On This Day in Aviation History

November 3, 2011

This Day in Aviation History: November 3rd

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By: Phil Derner Jr.
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Laika
Laika
1973 – NASA launches Mariner 10, a robotic space probe intended to fly past Venus and Mercury, reaching both planets the following February and March respectively. After a year and a half of service and over 2,000 photos sent back to Earth, its nitrogen supply would dwindle and its transponder would be shut off. It still orbits the sun today.

Laika

Laika

1957 – Russia launches Sputnik 2, an orbiter that would deliver the first animal into a space, a female terrier named Laika. The 3-year-old dog was sent to determine if a living creature could withstand launch and weightlessness, but she ultimately died a few hours after launch due to overheating. Regardless, she proved that oxygen-craving creatures could enter space, and Laika was considered a hero.

1926 – Charles Lindbergh jumps from his disabled airplane during an airmail flight, making this the fourth time he had to use his parachute to save his life.

1897 – The first all-metal rigid airship is tested in Germany. Using wafer-thin aluminum, a major innovation, it crashes soon after taking off, proving to not be microwave safe.