Flight

2011 44¢ Mercury Project
November 18, 1923

Birth of Alan Shepard

Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr was born on November 18, 1923, in Derry, New Hampshire. He was the first American (second person after Yuri Gagarin) to travel into space and the fifth person to walk on the Moon.

Read Article
2000 33¢ Celebrate the Century - 1980s: Space Shuttle Program
August 30, 1984

First Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery 

On August 30, 1984, the Space Shuttle Discovery made its first launch into space, two months later than initially planned.  It would go on to make more flights than any other shuttle in its fleet. 

Read Article
1991 29¢ Space Exploration: Moon
August 23, 1966

First Photo of Earth Taken from the Moon

On August 23, 1966, Lunar Orbiter I captured the first images of our planet from the vicinity of the Moon.  Photographing Earth wasn’t the mission.  It wasn’t even considered until the craft was out in space.

Read Article
1995 60¢ Eddie Rickenbacker
July 23, 1973

Death of WWI Ace Eddie Rickenbacker 

On July 23, 1973, Eddie Rickenbacker died in Züruch, Switzerland. As a World War I flying ace, he shot down 22 enemy planes and four balloons.

Read Article
1988 65¢ Great Americans: H. H. 'Hap' Arnold
June 25, 1886

Happy Birthday Henry “Hap” Arnold

General of the Air Force Henry “Hap” Arnold was born on June 25, 1886, in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. He was an early supporter of military air power, and later became the Air Force’s first five-star general.

Read Article
2005 37¢ Advances in Aviation: Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
June 22, 1946

First Airmail Carried by Jet

On June 22, 1946, US Airmail was carried by jet for the first time.  The flight was part of an event to showcase how GE’s aviation products could positively impact people’s lives and the future.

Read Article
1996 50¢ Jacqueline Cochran
May 11, 1906

Birth of Jacqueline Cochran

Jacqueline Cochran was born Bessie Lee Pittman on May 11, 1906, in Pensacola, Florida.  The first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound, she held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any other pilot, male or female, in the world.

Read Article
1961 4¢ Naval Aviation
May 8, 1911

Birth of Naval Aviation

On May 8, 1911, the US Navy purchased its first airplane. This date is celebrated as the birth of US naval aviation.

Read Article
1990 50¢ Harriet Quimby
April 16, 1912

First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel

On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.  She had a brief, but significant aviation career, becoming a pioneer and inspiration for countless female flyers.

Read Article

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!