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MAY 1

* Black female pilot "Brave Bessie" Coleman killed as a result of being thrown from a spinning plane during aero-acrobatics performed before a large audience in Jacksonville, Florida (1926).

(Bessie Coleman was born January 26, 1893 and became the first black person to receive and earn a pilot's license. She started a flying school and was named"Brave Bessie" for her daring flights.)

* A colt killed by a meteorite. (New Concord, Ohio, 1860).

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MAY 2

* Trio of Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers held a concert at the Johnson Space Center Rocket Park, Houston, Texas for 12,000 space workers to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing. (1989).

* "Preliminary Design of Experimental World Circling Spaceship" published (1946).

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MAY 3

* First crystal grown from liquid in space from crystal seed, STS-51B, Spacelab 3 (1985).

* First nonstop airplane flight across U.S. completed in a Fokker T-2 flown by two U.S. Army aviators. The total time of the flight was almost 27 hours (1923).

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MAY 4

* Satellite Lageos 1 was launched. Its purpose is to measure shifts of continental land masses by reflecting laser beams off its refecting mirrors (1976).* Magellan probe of Venus launched on STS-30 (1989).

(Click here on Magellan for more information.)

* William Herschel erroneously reports active volcanoes on the Moon (1793).

* First on-the-road Spacemobile lecture given (1961).

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MAY 5

* Shepard became first American in space (1961).

* Next conjunction of the Sun and Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon to occur on this day in the year 2000.

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MAY 6

* The Hindenburg disaster occurred over Lakehurst, New Jersey, when the hydrogen filled dirigible burst into flames killing 35 of the 97 passengers on board (1937).

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MAY 7

* First successful flight of a pressurized airplane (1937).

Note: research done in providing habitable atmospheres at high altitudes led to "altitude suits" for pilots and later spacesuits for astronauts. The space suit design drawn at left, only two years after the pressurized plane flight (1939), is like today's designs.

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MAY 8

* Lalande noted a star that is really the planet Neptune (1795).

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MAY 9

* Luna 5 launched. This was the first attempt to soft-land on the Moon. Unfortunately, it failed (1965).

* A Laser beam was bounced off the Moon (1962).

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MAY 10

* Comet Halley's closest pass to Earth (1910). The 1910 return of Halley's Comet prompted the song "Halley's Comet Rag" whose song sheet is shown in photo from the Library of Congress.

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MAY 11


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