50 years ago today, the first manned space mission that would land a man on the moon, Apollo 11, launched from Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin (1969)
NASA photo shows mission officials celebrating in the Launch Control Center after the successful Apollo 11 liftoff. From left to right are: Charles W. Mathews, Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight; Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center; George Mueller, Associate Administrator for the Office of Manned Space Flight; Lt. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Director of the Apollo Program
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia signed the first constitution of Ethiopia (1930)
- The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France with Italy opened (1965)
- Larry Sanger, the Doctor of Philosophy and co-founder of Wikipedia who proposed implementing the wiki project as complementary to his 2000 Nupedia website—a wiki written by experts in their various fields (1968)
- The native Apache trout species in Arizona was upgraded from endangered to threatened on the US Endangered Species List after conservation efforts brought the creek dweller back from the brink (1975)
- The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was signed by the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation (2001)
- Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois’s first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, is opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley (2004)
And on this day in 1966, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton formed the rock band Cream. In their two years as a group, they recorded four LPs and classic songs like ‘Sunshine of Your Love,’ ‘Strange Brew,’ ‘Crossroads,’ and ‘White Room.’
Regarded as the world’s first successful supergroup, their third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. That year, Clapton wanted to end the band, which was having personnel disputes, and pursue a different musical direction. He formed Blind Faith with Stevie Winwood in the aftermath of the break up.
And, on this day in 1790, Washington D.C., (the District of Columbia) was established to serve as the nation’s capital on property donated by Maryland along the Potomac River. The city was named after the current first president, George Washington, who chose the site.
Pierre L’Enfant designed the city with sweeping boulevards and ceremonial spaces reminiscent of Paris in his native France. Benjamin Banneker, a self-taught African-American mathematical genius, provided the calculations for surveying and laying out the city.
Also, on this day in 1918, George Mueller, “the father of the space shuttle”, was born. The electrical engineer was the NASA administrator who headed the Office of Manned Space Flight and ensured the success of the Apollo program that landed a man on the Moon and returned him safely to the Earth in 1969. NASA’s “most brilliant and fearless manager”, Mueller also played a key part in the design of Skylab, and championed the space shuttle’s development.
As a boy, George enjoyed reading science fiction and was curious about how things worked, building his own radios. Working part time and attending college at night, he studied until he obtained a doctorate in physics. While at TRW working on missile systems, Mueller became convinced that “all-up testing” was essential, and pushed through that philosophy at NASA—convincing others with “impeccable reasoning” that testing one system without the integration of the whole, was not good enough. He also refused to work at NASA at all in 1963 unless they restructured the agency so that three centers would report directly to him—and took a substantial pay cut to do so.