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John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

On July 18, 1921, U.S. astronaut and statesman John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born. In 1962 Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. In 1998, still a sitting senator, Glenn was the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the Discovery space shuttle and the…
Mariner 4 and the First Pictures from Mars

Mariner 4 and the First Pictures from Mars

On July 15, 1965, NASA spaceprobe Mariner 4 performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world largely changed the view of the scientific community of life on Mars. Mariner 4 was already the fourth in a series of spacecraft to explore…
Hugh L. Dryden and High Speed Aerodynamics

Hugh L. Dryden and High Speed Aerodynamics

On July 2, 1898, physicist and deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Hugh Latimer Dryden was born. Dryden made pioneering studies in the aerodynamics of high speed and some of the earliest studies of air flow around wing surfaces at the speed of sound. Hugh Latimer Dryden was born in Pocomoke City, Maryland, the son of Samuel Isaac Dryden, a school teacher, and his wife Zenovia Hill Culver…
David Scott – the First Person to Drive on the Moon

David Scott – the First Person to Drive on the Moon

On June 6, 1932, American engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut David Randolph Scott was born. Scott became the seventh person to walk on the Moon as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth human lunar landing. Moreover, he was the first to drive a wheeled vehicle on the moon on 31 July 1971. David Scott was born on Randolph Field near San Antonio, Texas, USA. Scott was educated…
The Flight of Alan Shepard

The Flight of Alan Shepard

On November 18, 1923, American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and astronaut Alan B. Shepard was born. Shepard was one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts. In May 1961, Shepard made the first manned Mercury flight. Shepard’s craft entered space, but did not achieve orbit. He became the second person, and the first American, to travel into space, and the first person to manually control the orientation of…
Pioneer 5 and the Interplanetary Magnetic Fields

Pioneer 5 and the Interplanetary Magnetic Fields

On March 11, 1960, NASA space probe Pioneer 5 was launched from Cape Canaveral. Pioneer 5 as part of the NASA Pioneer program was used to investigate interplanetary space between the orbits of Earth and Venus. As this, it was in one of the first in-depth attempts to study the solar system. Among other accomplishments, the probe confirmed the existence of interplanetary magnetic fields. Pioneer 5 was part of the…
Twice the Speed of Sound

Twice the Speed of Sound

On November 20, 1953, Albert Scott Crossfield became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound as he piloted the Douglass D-588-ii Skyrocket to a speed of 2,078 km/h, Mach 2.005. Albert Scott Crossfield was born on October 2, 1921 in California and grew up in California and Washington. He served with the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor and fighter pilot during World War II and worked…
The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

On November 16, 2004, the unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft NASA X-43A set a new speed record of 10,617 km/h or Mach 9.65. With this flight the X-43A became the fastest free flying air-breathing aircraft in the world. The X-43A was propelled by a so-called scramjet, is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. NASA’s Hyper-X program, involving the American space agency and contractors…
Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to reach another Planet

Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to reach another Planet

On November 14, 1971, U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet – only narrowly beating the Soviets’s Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust storms it managed to send back clear pictures of Mars’ surface. Mariner 9 was designed to continue the atmospheric studies and map over 70% of the Martian surface from the lowest altitude of 1500…
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