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This Month in Exploration - September
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.

Thor rocket 100 Years Ago

September 10, 1907: The British Army's first steerable airship, Nulli Secundus, made its first flight at Farnborough. The airship reached a height of 800 feet and was piloted by Samuel Cody and Colonel Capper.

Image left: Douglas Aircraft Company's Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. Credit: Rob Svirskas

75 Years Ago

September 3, 1932: James Doolittle won the Thompson Trophy race in Cleveland, Ohio, and broke the speed record by flying 294 miles per hour in a Granville Gee Bee R-1 racer.

50 Years Ago

September 7, 1957: The USSR completed the second successful launch of the R-7 rocket, the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). On September 18 of that same year, Radio Moscow announced that the USSR was preparing to launch a satellite on an unspecified date.

Voyager Spacecraft September 20, 1957: The U.S. Air Force completed the first successful launch of a Thor rocket at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Thor was 71 feet long and weighed more than 110,000 pounds. It was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company, which is now The Boeing Company.

Image right: Image of the moon and Earth captured by Voyager 1. Credit: NASA

30 Years Ago

September 5, 1977: NASA launched Voyager 1, the second of two spacecraft used to study Jupiter and Saturn. Although Voyager 2 lifted off 16 days earlier, Voyager 1 reached Jupiter four months sooner due to its trajectory.

September 18, 1977: Voyager 1 captured the first image of the Earth and moon together in a single frame. The photo was taken at a distance of 7.25 million miles from Earth.

25 Years Ago

September 30, 1982: Pilots H. Ross Perot Jr. and Jay Coburn completed the first round-the-world helicopter flight aboard the Bell Model 206L Long Ranger II "Spirit of Texas." The 29-day journey began and ended at Love Field in Dallas and covered a distance of 26,000 miles.

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15 Years Ago

September 12, 1992: NASA launched Space Shuttle Endeavor to begin the 50th shuttle mission. STS-47 was a joint effort between NASA and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) to conduct microgravity experiments in materials and life sciences. The international crew included Mission Specialist Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to fly in space; Mission Specialists Mark Lee and N. Jan Davis, the first married couple to fly on the same space mission; and Payload Specialist Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the shuttle.

10 Years Ago

September 25, 1997: NASA launched Space Shuttle Atlantis to begin the 7th docking mission with Russia's Mir Space Station. During the 10-day STS-86 mission, David Wolf replaced C. Michael Foale, continuing the U.S. presence on Mir. Atlantis carried the SPACEHAB module, which contained experiments to be performed by the shuttle crew and logistics equipment to be transferred to Mir.

Spirit of Texas aircraft Image right: The Bell 206L Longranger "Spirit of Texas" on display in the Pioneers of Flight gallery at the National Mall building. Credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution (SI 91-15701)

Five Years Ago

September 10, 2002: Japan successfully launched two satellites, the Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System (USERS) and the Data Relay Transponder Satellite (DRTS), from Tanegashima Space Center. The USERS was used to perform microgravity experiments and the DRTS was a geostationary communications spacecraft with two relay antennas.

Present Day

September 26, 2007: NASA's Dawn spacecraft is scheduled to launch a mission to explore the two largest objects in the asteroid belt in an effort to answer questions about the formation of our solar system.

September 18 - 20, 2007: The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SPACE 2007 Conference & Exposition will be held in Long Beach, Calif. This year's theme is "SPACE: The Next 50 Years." The event will highlight past advancements in space technology and projected future endeavors.

Emily Groh (Analex Corporation)

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