Late in the evening of January 31, 1958, the US launched its first satellite, Explorer I. It was an important milestone in America’s space race with the Soviet Union.
On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from Kennedy Space Center. It was the second manned spaceflight mission in the Apollo program, and the first to leave low Earth orbit, travel around the moon and safely return to Earth. It was also the first human spaceflight launched from Kennedy Space Center.
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.
On September 8, 1966, the first episode of Star Trek premiered on television. While the original series only lasted three seasons, it developed a cult following, leading to movies, several new series, comics, games, and more.
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.
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.
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.