31 years ago today, the Soviets launched the world’s biggest space station, “Mir”, and with it, a new phase in space exploration. Mir, which means both peace and world in Russian, would provide the home base for a permanently manned international complex orbiting the Earth– and was occupied for 10 of its 15 years in orbit. (1986)
Launched on this day was the first part of the orbiting laboratory–the main module that included the crew quarters, with airlocks for docking and more. In later years, new modules would be added to expand the Mir space station, including a US-built space shuttle docking port in the mid 1990s.
Astronauts and cosmonauts from a dozen different countries lived aboard and did research on Mir. In 2001, its duties were done and it was burned in a controlled deorbit in the atmosphere, making way for the new International Space Station, built cooperatively by a host of advanced countries around the world. (Click to enlarge top and bottom NASA images)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The phonograph was patented by Thomas Edison* (1878)
- Britain, Turkey and Greece agreed to grant Cyprus its independence (1959)
- Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published, relaunching the Feminist Movement in the United States as women’s organizations and consciousness-raising groups spread (1963)
- Paul Simon wrote The Sounds of Silence, the song that catapulted Simon and Garfunkel to stardom 18 months later (1964)
- Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted on public television (1968)
- 10 years ago today, The Rolling Stones played for 1.3 million people, the largest public performance ever, in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2006)
And, on this date in 1985, William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from a hospital. He was a hero to medical science for his willingness to be the second patient to get the Jarvik-7. Today, the modern version of the device has been implanted in more than 1,350 people as a bridge to transplantation.
Footnote: *Did you know Thomas Jefferson believed all of society should benefit from technology, so he never patented any of his numerous inventions?