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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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.



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.