The Wright Brothers fly the first practical airplane (1905)

posted Monday, 5 October 2015

The Wright Brothers completed the sixth and final flight in a series of “long duration” (20-40 minute) flights at Huffman Prairie, Ohio on 5 October 1905. The Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft built by the Wright Brothers and, although not the first airplane to fly, is generally considered the the first practical airplane.

Sputnik 1 launched (1957)

posted Sunday, 4 October 2015

The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 83 kg, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. It was launched on this day, at this time in 1957.

STS-51-J Atlantis first flight (1985)

posted Saturday, 3 October 2015

Hurricane: First UK nuclear weapon test (1952)

posted Friday, 2 October 2015

Date: 3 October 1952 (8:00 AM Western Australia Standard Time)
Code name: Hurricane
Type: plutonium fission
Yield: 25 thousand tons of TNT
Location: Monte Bello Islands, Australia

NASA founded (1958)

posted Thursday, 1 October 2015

NASA became operational on 1 October 1958 — almost exactly one year after the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite.

Rudolph Diesel last seen alive (1913)

posted Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Rudolph Diesel, of diesel engine fame, was last seen alive around 10:00 PM on 29 September 1913 aboard the steamship Dresden en route from Antwerp to London. Eleven days later the crew of the Coertsen found his decomposed body floating in the North Sea. Circumstances leading to Diesel’s death remain a mystery.

First Chinese Space Walk (2008)

posted Sunday, 27 September 2015

Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang made the nation’s first spacewalk on this day in 2008 floating outside the Shenzhou VII spacecraft for 18 minutes as it orbited the earth. Another astronaut, Liu Boming, briefly poked his head and part of his body out of the module, becoming the second Chinese astronaut to touch outer space, while the third astronaut, Jing Haipeng, stayed behind in the re-entry module.

Zhai ZhigangSource: Xinhua/Associated Press

Luna 16 lands on the earth (1970)

posted Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth.

The Vela Incident (1979)

posted Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A double flash characteristic of a nuclear explosion was recorded by the US Department of Defense Vela 6911 satellite in the South Indian Ocean on this day in 1979. No government has officially taken credit for the event, but it is generally thought to have been a joint Israeli-South African test of a low-yield fission bomb.

Further Reading (listed in reverse chronological order, just like a resume):

Do your own independent research. Search for the phrase "South Africa" and the keyword "Nuclear" at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Freedom of Information Act website. It’s not easy to use, but there are a lot of interesting, original documents to peruse in this online archive. Also great for people who don’t like reading a lot since the CIA has a thing for censoring text.

Luna 16 leaves the moon (1970)

posted Monday, 21 September 2015

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth.