Jul-21 (Pt 1): The Rise and Fall of the Space Program

The Rise and Fall of the Space Program

Today marks one of the crowning achievements of the American manned-space program, with the first walk on the moon.  Sadly, it also marks the final Space Shuttle landing and the U.S. retreat from manned spaced operations.

July 21st has been both a day of Science and the Arts and a day of War and Warriors.  In Part 2 we address the latter which includes the first major battle of the Civil War, a U-boat attack on Cape Cod, the execution of Hitler’s attempted assassins, the Geneva Accords partitioning Vietnam and Bloody Friday in Northern Ireland.

In Part 3 we highlight Science and the Arts with the Scopes Monkey Trial, Legionnaires Disease Outbreak, the Coldest Day on Earth and the birth of Ernest Hemingway.


Man on the Moon

If you were alive in 1969, you remember this day.  Apollo 11’s lunar capsule had landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC with the famous announcement – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”  Six hours later, Armstrong became the first to step onto the lunar surface declaring

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.


Buzz Aldrin would join him on the surface and they planted the American flag and left a plaque bearing President Nixon’s signature and an inscription reading: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”  Armstrong and Aldrin spent just under a day on the lunar surface before rendezvousing with mother ship in lunar orbit.

An additional 10 astronauts traveled to the Moon in another six missions with the final manned lunar landing, Apollo 17, completed in December 1972.


The Space Shuttle’s Final Landing

Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) touches down at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Overall, Atlantis spent 307 days in space and traveled nearly 126 million miles during its 33 flights. Atlantis, the fourth orbiter built, launched on its first mission on Oct. 3, 1985. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center.  It was the 135th and final mission of the Space Shuttle program.  The Shuttle is still the only winged manned spacecraft to have achieved orbit and land, and the only reusable manned space vehicle that has ever made multiple flights into orbit.


On this day in 1998, Alan Shepard, the first American in space and the first to hit a golf ball on the moon, died.



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