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 . Space History News - People and events in development of space travel Space History News - People and events in development of space travel Space History News - People and events in development of space travel  

Space History for October 21

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Christopher Columbus discovered America, making landfall at San Salvador Island. (This is the Gregorian calendar date, as opposed to the 12 Oct 1492 Julian calender date commonly known.)

Born, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, Stockholm, created dynamite and Peace Prizes

H. D'Arrest discovered asteroid #76 Freia.

Died (age 78), Jacques Babinet, French physicist, mathematician, astronomer, most famous for his contributions to optics

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #208 Lacrimosa.

Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tested the first practical electric light bulb, which used less power than previous designs and lasted 13 1/2 hours before burning out.

The Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, Illinois, was dedicated at its Williams Bay, Wisconsin, site where it is still in operation.

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #525 Adelaide.

J. Palisa discovered asteroids #723 Hammonia, #724 Hapag and #725 Amanda.

The first transatlantic radiotelephone (voice) message was sent from Arlington, Virginia to Paris, France.

The first official public showing of a planetarium projector was made at the Deutsche Museum in Munich, Germany.

Born, Ursula K[roeber] Le Guin, American science fiction author

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1374 Isora.

M. Laugier discovered asteroid #2106 Hugo.

H. Alikoski discovered asteroid #1508 Kemi.

Born, Ronald E. McNair, (at Lake City, South Carolina, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 41B, STS 51L - Challenger disaster; 7d 23.25h in spaceflight) (deceased)

Ronald Erwin McNair (21 October 1950 - 28 January 1986) was one of the astronauts killed in the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, mission STS 51-L.

Dr. McNair received a B.S. in physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He also received honorary doctorates in 1978, 1980 and 1984. After graduation from MIT, he became a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Laboratories.

During the 1970s actress Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame was employed by NASA to recruit minority candidates for the space program. Dr. McNair became one of these candidates, was selected for the astronaut program in 1978 and had flown a mission on the Challenger in February 1984 as a mission specialist.

Dr. McNair was a saxophonist; before the mission he worked with composer Jean Michel Jarre on a piece of music, Rendez-vous VI. It was intended that he would record his saxophone solo on board Challenger, making it the first piece of music played in space. After the disaster, the piece was renamed Ron's Piece.

Astronaut Ron McNair, NASA photo S78-35300 (21 January 1978)
Source: NASA Image and Video Library

Born, Douglas G. Hurley (at Endicott, New York, USA), Lt Colonel USMC, NASA astronaut (STS-127, STS-135, Crew Dragon Demo-2; over 92d 10.5h total time in spaceflight)

NASA Astronaut Doug Hurley (2 August 2018)
Source: NASA Johnson

Died (age 94), Ejnar Hertzsprung, Danish astrophysicist (Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram relating stellar type, development stage and luminosity)

H. L. Giclas discovered asteroid #3695.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2550 Houssay.

E. Bowell discovered asteroids #3061 Cook and #3507 Vilas; L. Zhuravleva discovered asteroid #3376; L. G. Karachkina discovered asteroids #3469 Bulgakov, #3516 Rusheva, #3668, #3669 and #3772.

Died, Hans Joachim Oskar Fichtner, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head, Electrical Systems Integration Branch, Guidance/Control Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

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