This Month in Exploration - May
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 also reveal where the agency is leading us -- to the moon, Mars and beyond.
100 Years Ago
May 18, 1907: Wilbur Wright set sail for Europe to continue negotiating the sale of the Flyer III, the Wright Brothers' third powered airplane, in several major cities including London and Berlin.
75 Years Ago
May 9, 1932: Albert F. Hegenberger completed the first "blind" solo flight around Dayton, Ohio in a Consolidated NY-2 aircraft. His flight was considered "blind" because he could not see anything but his flight instruments for the entire flight. Hegenberger was an accomplished aviator who received two Distinguished Flying Cross awards during his career.
Image right: Amelia Earhart
May 20-21, 1932: Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her flight took nearly 15 hours to complete and earned her the National Geographic Society's gold medal from President Herbert Hoover as well as a Distinguished Flying Cross.
50 Years Ago
May 5, 1957: During the early phase of booster rocket development, the USSR rolled out the first intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7, to the launch pad. On May 15, the launch failed, and the missile crashed about 250 miles from the pad.
30 Years Ago
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May 21, 1977: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight from New York to Paris, the Concorde flew the same route in less than four hours. Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis took 33.5 hours to complete the flight.
25 Years Ago
May 24, 1982: British Airways retired the Boeing 707 aircraft after its final flight from Cairo, Egypt to London.
20 Years Ago
May 15, 1987: The U.S. Navy completed the last launch of the Atlas H rocket to send an ocean surveillance (White Cloud) satellite into Low Earth Orbit.
Image right: McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing X-36 in flight. Credit: NASA
15 Years Ago
May 7, 1992: NASA launched Space Shuttle Endeavor to begin its first flight. During the STS-49
mission, the crew captured a stranded INTELSAT VI satellite, added a new kick motor and released it into orbit. The new kick motor then fired to boost the satellite up to a geosynchronous orbit.
10 Years Ago
May 17, 1997: The tailless X-36
, developed by McDonnell Douglas and NASA, successfully completed its first flight from Edwards Air Force Base in California. This aircraft was remotely controlled by a pilot in a ground station and powered by a turbofan that produced 700 pounds of thrust.
Five Years Ago
May 4, 2002: NASA launched Aqua
, the first in a series of satellites called the Afternoon Constellation that are part of the international Earth Observing System. Aqua is used to gather information on Earth's water cycle, changes in radiative energy, vegetation coverage on the land and other elements.
Image left: Launch of Aqua satellite. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
May 5, 2007: The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is hosting the event to honor three new inductees: Michael Coats, Steven Hawley and Jeffrey Hoffman.
Emily Groh (Analex Corporation)
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