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On this day in 1961 – October 27th – SA-1, the first Saturn space launch vehicle, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

This was the first mission of the Apollo program - Saturn V space launch vehicles eventually took astronauts to the Moon.


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On this day in 1971 – October 28th – the United Kingdom became the sixth nation to launch a satellite.

The Prospero satellite, the only satellite launched by a British rocket, carried a series of experiments to investigate the effects of the space environment.


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On this day in 1728 – October 30th – Polish-Lithuanian astronomer and mathematician Martin Poczobut was born in Slomiank, Lithuania.

For over forty years, he was the director of the Vilnius Astronomical Observatory. The huge number of astronomical observations carried out by Poczobut includes those of comets and asteroids, the orbital motions of Mercury, and several solar and lunar eclipses.


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On this day in 1930 – October 31st – Apollo astronaut Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy.

Collins, a former Air Force test pilot, was the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 11 mission. Sadly, he died in April of this year.


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On this day in 2005 – October 31st – the Hubble Space Telescope discovery of two new moons of Pluto was announced.

The moons were later named Nix and Hydra. Nyx is the goddess of the night and mother of Charon. Hydra was a giant guardian serpent with nine heads.


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Pluto is still considered a minor planet. Is that correct?

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Pluto is still considered a minor planet. Is that correct?

Pluto is now classified as a dwarf planet. The term minor planet has always referred to asteroids, though I don't think it's an official designation. Pluto was never considered asteroid - it went from planet to dwarf planet.


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On this day in 1919 – November 1st – Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist Hermann Bondi was born in Vienna, Austria.

Bondi was a distinguished academic and Fellow of the Royal Society. Among many positions outside academia, from 1967-1971, he served as Director-General of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) which later became the European Space Agency, (ESA).


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On this day in 1885 – November 2nd – American astronomer Harlow Shapley was born in Nashville, Missouri.

Shapley was the director of the Harvard College Observatory for thirty years, and he was known as an expert in his main area of study, the Milky Way.


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On this day in 1917 – November 2nd – the 100-inch telescope on Mount Wilson saw first light. It was the largest telescope in the world for over thirty years.

Using observations he made on the telescope in 1922–1923, Edwin Hubble produced two fundamental results that changed the scientific view of the Universe.


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