomber, with two prototype Douglas Skybolt air-launched 1,000-mile-range ballistic missiles under each wing, was rolled out of the factory at Wichita, Kansas (1961).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* Goddard, testing a rocket motor on static test stand, achieved highest thrust ever of 447 kg (1941).

* Jacques Montgolfier, first pioneer balloonist, born (1744).

* Guggenheim Safe Aircraft Competition prize was awarded to Curtiss Tanager, which featured practical wing flaps and leading-edge Handley-Page slots (1930).

* President Eisenhower in his state-of-the-Union message noted the increasing importance of long-range missiles and nuclear-powered aircraft. $1.275 billion was scheduled for fiscal year 1957 production of guided missiles, with an additional $1.43 billion for military research and development (1956).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* Galileo found Jupiter's moons (1610). (Click on lower right button on Galileo).

* 1st crossing of English Channel by air (1785).

* The 36 in. Lick telescope (world's largest at that time) made its firstobservation (1888).

* Asteroid Aten discovered. First asteroid with orbit inside ours

Galileo and Jupiter

On January 7, 1610 in Padua, Italy, Galileo Galilei happened to aim his newly developed spyglass at the planet Jupiter and discovered previously unknown worlds. Galileo thought he was simply observing fixed stars, but their position aroused his curiosity; they lay in a straight line with Jupiter, two to the east and one to the west. For Galileo, that night was the beginning of what would be a long series of observations of these curious objects.

The next night, "led by what, I do not know," Galileo looked at the stars again. They were still visible, but to his amazement, they had changed position. Now all three stars were in a straight line on the west side of Jupiter. Galileo could not understand how the planet could have moved east of these stars when, the night before, it had been west of two of them. He feared that astronomers had miscalculated Jupiter's movement.

Galileo could hardly wait for the next night, but he was destined for disappointment,

". . . for the sky was covered with clouds in every direction." He had to wait another night. On January 10, Galileo could find only two of the stars, both on the east side of Jupiter. The third, he assumed, was hidden behind Jupiter. Galileo realized that the planet's movement could not possibly be so erratic. He decided at last that, contrary to everything he knew, the stars themselves must be moving.

On January 11, Galileo again saw only two stars, both on the east side of the planet. But the next night a new, extremely small star which Galileo was certain he had not seen before joined the others; two were on the east and one was on the west. Then on January 13, the fourth star, missing since January 8, reappeared; one star was on the east side of Jupiter and three were on the west. Two nights later, all four stars were on the west. Galileo now realized that these stars were actually tiny planets, later called satellites, revolving around Jupiter. For the first time in history, man had seen the moons of a planet other than our Earth.

Galileo continued his observations through February. On March 10, he announced his discovery in the "Starry Messenger". It created a sensation, spurring interest in astronomy as a science and providing support to the Copernican theory that the planets orbit the Sun. The "stars" that Galileo saw are the four largest moons of Jupiter, now known as the Galilean satellites in honor of their discoverer. The satellites are named Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto after four of Jupiter's lovers in Greek mythology. These are the satellites that will be closely investigated during the Galileo mission a fitting tribute to the man.

"Galileo to Jupiter," NASA, JPL 400-15 7/79, GPO: 1979-691-547, p. 1.

* X-1, flown by Capt. Charles E. Yeager, climbed 23,000 feet after launch at record rate of 13,000 feet per minute, at Muroc (1949).

* An unofficial endurance record for refueled airplane flight was set by Maj. Carl Spaatz, Capt. Ira C. Eaker, and Lt. Elwood Quesada in the Question Mark, Fokker C2-3 Wright 220, over Los Angeles Airport, with flying time of 150 hours 40 minutes 15 seconds (1929).

* USAF Blue Scout I reached near 1,000-mile altitude with 90-pound data capsule from Atlantic Missile Range (1961).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* First U.S. operational jet fighter flown, a Lockheed XP-80 Lulubelle, which became known as the P-80 "Shooting Star." (1944).

* Japan became the third country to send an object into solar orbit (1985).

* First aircraft takeoff in United States with permanently installed JATO rocket powerplant, an A-20A at Muroc Army Air Base, California (1943).

* First flight of Lockheed XP-80 at Muroc, which was powered by British Halford turbojet engine, the first U.S. airplane designed from the beginning for turbojet propulsion. Rushed through development in 145 days by Lockheed's Clarence L. ("Kelly") Johnson, the P-80 was not distributed to tactical units until December 1945 (1944).

* First experimental operation of model slotted-throat wind tunnel. Langley Laboratory's Ray H. Wright, working theoretically, and Vernon G. Ward, working experimentally with a parasite tunnel attached to the Langley 16-foot high-speed tunnel, collaborated in an effort that resulted in establishment of transonic flow with the use of longitudinal slots in the walls of the throat of a conventional subsonic tunnel. Known as the slotted-throat technique, first major installation was made in the Langley 8-foot subsonic high-speed tunnel in December 1949, a breakthrough in wind tunnel technique (1947).

* NASA requested eight Redstone-type launch vehicles from the Army to be used in Project Mercury development flights (1959).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* Washington witnessed first balloon flight in America (1793).

* First trial flight of the Concorde (1969).

* EAA moved headquarters to Oshkosh, WI (1984).

* In his state-of-the-Union message, President Eisenhower reported: "In recognition of the need for single control in some of our most advanced development projects, the Secretary of Defense has already decided to concentrate into one organization all antimissile and satellite technology undertaken within the Department of Defense" (1958).

* NASA-DOD agreement signed for a "National Program To Meet Satellite and Space Vehicle Tracking and Surveillance Requirements" for fiscal year 1959 and fiscal year 1960 (1959).

* Jet Propulsion Laboratory awarded contract to Beckman Instruments for design studies on equipment to analyze the surface of the Moon (1961).

* Japanese scientist associated with Radio Research Laboratories of the Japanese Ministry of Communications began studies of space communications at NASA's Goldstone, Calif., Deep Space Tracking Station (1961).

Click here to return to the calendar page.


* First photograph taken from an airplane (1911).

* Radar bounced off the Moon for the first time (1946).

* Comptroller of the Treasury Department ruled that the NACA was an independent agency and was not an appendage of the Navy Department in spite of the fact it was originally funded under the naval appropriations bill (1917).

* 700-hp aircraft engine having 18 cylinders arranged in three banks of six, tested at Engineering Division, McCook Field (1921).

* An Army R-5, demonstrated by C. A. Moeller and D. D. Viner, set an unofficial world helicopter record by climbing to 21,000 feet at Stratford, Connecticut (1946). * U.S.S. Norton Sound began 19-day firing cruise in Alaskan waters, launching two Aerobees, one Lark and one Loon. Eight scientists connected with Aerobee upper atmosphere research program and Army, Navy, and Air Force observers made the cruise (1950).

* U.S.S.R. scientists stated that launching of an earth satellite was possible in the near future, according to Radio Moscow (1955).

* First U.S.-built complete liquid-rocket engine having a thrust in excess of 400,000 pounds was fired for the first time at Santa Susana, California (1956).

* President Eisenhower in his State-of-the-Union message declared that "we are willing to enter any reliable agreement which would mutually control the outer space missile and satellite development" (1957).

* Department of Defense assigned highest priority to ICBM/IRBM contracts and purchase orders (1957).

* President-elect Kennedy received report of special nine-man committee on the national space program. Chairman of the committee was Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner of MIT (1961).

* A Polaris missile of the advanced A-2 design was fired from Cape Canaveral 1,600 miles down the Atlantic Missile Range. It was the third success in as many firings for the new Polaris designed to operate at a range over 1,700 miles (1961).


Click here to return to the calendar page.

Return to the top of this page

Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.