Text Size

This Month in Exploration - March
Visit "This Month in Exploration" every month to find out how aviation and space exploration have changed throughout the years, improving life for humans on Earth and in space. While reflecting on the events that led to NASA's formation and its rich history of accomplishments, "This Month in Exploration" will reveal where the agency is leading us -- to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Red Wing Aircraft Baldwin's Red Wing. Credit: Air Force
100 Years Ago

March 12, 1908: Frederick "Casey" Baldwin made the first public airplane flight in the U.S. He flew the Red Wing a distance of 318 feet at Lake Keuka, New York.

75 Years Ago

March 30, 1933: The Boeing 247 →, the first modern airliner, went into service with United Airlines. This all-metal aircraft was a twin-engine, low-wing monoplane.

50 Years Ago

March 17, 1958: The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory launched Vanguard I, the first solar-powered satellite. The 3.5-pound satellite carried two radio transmitters and enabled scientists to refine their understanding of Earth's shape. Though communication with Vanguard I stopped in 1964, it is still in orbit today.

Vanguard IVanguard 1. Credit: NASA 30 Years Ago

March 2, 1978: The Soviet Union launched Soyuz 28, which carried the first Czech astronaut, Vladimir Remek. He was also the first non-Soviet, non-American in space. During the eight-day mission, Remek and his crewmate, cosmonaut Aleksey Gubarev, docked with the Salyut-6 space station and conducted experiments developed by Czech and Soviet scientists.

25 Years Ago

March 28, 1983: NASA launched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 8 weather satellite. NOAA-8 was designed to provide high-resolution global meteorological data, and it carried a Search-and-Rescue Satellite-Assisted Tracking payload.

Get NASA's This Month in Exploration in your inbox every month. Send us an e-mail today.

>  Read More
20 Years Ago

March 25, 1988: An Italian crew launched the fifth San Marco D/L satellite via a U.S. Scout rocket from the San Marco Equatorial Range in Kenya, East Africa. A cooperative project between NASA and Italy, the San Marco gathered data on the effects of solar activity on Earth’s atmosphere until December 1988.

15 Years Ago

March 29, 1993: NASA launched the Small Expendable Deployer System (SEDS) 1 as a secondary payload on a Delta II launch vehicle. SEDS-1 was the first successful 20-kilometer space-tether experiment.

10 Years Ago

March 12, 1998: The X-38 successfully completed its first test flight as it was dropped from NASA's B-52 aircraft at the Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. The X-38 was a rescue vehicle that was intended as a "lifeboat" for an emergency return of the International Space Station crew.

Bell/Agusta BA609 AircraftBell/Agusta BA609. Credit: Bell/Agusta Aerospace Company
Five Years Ago

March 7, 2003: The Bell/Agusta BA609, the world's first civil tilt-rotor airplane, made its maiden flight at Bell's Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. This aircraft carried nine passengers.

Present Day

March 11, 2008: NASA launched Space Shuttle Endeavour to begin STS-123, the 25th mission to the space station. Endeavour delivered the Japanese Kibo Logistics Module and the Canadian Dextre robotics system to the station.

Emily Owens (Analex Corporation)

See Past Issues:
>  This Month in Exploration Main