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On this day in 1965 – April 6th – Intelsat I became the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit.

It was nicknamed Early Bird from the proverb "The early bird catches the worm." Although the satellite remains in orbit, the last time it was activated was in 1990.


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On this day in 1991 – April 7th – the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO) was deployed by astronauts on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

It was the second of NASA's "Great Observatories" and it transformed our knowledge of the high-energy sky, producing the first ever all-sky survey in gamma rays.


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On this day in 2001 – April 7th – NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched.

The orbiter was designed to look for evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as study the planet's geology and radiation environment. Its primary mission was meant to last 32 months, but It's still in service.


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On this day in 1793 – April 8th – German amateur astronomer Karl Ludwig Hencke was born in Driesen, Brandenburg.

Hencke discovered five variable stars and carried out much useful work on the general improvement of star charts. But his major discoveries were the asteroids Astraea (1845), found 15 years after his search began, and Hebe in 1847. They were the first new asteroids known since the discovery of Vesta was in 1807.


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On this day in 1964 – April 8th – NASA's Gemini 1 was launched as an unmanned test flight.

The Gemini program was the bridge between NASA's Mercury program - its original ventures in manned spaceflight - and the Apollo moon program.


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On this day in 1921 – April 9th – Mary Jackson was born.

Jackson was NASA's first black female engineer. She began as a computer for NASA's predecessor organization, but went on to take advanced engineering classes. She worked at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for most of her career.


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On this day in 1959 – April 9th – NASA selected its first group of astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven.

They were the pioneers of the US manned space program: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. None of the Mercury Seven are still alive.


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On this day in 1968 – April 9th – Europe's spaceport, the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) - Guiana Space Centre - became operational.

This first launch was of a sounding rocket from the French Veronique series.


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On this day in 1919 – April 10th – American aerospace engineer John C. Houbolt was born in Altoona, Iowa.

Houbolt lead the team behind the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) that was used to land humans on the Moon and return them to Earth. Using LOR, NASA saved time and billions of dollars by efficiently using existing rocket technology.


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People from the early 20th century certainly made a lot of ground breaking accomplishments. Today we're on track to accomplish things but they are built on previous creations.

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