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On this day in 1963 – May 30th – English chemist, astronaut and science communicator, Helen Sharman, was born in Grenoside, Sheffield.

Chosen to train as a cosmonaut, Sharman was the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the Mir space station.

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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 1877 – May 31st – French astronomer Gabrielle Renaudot Flammarion was born in Meudon in the département of Hauts-de-Seine.

Gabrielle, the second wife of the prominent astronomer Camille Flammarion, was General Secretary of the Société Astronomique de France. She worked with her husband at his observatory at Juvisy-sur-Orge, France from where she carried out observations of planets, minor planets and variable stars. Gabrielle Flammarion published work on several topics including the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the surface features of Mars.

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On this day in 1858 – June 2nd – Italian astronomer 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 been lost.

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On this day in 1930 – June 2nd – Apollo astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Conrad was the commander of the Apollo 12 mission and the third person to walk on the Moon.

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On this day in 1955 – June 2nd – the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan became operational.

It was from here that the first satellite to orbit the Earth was launched, and Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, was launched into space. It is still the world's largest space launch facility.

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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.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 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 2003 – June 2nd – ESA's Mars Express was launched, the first European space mission to go to the Red Planet.

Two decades later, the orbiter is still at work in the Martian sky.

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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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