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This Month in Exploration - November
Ryan X-13 Aircraft 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

November 17, 1906: The Daily Mail of London offered a 10,000 pound prize to the first person to fly from Manchester, England, to London. Louis Blériot won the prize when he flew across the English Channel in 1909.

Image right: The X-13 in flight. Credit: U.S. Air Force

75 Years Ago

November 2, 1931: The USS Akron (ZRS-4) airship was commissioned as a United States Navy aircraft. Two years later, the craft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean killing 73 men. Much of its framework is still visible on the Continental Shelf off the coast of New Jersey.

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50 Years Ago

November 28, 1956: The Ryan X-13 Vertijet, an experimental take-off and landing aircraft, made its first transition from vertical to horizontal flight. This aircraft was designed by the Ryan Aeronautical Company to takeoff and land vertically.

30 Years Ago

November 18, 1976: NASA began the escape system sled test for the space shuttle in Holloman, N.M. This system provides orbiter flight crew members with a means for rapid and safe exit at a remote or emergency landing site.

25 Years Ago

November 13, 1981: Aboard the Double Eagle V, American hot air balloonist Ben Abruzzo and his crew became the first to cross the Pacific Ocean by balloon.

Cutaway Diagram of Space Shuttle Image right: Cutaway diagram of the space shuttle. Credit: NASA

20 Years Ago

November 14, 1986: The U.S. launched the Polar Beacon and Research satellite on the STP P87-1 mission. The satellite was used to study communication interference caused by solar flares and aurora activity in support of the military. The core vehicle was a transit navigational satellite that was retrieved from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, where it had been on display for eight years.

10 Years Ago

November 7, 1996: NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), which was used to study the Martian surface and its atmospheric conditions. The MGS completed its first mission in early 2001.

Mars Global Surveyor Satellite Five Years Ago

November 7, 2001: The supersonic commercial aircraft Concorde began to fly again after taking a 15-month break.

Image left: Mars Global Surveyor satellite. Credit: NASA

Present Day

November 2006: Rollout of the entire shuttle assembly for the STS-116 mission will take place Nov. 7. The STS-116 crew will deliver the P5 integrated truss structure to the International Space Station, continuing the assembly of the orbiting outpost.

Emily Groh (Analex Corporation)

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