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April 8, 2019 - American Idols

American Idols  Sixty years ago this week at a news conference in Washington, D.C., NASA’s Administrator, T. Keith Glennan, introduced to the public the seven men chosen to be America’s nominees for the first human voyagers into space. These Project Mercury astronauts were the cream of the crop, survivors of the most stringent and grueling astronaut selection processes ever conducted. With varying degrees of reluctance, the astronauts soon became celebrities and idols to the American public, satisfying the nation’s need for a new breed of hero. The first three Mercury astronauts to fly are seen in this 1961 publicity photo. Left to right: John Glenn, first American to orbit Earth; Virgil “Gus” Grissom, second American to make a suborbital flight; Alan Shepard, first American to make a suborbital flight.

Image Credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

April 8 - 14, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 8

Ceres appears stationary

1964: Gemini I launched
1966: OAO-1 launched
1993: STS-56 Discovery launched
2002: STS-110 Atlantis launched
2008: ISS Expedition 17 crew launched

Tuesday 9

Mars 5° north of Moon
Pallas at opposition

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

Wednesday 10

Venus 0.3° south of Neptune
Jupiter appears stationary

1919: John C. Houbolt born
2019: Astronomers reveal first image of a black hole

Thursday 11

Mercury at greatest elongation (28° W)

1960: Project Ozma started
1970: Apollo 13 launched
1980: Viking 2 lander mission ends
1984: Challenger retrieves Solar Max
1986: Halley’s Comet closest to Earth

Friday 12

Yuri's Night World Space Party

First Qtr Moon 3:06 PM ET

1961: Yuri Gagarin first human in space
1981: STS-1 Columbia launched
1985: STS-51D Discovery launched

Saturday 13


Sunday 14

1629: Christiaan Huygens born
1972: KSC and Vandenberg AFB picked as shuttle launch sites
1981: STS-1 Columbia lands
2005: Expedition 11 crew launched to International Space Station

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.