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On this day in 1938 – September 15th – American astronomer James Christy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Christy is best known for his discovery of Charon, the first moon of Pluto and the largest of its five known natural satellites.


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On this day in 1968 – September 15th – the Soviet spacecraft Zond 5 was launched.

It was the first spacecraft to travel to the Moon with living creatures on board. It circled the Moon and returned safely to Earth with its passengers, including two tortoises.


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On this day in 2017 – September 15th – the NASA/ESA Cassini mission ended with planned entry into Saturn's atmosphere.

The Cassini spacecraft had spent over 13 years studying Saturn and its moons and rings.


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On this day in 1848 – September 16th – Saturn's moon Hyperion was discovered.

American astronomers William and George Bond, and English astronomer William Lassell independently discovered the moon.


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On this day in 1764 – September 17th – English astronomer John Goodricke was born in Groningen in the Netherlands.

An infection as an infant rendered him deaf and unable to speak. However he overcame the handicaps and became a highly proficient observer and pioneering investigator of variable stars. He theorized that the variable star Algol was a binary star whose variability was due to a dark companion periodically eclipsing it.


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On this day in 1789 – September 17th – William Herschel discovered Saturn's moon Mimas.

The huge crater in the leading hemisphere of Mimas is named Herschel in honor of the moon's discoverer.


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On this day in 1857 – September 17th – Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was born in Izhevskoye, Russia.

Tsiolkovsky is considered one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics. Long before the Wright brothers' first plane flew 120 feet, he was thinking space travel. And when it was still science fiction to most people, he was developing the theory, and doing the math, for multistage rockets.


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On this day in 1930 – September 17th – NASA astronaut Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas.

Mitchell was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission and the sixth man to walk on the Moon.


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On this day in 1977 – September 18th – NASA's Voyager 1 took the first ever photo of both the Earth and the Moon together in space.

The crescent Moon is very faint in the upper left of the photo.


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On this day in 1977 – September 18th – Anousheh Ansari was the first self-funded woman to travel to the space station.

Ansari is an Iranian American engineer and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems.


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