On January 19, 2006, the New Horizons interplanetary space probe was launched on a mission that included studying Pluto. The mission was inspired in part a postage stamp!
On October 29, 1998, John Glenn returned to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. At the age of 77, he was the oldest person to go into space.
On August 30, 1983, the space shuttle Challenger blasted off on its third mission to space. The shuttle carried special cargo – commemorative covers bearing the new Express Mail Next Day Service stamp.
On July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 was launched, bringing the fourth American crew to the Moon’s surface. Apollo 15 would become the first of three extended missions to the moon, known as K missions. The mission was more focused on science than previous landings had been. It also marked the first use of the lunar rover.
On July 23, 1999, NASA launched the Chandra X-Ray Observatory to observe x-rays from outside the Earth’s radiation field. The mission was originally intended to last just five years, but Chandra is still orbiting the Earth and making discoveries today, more than 20 years after launch.
On July 20, 1969, the US effectively won the Space Race when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Eagle lunar module on the Moon’s surface.
Apollo 16 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:54 p.m. on April 16, 1972. It was the 10th crewed Apollo mission and the fifth and second to last to land on the Moon.
Biochemist Melvin Calvin was born on April 8, 1911, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned the 1961 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discover of the Calvin cycle – the conversion of carbon dioxide into organic molecules during photosynthesis.