This Month in Exploration - November

Visit "This Month in Exploration" every month to find out how aviation and space exploration have changed throughout the years, improving life for humans on Earth and in space. While reflecting on the events that led to NASA's formation and its rich history of accomplishments, "This Month in Exploration" will reveal where the agency is leading us -- to the moon, Mars and beyond.

100 Years Ago

November 5, 1908: The Aéro Club of France awarded Wilbur Wright the Grand Gold Medal for his significant accomplishments in aviation.

75 Years Ago

November 20, 1933: Lieutenant Commander Thomas. G. W. Settle and Major Chester L. Fordney reached the stratosphere at an altitude of 61,237 feet in their hot air balloon over Akron, Ohio.

50 Years Ago

November 8, 1958: NASA launched Pioneer 2, however, the space probe experienced a launch failure and never reached its destination of the moon.

45 Years Ago

November 27, 1963: NASA completed its first successful launch of the Atlas-Centaur rocket (AC-2). This project was managed by Lewis Research Center (now Glenn) and demonstrated the first successful use of liquid hydrogen for propulsion of a space vehicle.

35 Years Ago

November 3, 1973: NASA launched Mariner 10 using an Atlas-Centaur rocket. This spacecraft was the first to explore Mercury and take close-range pictures of the planet. Mariner 10 was also the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet (Venus) to reach another (Mercury).

30 Years Ago

November 13, 1978: NASA launched the Einstein Observatory HEAO-2 →, the first fully imaging X-ray telescope put into space.

25 Years Ago

November 28, 1983: NASA launched the space shuttle STS-9 mission to begin the first Spacelab mission and the first mission to carry six people in one spacecraft. NASA and the European Space Agency developed Spacelab-1 to enable advanced research experiments in space.

20 Years Ago

November 15, 1988: The Soviet Union launched the Buran space shuttle using an Energia booster rocket. During the unmanned flight, the shuttle orbited Earth twice before safely returning to the ground. The Buran project was cancelled in 1993.

15 Years Ago

November 1, 1993: Space shuttle ColumbiaSTS-58 successfully landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., ending the fourth longest mission in US manned space history. Columbia was named after a small sailing vessel that operated out of Boston in 1792 and explored the mouth of the Columbia River.

10 Years Ago

November 20, 1998: Russia launched the Zarya control module from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the first component for the International Space Station. Zarya, which means "sunrise," weighed 42,600 pounds and functioned as a space tugboat to provide early propulsion, steering, and communications for the space station. It was built by Russia, but was funded and owned by the U.S.

Five Years Ago

November 4, 2003: Scientists observed the largest solar flare → in recorded history. Several months later, scientists discovered the flare was much larger than originally estimated and it was re-classified as an X45. X-class solar flares can cause upper atmospheric storm activity and radio blackouts around the world.

Present Day

November 14, 2008: NASA will launch space shuttle Endeavour which will deliver equipment and supplies to help set the stage for enlarging the crew size aboard the International Space Station.

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