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March 14, 2016 - Rocketing into History

Rocketing Into History  Ninety years ago this week, the first liquid-fueled rocket, designed and built by physicist Dr. Robert H. Goddard, lifted off from a field in Auburn, Massachusetts. That first rocket only made it to a height of 12.5 m (41 ft), but nine years later Goddard successfully launched a liquid-fueled rocket to 1,463 m (4,800 ft). Just three decades after that, Saturn V rockets were sending Apollo astronauts to the Moon using more advanced liquid-fuel technology. Here, the Apollo 15 Saturn V lifts off on July 26, 1971, carrying astronauts Dave Scott, Al Worden, and Jim Irwin on the fourth successful lunar landing. A Saturn V had nearly a million times the thrust of Goddard’s first humble field test, but without Goddard’s vision and inventiveness, humans may never have risen to such heights.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

March 14-20, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 14

Aldebaran 0.3° south of Moon

1835: Giovanni Schiaparelli born
1879: Albert Einstein born
1934: Gene Cernan born
1986: Giotto flies by Halley’s Comet
1995: Soyuz TM-21 launched, first Russian mission with American on board
2016: ExoMars launched

Moon phase Tuesday 15

First Qtr Moon 1:03 PM ET

1713: Nicolas de Lacaille born
1932: Alan Bean born
1975: Helios 1 launched
2009: STS-119 Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 16

1750: Caroline Herschel born
1926: Robert Goddard launches first liquid fuel rocket
1966: Gemini VIII launched
1975: Mariner 10’s 3rd Mercury flyby

Moon phase Thursday 17

St. Patrick’s Day

1930: Jim Irwin born
1958: Vanguard 1 launched, first solar-powered satellite
1972: NASA issues request for proposals for Space Shuttle
2011: MESSENGER becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mercury

Moon phase Friday 18

1965: Voskhod 2 launched, Alexei Leonov takes world’s first spacewalk
1980: Soviet rocket explosion kills 50 workers at Plesetsk launch pad
2016Soyuz TMA-20M launched carrying ISS Expedition 47/48 crew

Moon phase Saturday 19

1970: First powered flight of X-24A lifting body

Moon phase Sunday 20

Palm Sunday

Equinox 12:30 AM ET
Venus 0.5° south of Neptune

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.