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On this day in 1934 - May 30th - cosmonaut Alexi Leonov was born.

Among Leonov's many accomplishments, he was the first person to carry out a spacewalk.


Mona Evans
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On this day in 1975 - May 30th - nine countries signed the convention to establish the European Space Agency (ESA).

The convention came into force on 30 October 1980 with the deposit of the last instrument of ratification.


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On this day in 1858 - June 2nd - Giovanni Battista Donati first observed the comet that bears his name.

Comet Donati, formally designated C/1858 L1 and 1858 VI, was one of the most brilliant comets of the 19th century. It inspired artists and poets and was also the first comet to be photographed, though the photograph has apparently been lost.


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On this day in 1930 - June 2nd - Apollo astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. was born.

During the Apollo 12 mission Conrad became the third person to walk on the Moon.


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On this day in 2003 - June 2nd - ESA launched Mars Express and Beagle 2.

Mars Express is still an operational orbiter. The British lander Beagle 2 was damaged as it landed on Mars and never became operational.


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On this day in 1977 - June 2nd - 14 delegates from nations around the world plus the UN Secretary-General recorded greetings for the Voyager space probes' "golden record".

Voyagers 1 and 2 were launched a month apart later in the year. Decades later Voyager 1 became the first probe to cross the heliopause into interstellar space.


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On this day in 1955 - June 2nd - the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan became operational and is still the world’s largest space launch facility.

It was from here that the first satellite to orbit the Earth was launched, and that Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, was launched into space.


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On this day in 1948 - June 3rd - the 200-inch Hale telescope was dedicated at Palomar Observatory in California.

The telescope was a marvel of design and precision engineering and the largest in the world for several decades.


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On this day in 2000 - June 4th - the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory reentered the atmosphere.

The observatory, part of NASA's Great Observatories series, detected high energy photons. It reentered the atmosphere in a controlled deorbit.


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On this day in 1819 - June 5th - British mathematician and astronomer John Couch Adams was born.

His most famous achievement was predicting the existence and position of Neptune, using only mathematics. But Urbain LeVerrier had independently made the calculations and the planet was discovered using LeVerrier's calculations. (Who discovered Neptune?)


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