25 years ago today, the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis kicked off a new era in international space cooperation by achieving the first docking with the Russian space station Mir.
Beyond the Mir docking, the mission of Atlantis flight STS-71 included a series of spacewalks to reconfigure the station for docking and launching the new Spektr module on Mir that contained U.S. research hardware.
The flight also marked a number of historic firsts in human spaceflight: It was the 100th U.S. human space launch conducted from Cape Canaveral on the Florida coast; the largest spacecraft ever in orbit; and first in-orbit changeout of a shuttle crew. LEARN about the picture-perfect gravity docking… (1995)
For the docking, Shuttle Commander Hoot Gibson positioned Atlantis directly below Mir, so that the Earth’s gravity naturally braked the orbiter’s approach “up” to Mir. The final approach rate of about an inch per minute ended 216 nautical miles above Russia’s Lake Baykal region, with a nearly perfect docking, off by less than one inch and one half a degree.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The First known recording of music—Handel’s Israel in Egypt—was made on a wax cylinder (1888)
- The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 is signed, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System (1956)
- After her husband fell ill, vice-president Isabel Peron was sworn in as president of Argentina – with the support of the armed forces and labor unions – becoming the first non-royal female head of a modern state in the Western Hemisphere (1974)
- The NASA Space Shuttle docked with the Russian space station Mir for the first time, signaling a new era of space co-operation between the two former Cold War rivals, and the first docking between a shuttle and a space station (1995)
And, on this day in 2004, Randy Johnson became only the fourth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to reach 4,000 career strikeouts.
In 2004, at the age of 40, Johnson also became the oldest pitcher in history to throw a perfect game, and is one of seven pitchers who have thrown both a perfect game and a no-hitter in their careers. The lanky six-foot-ten-inch California lefty retired with 4,875 strikeouts—the second most for any pitcher.
And on this day in 2007, the first Apple iPhones—designed for 30 months at a cost of $150 million—went on sale in America.
With its touchscreen and intuitive design, the smartphone was a game-changer for mobile phones, selling 6.1 million units in 15 months. 2.2 million apps are now available from third-party developers that extend the capabilities of the phones to almost anything imaginable. (WATCH Jobs Introduce the New Product at MacWorld, below)
And on this day in 1936, Harmon Killebrew, the legendary baseball player, was born in Idaho. For the Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators, Killebrew was a prolific power and distance hitter who, at the time of his retirement, was second only to Babe Ruth in American League home runs (and only Alex Rodriguez passed him as a right-hander).
Despite his nickname, “The Killer”, Killebrew was a quiet, kind man who raised money for leukemia and cancer research and promoted children’s sports through community service. Killebrew hit several record-distance home runs, including a 520-footer in the old Minnesota stadium. His first home run in the Majors was also a monster: “Frank House was the catcher. When I came to the plate, he said, ‘Kid, we’re going to throw you a fastball.’ I didn’t know whether to believe him or not. I hit it out. It was one of the longest home runs I ever hit. As I crossed the plate, House said, ‘That’s the last time I ever tell you what pitch is coming’.”
Also, Happy 67th Birthday to ‘Men At Work’ singer Colin Hay, The Scottish-Australian musician is most known for his massive hit ‘Down Under‘, which hit No.1 in both UK and America. In a solo career afterward, he recorded this sweet ballad, “Waiting for my Real Life to Begin”. WATCH it LIVE… (1953)
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