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JANUARY 21

* Neptune became the farthest planet from the Sun (1979).The images to the left were taken of Neptune's Great Dark Spot during successful rotations of Neptune. Note the changes in cloud patterns around the Great Dark Spot.

* Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS) held its Founders Meeting at Columbia University under Jerome C. Hunsaker, president, and Lester D. Gardner (1933).

* Dr. George W. Lewis, NACA Director of Aeronautical Research, elected president of the IAS (1939).

* First atomic-power submarine, U.S.S. Nautilus, launched at Groton, Connecticut (1954).

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JANUARY 22

* USAF concluded that less than 1 percent of UFO's are unknown objects (1959).

* 75 percent of North America covered by snow (1982).

* Navy ordered its first rotary-wing aircraft, the XOP-1, from Pitcairn Aircraft (1931).

* Federal Aviation Commission, appointed by the President as provided in the Air Mail Act of June 12, 1934, submitted its report and set forth broad policy on all phases of aviation and the relation of Government thereto. It recommended strengthening of commercial and civil aviation, expansion of airport facilities, and establishment of more realistic procurement practices from industry. It recommended continued study of air organization toward more effective utilization and closer interagency relationships, to include expansion of experimental and development work and its close coordination with the NACA (1935).

* First flight test of a complete airplane model designed by "area rule" concepts propelled to supersonic speeds by rocket boosters, at Langley Wallops Island, Virginia (1953).

* Existence of ICBM program announced by DOD (1955).

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JANUARY 23

* Ground-breaking for NASA Lewis Research Center (1941).

Click here for a description of a Lewis Program.

* Bathyscope "Trieste" reached bottom of Pacific (1960).

* First American military balloon ascension in the AEF took place at Cuperly, Marne, France (1918).

* Modern aircraft carriers Lexington and Saratoga participated in fleet exercises for the first time (1929).

* Telemetry operated successfully in a V-2 firing at WSPG, Army Ordnance's Hermes telemetry system (1947).

* USAF established the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) (1950).

* Dr. T. Keith Glennan, NASA Administrator, announced appointment of chairmen of 13 new research advisory committees to provide technical counsel from industry, universities, and government organizations (1959).

* Final test flight of USAF Atlas D traveled 5,000 miles to target down Atlantic Missile Range, representing 35 successes, 8 partials, and 6 failures in 49 test launchings for D model (1961).

* NASA selected United Aircraft to make feasibility study of ion rocket application for long space flights (1961).

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JANUARY 24

* STS-51-C Discovery launched (1985).

* Voyager 2 made closest approach to Uranus (1986).

* Germans successfully launched A-9, a winged prototype of the first ICBM (the A-10) designed to reach North America. A-9 reached a peak altitude of nearly 50 miles and a maximum speed of 2,700 mph (1945).

* NASA outlined specifications for a low-altitude active communications satellite Project Relay at Goddard Space Flight Center (1961).

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JANUARY 25

* Launch of Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). IRAS discovered a ring around the star Vega, seven comets, and bands of dust orbiting the Sun between the planets of Mars and Jupiter (1983).

* Good night to look to Leo for meteors.

* Robert Boyle born (1627).

* Committee on Law of Aviation, American Bar Association, filed initial report on the necessity of aerial law. On August 25, the ABA recommended Federal aerial legislation (1921).

* January 24-25: Twenty-five aircraft carried scientists and other observers above clouds in Connecticut to view total eclipse of the sun, while airship Los Angeles carried Naval Observatory scientists over Block Island, R.I. (1925).

* First attempted test flight of USAF Thor IRBM, only 13 months after first production contracts were signed, failed to launch (1957).

* NASA awarded contract to Lockheed for a spaceship refueling study (1961).

* NASA distributed to the world scientific community, through COSPAR, a detailed description of the next planned Beacon satellite experiment (1961).

* NASA revealed it had selected 12 women airplane pilots to undergo tests to determine space flight research capability (1961).

* Assembly of Ranger I was completed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1961).

* Titan II selected as launch vehicle for Dyna-Soar I by USAF (1961).

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JANUARY 26

* First takeoff and landing of an aircraft on water (Curtiss, 1911).

(The following is from page 26 of "Of Wings & Things," Norman O. Poff, NASA/AESP, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.)

Instructions issued with the 1911 Glen Curtiss Pusher

1. The aeronaut should seat himself in the apparatus, and secure himself firmly to the chair by means of the strap provided. On the attendant crying "Contact" the aeronaut should close the switch which supplies electrical current to the motor, thus enabling the attendant to set the same in motion.

2. Opening the control valve of the motor, the aeronaut should at the same time firmly grasp the vertical stick or control pole which is to be found directly before the chair. The power from the motor will cause the device to roll gently forward, and the aeronaut should govern its direction of motion by use of the rudder bars.

3. When the mechanism is facing into the wind, the aeronaut should open the control valve of the motor to its fullest extent, at the same time pulling the control pole gently toward his (the aeronaut's) middle anatomy.

4. When sufficient speed has been attained, the device will leave the ground and assume the position of aeronautical ascent.

5. Should the aeronaut decide to return to terra firma, he should close the control valve of the motor. This will cause the apparatus to assume what is known as the "gliding position,"except in the case of those flying machines which are inherently unstable. These latter will assume the position known as "involuntary spin" and will retum to earth without further action on the part of the aeronaut.

6. On closely approaching the chosen field or terrain, the aeronaut should move the control pole gently toward himself, this causes the mechanism to alight gently, more or less, on terra firma.

* Post Office Department operated regular daily airmail routes over a distance of 3,460 miles (1921).

* Army announced creation by AAF of the First Experimental Guided Missiles Group to develop and test rocket missiles at Eglin Field, Florida (1946).

* Naval Aviation Ordnance Test Station was established at NAAS Chincoteague to develop aviation ordnance and guided missiles (1946).

* First guided-missile test ship, U.S.S. Norton Sound, launched its first missile, a Loon, off NAMTC, Point Mugu, California (1949).

* Symposium on "The Scientific Uses of Earth Satellites" held at the University of Michigan under sponsorship of the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel, James A. Van Allen of the State University of Iowa, Chairman (1956).

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JANUARY 27

* Apollo 1 fire killed three astronauts (1967).

* Pasiphae, a satellite of Jupiter, discovered (1908).

* National Geographic Society founded (1888).

* First American bomber raid on Germany by USAAF against Wilhelmshaven (1943).

* Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, Director of the NACA, in a speech to the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, stressed the importance of a well-planned and logical space program embracing both civilian and military uses. He stated that the national space program should be under the joint control of the Department of Defense, the NACA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation; in addition to research flights, the NACA would "coordinate and conduct research in space technology in its own laboratories and by contract in support of both military and nonmilitary projects" (1958).

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JANUARY 28

* Shuttle Challenger exploded; seven crew members killed (1986).

Click on children's Challenger poems.

* Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, Chief of the Mechanics and Sound Division of the National Bureau of Standards, elected president of the IAS (1943).

* Thor IRBM successfully fired from Cape Canaveral, flew prescribed course, and impacted in preselected area (1958).

* Nike-Cajun successfully launched 12-foot-diameter test inflatable sphere to a height of 75 miles over NASA Wallops Island, the sphere inflating satisfactorily (1959).

* One hundred ten candidates were selected by NASA in the first screening for Project Mercury astronauts from Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps test-pilot schools (1959).

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JANUARY 29

* First flight (experimental) of Chinese Long March 3 (1984).

* Galileo sighted Neptune but failed to recognize what he saw (1613).

* Daniel Bernoulli born (1700).

* Soviet Phobos 2 entered Mars orbit after travelling 200 days (1989).

* An American altitude record of 38,704 feet was set by Lt. J. A. Macready (USAS) in an XCO5-A Liberty 400 at Dayton, Ohio (1926).

* Remains of Wac Corporal which reached 250-mile altitude on February 24, 1949, found on desert near WSPG (1950).

* The DOD announced plans to establish the National Pacific Missile Range (PMR) as part of the Naval Air Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, Calif., the range to be designed for long-range guided missile and ICBM testing (1958).

* First jet passenger service across the United States begun by American Airlines with Boeing 707's (1959).

* NASA announced establishment of Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, which would be an extension of the Theoretical Division of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. It will be headed by Dr. Robert Jastrow (1961).

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JANUARY 30

* First airplane rescue at sea (1911).

* Russian balloon reached 73,000 feet, but aeronauts Felosienko, Wasienko, and Vsyskin perished in free fall of gondola (1934).

* Orville Wright died in Dayton, Ohio, at the age of 76, thus ending his 28 years as a member of the NACA. In his lifetime, the speed of the airplane had been increased from 0 mph to almost 1,000 mph (1948).

* President Truman announced his decision to go ahead on the hydrogen bomb development program (1950).

* President Kennedy stated in his state of the Union address to Congress: "This administration intends to explore promptly all possible areas of cooperation with the Soviet Union and other nations to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Specifically, I now invite all nationsşincluding the Soviet Unionşto join with us in developing a weather prediction program, in a new communication satellite program, and in preparation for probing the distant planets of Mars and Venus, probes which may some day unlock the deepest secrets of the universe" (1961).

* James E. Webb nominated as Administrator of NASA by President Kennedy (1961).

* Conference of 12 European nations held at Strasbourg to discuss a British and French proposal for a European satellite launcher development program (1961).

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JANUARY 31

* U.S. entered the Space Age with the launch of Explorer 1 by a Juno 1 rocket (1958). It discovered the Earth is surrounded by radiation belts (Van Allen).

* "Ham," a chimpanzee, was recovered from a Mercury spacecraft after a suborbital flight (1961).

* January 21-31: Second Army transcontinental flight by Maj. T. C. Macauley in DH-4 Liberty, Fort Worth-San Diego-Miami-Fort Worth, which he repeated in April (1919).

* Dr. Edward P. Warner appointed economic and technical adviser of the CAA (1939).

* F-51 set new London to New York speed record of 8 hours and 55 minutes (1951).

* EXPLORER I, first U.S. earth satellite, launched by modified ABMA-JPL Jupiter-C, with U.S.-IGY scientific experiment of James A. Van Allen, which discovered the radiation belt around the earth (1958).

* USAF Samos II, a 4,100-pound test satellite containing photographic equipment, placed in orbit by Atlas-Agena A from Point Arguello, California (1961).

* Mercury-Redstone (MR-2) flight from Atlantic Missile Range shot Mercury capsule containing chimpanzee named Ham to 157 miles altitude and 418 miles down range. Capsule with life-support equipment functioned well but flight was 42 miles higher and 125 miles farther than programmed. Ham was recovered in good health (1961).

* An eight-engine static test firing of the Saturn test booster (Sa-T1) for 113 seconds was completed at Marshall Space Flight Center (1961).

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