This Day In Astro History

STS 51 Crew
STS 51 Crew. Left to right in the front are John O. Creighton, Shannon W. Lucid, Daniel C. Brandenstein; and in the back row are Sultan Salman Abdelazize Al-Saud, Steven R. Nagel, John N. Fabian and Patrick Baudry.

At Carnagie Mellon Museum
Chicora Meteorite, lands in Pennsylvania.

Dr. William Randolph Lovelace II
Dr. William Randolph "Randy" Lovelace II

June 24

1985 - STS-51-G Space Shuttle Discovery completes its mission, best remembered for having Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a Payload Specialist.

1961 - "I would appreciate your having the Space Council undertake to make the necessary studies . . . for bringing into optimum use at the earliest practicable time operational communications satellites." Quote from a letter from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson.

1942 - Dr. William Randolph Lovelace II jumped out of a B-17 bomber flying at 40,200 feet in order to test the emergency oxygen unit he had designed with colleagues. It was his first ever parachute jump. An unaided parachutist at such high altitude would quickly lose consciousness due to lack of oxygen, and unable to pull the parachute ripcord when needed. When he opened his parachute, it was the sudden deceleration of 32 g's, which knocked him unconscious. He lost a glove, and in the sub-zero (-40 F) temperature his hand became frostbitten. The oxygen unit kept him alive. He regained consciousness at a lower altitude, and landed almost 24 minutes after he bailed out. His test led to development of automatic parachute opening devices. -- Today in Science History. Lovelace was an accomplished physician and a leading figure in aerospace medicine. Lovelace was appointed chairman of NASA's Special Advisory Committee on Life Science and played a central role in selecting the Mercury Seven astronauts. He also tested candidates for a privately funded Woman in Space Program. (The Mercury 13). He, and his wife, died on December 24, 1965 at the age of 57 in a plane crash in the Colorado Rockies.

1938 - Pieces of a meteor, estimated to have weighed 450 metric tons when it hit the Earth's atmosphere and exploded, land near Chicora, Pennsylvania.

1915 - Sir Fred Hoyle was born in Gilstead, England. He was an astronomer noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial rejection of the "Big Bang" theory.

1881 - Sir William Huggins, Bruce Medalist (1904) makes the first photographic spectrum of a comet (1881 III) and discovers the cyanogen (CN) emission at violet wavelengths, which caused near mass hysteria 29 years later as the Earth passed thru the tail of Halley's Comet.

"One important object of this original spectroscopic investigation of the light of the stars and other celestial bodies, namely to discover whether the same chemical elements as those of our earth are present throughout the universe, was most satisfactorily settled in the affirmative; a common chemistry, it was shown, exists throughout the universe." - Sir William Huggins

451 - 10th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene