This Month in Space - JUNE 2015

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex just shared with us the latest edition of the special "This Month in Space" series. These articles help all of us to remember interesting details about the rich past of space exploration.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering fun and educational activities. We are sure you will agree with us that there is no better source for such interesting information.

June 1, 1951:  The Delta wing configuration was confirmed, marking a breakthrough for future spaceflight. This was the wing pattern implemented in the design of America’s space shuttle.

June 2, 2003:  The European Space Agency successfully launched its first probe to Mars, called Mars Express. Its mission was to gather information about Mars’ mineral makeup.

June 3, 1965: Astronaut Ed White made the first American spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission. White used an oxygen-jet gun to propel himself out of the spacecraft, but fuel ran out in three minutes. After that, White had to twist his body and use the tether to maneuver during his 23 minute spacewalk.

June 4, 1974: Construction began on space shuttle Enterprise. Enterprise was designed for landing tests and did not fly in space. During the tests, the shuttle prototype was carried aloft by a modified Boeing 747 before being released for flight and landing. 

June 5, 1961: The Saturn 1 Launch Complex was completed. The rocket holding gantry remains the largest movable land structure in North America.

June 7, 1992: Explorer 67, the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, launched. This was NASA’s first major mission focused on extreme ultraviolet astronomy. Explorer 67 delivered the first all sky survey in the extreme ultraviolet band and still provides data today.

June 8, 1625: Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini was born. Cassini discovered four of Saturn’s moons.

June 9, 1812: German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle was born. Galle was the first to discover the planet Neptune and had one of its rings named after him.

June 10, 2003: The Spirit rover launched aboard a Delta II rocket for an expected 90-day mission on Mars. Spirit stayed active for more than six years, performing research of the Red Planet’s surface.

June 11, 1928: A rocket-boosted glider piloted by German Friedrich Stamer became the first ever manned rocket-powered aircraft to take flight. The glider flew for a total of 70 seconds followed by a successful landing. 

June 12, 1924: Former President George H.W. Bush was born. A proponent of the space program, President Bush said, “Why the moon? Why Mars? Because it is humanity’s destiny to strive, to seek, to find…history proves that we have never lost by pressing the limits of our frontiers."

June 13, 1983: After 30 years of flight, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft left our solar system and began its journey into interstellar space. Subsequently completing its Jupiter missions, the craft now glides silently through the galaxy as a ghost ship.

June 16, 1963: Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. She completed 48 orbits and 71 hours of spaceflight before returning to Earth. Her mission was a success, and still remains the only solo space flight by a woman.

June 18, 1983: Mission Specialist Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard space shuttle Challenger. On the STS-7 mission, Ride controlled Canadarm in orbit, a 50-foot retractable arm, for the first use ever.

June 21 2004: SpaceShipOne, the first privately-funded human spaceflight, launched its 24-minute journey into space from the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. The flight carried only one pilot, Mike Melvill, who became the first non-governmental astronaut.

June 22, 2000: NASA announced evidence of liquid on Mars. NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft captures pictures of evidential gullies and deposits of soil and rocks formed by the flow of water.

June 24, 1983: Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, returned home after her six-day voyage aboard space shuttle Challenger. She left NASA in 1987 to pursue a teaching career focused on women who wanted to study science and mathematics.

June 25, 1997: STS-50 Columbia, the longest space shuttle mission to date lasting 13 days, successfully carried the United States Microgravity Laboratory to orbit. The manned Spacelab module served as a national effort to advance research in space.

June 26, 1984: STS 41-D Discovery attempted her first launch, but was aborted at T-6 seconds when irregular operation of the main fuel valve on Space Shuttle Main Engine 3 resulted in an engine shutdown. After aborting, they rolled Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building before officially launching on August 30, 1984.

June 27, 1982: Aboard STS-4 Columbia was the first of many Getaway Specials provided by Utah State University. Getaway Specials (GAS) was a NASA program allowing individuals to create and fly small-scale experiments aboard the space shuttle.

June 28, 1965: The fourth class of NASA astronauts was selected. This group consisted of scientists to assist with Apollo lunar landing and space station missions. Of the 1,351 applicants, only 6 were chosen!

June 29, 2013: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opened the permanent home of retired space shuttle Atlantis. Atlantis served the world in 33 missions.

June 30, 1995: Apollo 13 motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise premiered in theaters. Grossing $331.1 million worldwide, Apollo 13 was reminiscent of the 1960s space race.

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