Jan. 28, 1964: Maj. Robert Rushworth flew the 100th X-15 flight near Edwards Air Force Base and, according to the initial flight log, reached the speed of 3,618 (Mach 5.34) and 107,400 feet in altitude.
Jan. 28, 1964: An unarmed U.S. Air Force North American CT-39A-1-NO Sabreliner of the 7101st Air Base Wing, departed Wiesbaden, West Germany, at 2:10 p.m. on a routine three-hour training flight. On board the trainer were three men, Capt. John F. Lorraine and students Lt. Col. Gerald K. Hannaford and Capt. Donald G. Millard.
Lorraine was the qualified instructor, while Hannaford and Millard, both pilots with experience on other types, were being trained to qualify on the T-39. The flight proceeded uneventfully until, 47 minutes after takeoff, radar at two U.S. air defense stations noticed that the trainer was heading toward East Germany at 500 miles per hour.
Hoping to divert the T-39 back on course, each station began hailing the plane on Air Force frequencies and a Soviet-monitored international distress band. Repeated calls to the T-39 went unanswered. It appeared that the T-39’s radio systems malfunctioned, and the crew were unable to respond. The T-39 crossed the border into East Germany. Within five minutes, two blips appeared near the American jet. For 11 minutes, radar blips indicated the three planes were moving eastward, then two blips suddenly veered west, and the third blip disappeared. American personnel monitoring the T-39’s flight could not determine what had happened, although it was later reported that residents in Vogelsberg, 50 miles from the border, had heard machine-gun and cannon fire and had witnessed the plane crash. The incident is believed to have occurred at 3:14 p.m.
At 5 p.m. on Jan. 28, the United States Military Liaison Mission in Berlin, received a warning to stand by for possible search and rescue of American airmen. By 6 p.m., a search team left Berlin for the Erfurt area of East Germany. At 7:15 p.m., the chief of the USMLM met with his Soviet counterpart to request help in finding the plane and rescuing survivors (in accordance with the Huebnerñ Malinin Agreement). At 8 p.m., a second search team left Berlin. About this same time, the first team arrived at the crash site, 12 miles north of Erfurt. The first team received a report from an East German civilian that a U.S. plane had crashed and burned, and that the crew was dead. Throughout the night, the American teams tried to approach the aircraft and were repeatedly sent away by the armed Soviet forces on site. These forces denied that any aircraft had crashed, and two American search teams were detained briefly before being released at 2 p.m., Jan. 29.
By Jan. 29, the U.S. State Department charged that the Soviet Union shot down an unarmed plane and caused the needless deaths of three officers. Secretary of State Dean Rusk called the action a “shocking and senseless act.” Through the Soviet press agency, Tass, Moscow claimed that the plane had intruded over East German territory and failed to react to signals, and then a warning shot. The Soviets said they were compelled to take the measure that brought down the U.S. plane.
On Jan. 30, the Soviets agreed to allow U.S. personnel access to the crash site. This occurred the following day and later the bodies of all three servicemen were returned to the United States through Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay met the plane and participated in an honors ceremony. The aircraft wreckage was also recovered and was taken to Berlin, arriving there on Feb. 1, 1964. Residents from the nearby town of Vogelsberg in Thuringia erected a memorial to the three downed pilots, in 1998, once the “Iron Curtain” had been lifted.
Jan. 28, 1986: During a launch viewed by millions of people around the world, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven members of its crew Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis, and teacher Christa McAuliffe. The explosion occurred 73 seconds into the flight because of a leak in one of the rocket boosters that ignited the main liquid fuel tank. Following the tragedy, the shuttle program was suspended until September 1988. Jan. 22, 1944: During World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.
Jan. 29, 1949: A Convair B-36B, piloted by Major Stephen Dillon, established a record bomb lift by taking a pair of dummy 42,000-pound Grand Slam bombs aloft at Muroc. The first bomb was released at an altitude of 35,000 feet, the second from 40,000 feet.
Jan. 29, 1987: The U.S. National Park Service awarded Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., National Historic Landmark status in a ceremony conducted at the site of the future Air Force Flight Test Museum. Ceremonies were also held dedicating the site as the Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle Airpark. In this photograph are are AFFTC Commander Maj. Gen. William Twinting, Foundation Corresponding Secretary Martha Ettinger, Foundation President, retired U.S. Air Force Col., William J. “Pete” Knight, and Museum Curator, retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Doug Nelson unveiling the plaque dedicating the Jimmy Doolittle Airpark.
Jan. 30, 1930: The Boeing XP-15, an American prototype monoplane fighter, made its first flight. This aircraft was essentially a monoplane version of the Boeing P-12, differing in having the lower wing omitted and in having all-metal construction as well as altered ailerons. The XP-15 had a split-axle undercarriage and a tail wheel. Boeing numbered the craft as its Model 202; while the United States Army accepted it for testing and designated it as XP-15, they never actually purchased it, and it retained its civil registration of X-270V.
The XP-15 first flew in January 1930 when it was discovered that the vertical stabilizer (a P-12C type) needed to be larger to compensate for the single wing. Initial testing showed a top speed to 178 mph, but with enlarged tail surfaces and a Townend cowling, it recorded 190 mph at 8,000 ft. The aircraft performed poorly, with a poor rate of climb and a high landing speed. The USAAC did not order the aircraft for production and on February 7, 1931, the prototype was destroyed when a propeller blade failed, and the engine tore loose from its mounts. The U.S. Navy was offered the similar Model 205, and it first flew in February 1930. One was bought by the Navy as the XF5B-1, but by the time flight testing was complete in 1932, other aircraft were ordered instead.
Jan. 30, 1933: The Curtiss T-32 Condor II, an American biplane twin engine airliner and bomber aircraft, made its first flight. The aircraft was used by the U.S. The Condor II was a two-bay biplane of mixed construction with a single vertical stabilizer and rudder, and retractable landing gear. It was powered by two Wright Cyclone radial engines. Following the first flight, a production batch of 21 aircraft was then built. The production aircraft were fitted out as 12-passenger luxury night sleeper transports.
They entered service with Eastern Air Transport and American Airways, forerunners of Eastern Air Lines and American Airlines on regular night services for the next three years. Two modified T-32s were bought by the United States Army Air Corps (designated YC-30) for use as executive transports. One Condor was converted with extra fuel tanks and used by the 1939-1941 United States Antarctic Service Expedition, and, unique for a Condor, had a fixed undercarriage to allow use on floats or skis. Some aircraft were later modified to AT-32 standard with variable-pitch propellers and improved engine nacelles. The AT-32D variant could be converted from sleeper configuration to daytime use with 15 seats. Four T-32s operating in the United Kingdom were pressed into service with the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of World War II. Eight bomber variants (BT-32) were built with manually operated machine gun turrets in the nose and above the rear fuselage. All these aircraft were exported. A military cargo version (CT-32) was also built for Argentina. It had a large loading door on the starboard side of the fuselage.
Jan. 31, 1918: The Curtiss R-6 twin-float seaplane becomes the first U.S.-built airplane to operate overseas with American forces at Naval Base 13, Ponta Delgado, in the Azores.
Jan. 31, 1958: The United States joined the space race when Explorer 1 was launched into orbit on Jan. 31, 1958. The satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida under the direction of legendary German-born scientist Dr. Wernher Von Braun. Explorer 1, which was 80 inches long and 6.25 inches in diameter, revolved around Earth in a looping orbit that took it as close as 220 miles of Earth and as far away as 1,563 miles. Explorer orbited the Earth more than 58,000 times before burning up on March 31, 1970.
Jan. 31, 1958: The North American T-2 Buckeye, a U.S. Navy’s intermediate training aircraft, intended to introduce Student Naval Aviators to jets, made its first flight. The Buckeye entered service in 1959 and was replaced by the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk in 2008. Every jet-qualified Naval Aviator and virtually every Naval Flight Officer from the late 1950s until 2004 received training in the T-2 Buckeye, a length of service spanning four decades.
The aircraft first exited the Naval Aviator strike pipeline (where it saw its final carrier landings) in 2004, and the Naval Flight Officer tactical jet pipeline in 2008. In the Naval Aviator strike pipeline syllabus and the Naval Flight Officer strike and strike fighter pipeline syllabi, the T-2 has been replaced by the near-sonic McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk (the U.S. Navy version of the BAE Systems Hawk), which is more comparable to other high-performance, subsonic trainers, or the supersonic U.S. Air Force Northrop T-38 Talon. More recently, the T-2 has been used as a director aircraft for aerial drones. Several T-2 Buckeyes, although still retaining their U.S. Navy markings, are now registered as civilian-owned aircraft with FAA “N” numbers; they regularly appear at air shows.
Jan. 31, 1961: The Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a suborbital test flight. This flight, with Ham the Chimp on board, was the test flight of the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle just prior to the first crewed American space mission in Project Mercury. The capsule and Ham, the first great ape in space, landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean 16 minutes and 39 seconds after launch. Ham’s name is an acronym for the laboratory that prepared him for his historic mission — the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center, located at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. His name was also in honor of the commander of Holloman Aeromedical Laboratory, Lt. Col. Hamilton “Ham” Blackshear.
Beginning in July 1959, the two-year-old chimpanzee was trained under the direction of neuroscientist Joseph V. Brady at Holloman Air Force Base Aero Medical Field Laboratory to do simple, timed tasks in response to electric lights and sounds. During his pre-flight training, Ham was taught to push a lever within five seconds of seeing a flashing blue light; failure to do so resulted in an application of a light electric shock to the soles of his feet, while a correct response earned him a banana pellet. The results from his test flight led directly to the mission Alan Shepard made on May 5, 1961, aboard Freedom 7.
On Jan. 31, 1961, Ham was secured in a Project Mercury mission designated MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight. Ham’s vital signs and tasks were monitored by sensors and computers on Earth. The capsule suffered a partial loss of pressure during the flight, but Ham’s space suit prevented him from suffering any harm.? Ham’s lever-pushing performance in space was only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks could be performed in space.? Following splashdown, Ham and the capsule were recovered by the USS Donner.? His only physical injury was a bruised nose.
On April 5, 1963, Ham was transferred to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. where he lived for 17 years before joining a small group of chimps at North Carolina Zoo on Sept. 25, 1980. Ham died on Jan. 19, 1983.
Jan. 31, 1964: Concurrent systems evaluation and performance tests began on the YAT-37D. The aircraft was a T-37B modified for the ground attack role. According to the Edwards History Office, tests revealed that the light twin-jet aircraft would possess a short turnaround time and be relatively easy to maintain in combat but would have a small radius of action.
Jan. 31, 1971: AT 4:03 a.m., EST, Apollo 14 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Mission commander was Capt. Alan Shepard, command module pilot was Col. Stuart Roosa, and the lunar module pilot was Capt. Edgar Mitchell. This was the eighth manned mission for the Apollo program, and the third to land on the surface of the Moon. Shepard had already flown into space as part of Mercury program, flying on Freedom 7 on May 5, 1916. This was the first and only space flight from Roosa and Mitchell.
Jan. 31, 1977: The first Space Shuttle orbiter, Enterprise, arrived at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. As many in the Antelope Valley witnessed, it was conveyed at three-mph from Rockwell International’s assembly facility in Palmdale aboard a 90-wheel transporter. The unpowered version of the Shuttle was housed at Dryden Flight Research Center in preparation for a series of ground, captive- and free-flight tests prior to the space launch program.
Feb. 1, 1911: Burgess and Curtiss becomes the U.S.’s first licensed aircraft manufacturer, receiving a license to build Wright aircraft from the Wright Brothers, who held several key aeronautical patents. The business was incorporated in 1910 as the “Burgess Company and Curtis, Inc.” The company was an offshoot of the W. Starling Burgess Shipyard, of Marblehead, Mass.
the company received a license to build Wright aircraft from the Wright Brothers, who held several key aeronautical patents. Burgess was charged licensing fees of $1,000 per aircraft and $100 per exhibition flight. In 1912 Burgess fitted some of its Wright Model F airplanes with pontoons, contrary to the Wright Company’s licensing provisions, which permitted only exact copies of their designs. The license agreement was terminated by mutual consent in January 1914.
In the same month, the organization became the Burgess Company, a name change to avoid confusion with the Curtiss Aeroplane and Engine Company. The Burgess Company was acquired on Feb. 10, 1914 by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. The Burgess Company then operated as a manufacturing subsidiary producing Curtiss’s naval training aircraft in late 1916 and continued to produce these aircraft under the Burgess name during World War I until its main production facility was destroyed by fire on Nov. 8, 1918. The company provided seaplanes and other aircraft to the military.
Feb. 1, 1933: The Boeing XF6 B made its first flight. The aircraft was Boeing’s last biplane design for the U.S. Navy. Only the one prototype, Model 236, was ever built; although first flying in early 1933, it rammed into a crash barrier in 1936 and the design was not pursued further.
Ordered by the U.S. Navy in June 1931, the fighter aircraft was a derivative of the Boeing F4B; it was almost entirely of metal construction, with only the wings still fabric covered. The intended role of this design turned out to be uncertain. While its rugged construction was capable of withstanding high g-forces, it weighed in at 3,704 pounds (700 pounds more than the F4B) and did not have the maneuverability needed in a fighter aircraft. It was, however, suitable as a fighter-bomber, and in March 1934 the prototype was redesignated XBFB-1 in recognition of its qualities. Even so, various ideas were tried to improve its fighter qualifications, such as an improved engine cowling, streamlining around the landing gear, and even a three-bladed propeller (two-bladed props being standard). Performance of the Boeing XF6B remained unsatisfactory with the U.S. Navy instead opting for the Curtiss F11C Goshawk.
Feb. 1, 1943: During World War II, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese Americans, was authorized. Beginning in 1944, the regiment fought primarily in the European Theater, in particular Italy, southern France, and Germany. The 442nd Regiment is the most decorated unit for its size in U.S. military history. The unit earned more than 18,000 awards in less than two years, including more than 4,000 Purple Hearts and 4,000 Bronze Star Medals. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (five earned in one month). Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor.
Feb. 1, 1950: Eight Grumman F9F “Panthers” land on the USS Valley Forge to complete the first aircraft carrier night landing trials by jets.
Feb. 1, 1956: The first rocket sled run was made at the High Speed Track to test the effects of supersonic rain erosion on missile radomes and various radome materials. Test items in the series included domes for the F-102, and the Falcon and Bomarc missiles.
Feb. 1, 1975: Air Force Maj. Roger J. Smith, a test pilot with the F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, Calif., flew the McDonnell Douglas F-15A-6-MC (tail number) 72-0119, Streak Eagle, to its eighth Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and U.S. National Aeronautic Association time-to-altitude record. From brake release at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., at 913 feet above sea level, the F-15 reached 98,425 feet in 3 minutes, 27.799 seconds. This was the eighth time-to-altitude record set by Streak Eagle in 17 days.
Feb. 1, 2001: The NEAR-Shoemaker was the first spacecraft specifically designed to study an asteroid. In this case, the asteroid was Eros, the closest asteroid to Earth. As NEAR descended onto Eros, it sent back dozens of high-resolution pictures. Even though NEAR was not designed to land on an asteroid, NASA decided to do so. It touched down and sent back data, until its final signal on Feb. 28, 2001.
Feb. 1, 2003: The Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed on reentry, killing all seven astronauts on board. Columbia launched Jan. 16, 2003, for mission STS-107. During launch, Columbia’s 28th mission, a piece of the spray-applied polyurethane foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the reinforced carbon leading edge of the orbiter’s left wing. Similar foam shedding had occurred during previous shuttle launches, causing damage that ranged from minor to nearly catastrophic, but some engineers suspected that the damage to Columbia was more serious.
Before reentry, NASA managers had limited the investigation, reasoning that the crew could not have fixed the problem if it had been confirmed. When Columbia reentered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate the heat shield and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and break apart. After the disaster, Space Shuttle flight operations were suspended for more than two years, as they had been after the Challenger disaster. Construction of the International Space Station was put on hold; the station relied entirely on the Russian Roscosmos State Space Corporation for resupply for 29 months until Shuttle flights resumed with STS-114 and for crew rotation for 41 months until STS-121.
NASA ultimately made several technical and organizational changes, including adding a thorough on-orbit inspection to determine how well the shuttle’s thermal protection system (TPS) had endured the ascent, and keeping a designated rescue mission ready in case irreparable damage was found. Except for one final mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, subsequent shuttle missions were flown only to the ISS so that the crew could use it as a haven if damage to the orbiter prevented safe reentry.
The astronauts on board were: Commander: Rick D. Husband, a U.S. Air Force colonel and mechanical engineer, who piloted a previous shuttle during the first docking with the International Space Station (STS-96); Pilot William C. McCool, a U.S. Navy commander; payload commander Michael P. Anderson, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, physicist, and mission specialist who was in charge of the science mission and was on his second mission altogether (his first being STS-89); Payload specialist Ilan Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force and the first Israeli astronaut; Mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, aerospace engineer who was on her second space mission (her first being STS-87); Mission specialist David M. Brown, a U.S. Navy captain trained as an aviator and flight surgeon, worked on scientific experiments; and Mission specialist Laurel Blair Salton Clark, a U.S. Navy captain and flight surgeon worked on biological experiments.
Feb. 2, 1944: The Republic XP-72, an American prototype interceptor fighter developed as a progression of the P-47 Thunderbolt design, made its first flight. The XP-72 was designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial engine with a supercharger mounted behind the pilot and driven by an extension shaft from the engine. The armament consisted of six 50 caliber wing-mounted machine guns and underwing racks for two 1,000-pound bombs.
The XP-72 development paralleled that of another Republic design, the XP-69 that was to be powered by an experimental 42-cylinder Wright R-2160 liquid-cooled inline radial engine mounted in the nose of the aircraft and driving contra-rotating propellers. The XP-69 was intended for high altitude operations and featured a pressurized cockpit and armament of two 37 mm cannon and four 50 caliber machine guns. As the XP-72 displayed greater promise than the XP-69, the XP-69 was cancelled on 11 May 1943 and an order for two XP-72 prototypes was placed on June 18, June 1943. As the XP-72 displayed exceptional performance during flight tests, an order for 100 production aircraft was awarded. The order included an alternate armament configuration of four 37 mm cannon. By this time, World War II had progressed to where the need was for long-range escort fighters and not high-speed interceptors. Furthermore, the advent of the new turbojet-powered interceptors showed greater promise for the interceptor role. Thus, the production order for the P-72 was cancelled.
Feb. 2, 1974: The YF-16 made its official first flight at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with General Dynamics test pilot Phil Oestricher in the cockpit. The aircraft flew for 90 minutes at 30,000 feet and at a speed of 460 mph. The aircraft’s unofficial first flight occurred on Jan. 20, 1974, however. Oestricher was scheduled to undertake a high-speed taxi test of the YF-16. At the time, the fly-by-wire technology used in the cockpit was brand new. During the taxi test, Oestricher made what he thought were small control-stick inputs to the new system. However, his handling of the controls was more than anticipated. Struggling to bring the aircraft under control, to avoid a crash he decided it was safer to just lift off and regain control of the aircraft in the air. This decision resulted in a go-round flight, and safe landing. In this video, Oestricher discusses his memorable first flight.
Feb. 2, 2001: The prototype General Atomics RQ-1 Predator B, later redesignated MQ-9 Reaper, made its first flight. The aircraft is an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems primarily for the U.S. Air Force. The MQ-9 and other UAVs are referred to as Remotely Piloted Vehicles/Aircraft by the Air Force to indicate their human ground controllers. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. In 2006, the then-Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley said, “We’ve moved from using UAVs primarily in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance roles before Operation Iraqi Freedom, to a true hunter-killer role with the Reaper.”As of May 2021, the U.S. Air Force operated more than 300 Reapers.
In November 2006, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center obtained an MQ-9 (and mobile ground control station), named Ikhana, for the Suborbital Science Program within the Science Mission Directorate. In 2007, Ikhana was used to survey the Southern California wildfires, supporting firefighter deployments based upon the highest need. The California Office of Emergency Services requested NASA support for the Esperanza Fire, and the General Atomics Altair was launched less than 24 hours later on a 16-hour mission to map the fire’s perimeter. The fire mapping research is a joint project with NASA and the U.S. Forest Service. In this photograph, Ikhana flies a research mission over Southern California.
Feb. 3, 1928: The Boeing F3B made its first flight. Designed by the company as its Model 74, the plane was an incremental improvement over the F2B. The Navy-designated prototype XF3B-1 still had the tapered wings of the F2B for instance but was built as a single-float seaplane using the FB-5 undercarriage. However, the growing use of aircraft carriers took away most of the need for floating fighters, and by the time other test results had been considered, the production F3B-1 (Model 77) had a larger upper wing that was slightly swept back and a redesigned tail with surfaces made from corrugated aluminum. It also eliminated the spreader bar arrangement of the undercarriage and revised the vertical tail shape. Following its first flight, Boeing was awarded a contract for 73 more aircraft. F3Bs served as fighter-bombers for some four years with the squadrons VF-2B aboard USS Langley, VB-2B aboard USS Saratoga (later VF-6B), and VB-1B on USS Lexington. The aircraft remained in first-line service to 1932 and were then retained as “hacks” (command and staff transports) for several more years.
Feb. 3, 1943: Robert Chilton, a North American Aviation test pilot, made the first flight of the first production P-15A Mustang. The aircraft was one of 1,200 the U.S. Army Air Corps had ordered on June 23, 1942. Following the introduction of the Merlin-powered P-51B, the number of P-51As ordered was reduced to 310. The Mustang had been designed and built by North American Aviation, Inc., as a fighter for the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. Two Mustang Mark I airplanes, the fourth and the 10th from the RAF production line, had been given to the U.S. Army Air Corps for evaluation and designated XP-51, serial numbers 41-038 and 41-039. Prior to this, the Air Corps had ordered 150 P-51 fighters, but these were Mustang Mark I models to be turned over to England under Lend-Lease.
Feb. 3, 1964: The Federal Aviation Agency launched Operation Bongo Mark 2 to investigate the effects of supersonic flight. For six months, the city was subjected to eight booms per day, starting at 7 a.m. The Air Force used F-104 fighter and B-58 bomber aircraft to produce the booms, along with the occasional F-101 and F-106.
Oklahoma City’s population was perceived to be relatively tolerant of such an experiment, as it had an economic dependency on the nearby Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center and Tinker Air Force Base; and, in fact, the local Chamber of Commerce threw a celebratory dinner when Oklahoma was selected. Despite this the testing was stopped early, in the wake of damage complaints. Although the final report said that “the overwhelming majority felt they could learn to live with the numbers and kinds of booms experienced, there were 9,594 complaints of damage to buildings, 4,629 formal damage claims, and 229 claims for a total of $12,845.32, mostly for broken glass and cracked plaster. The FAA rejected 94 percent of all the claims it received, fueling a rising tide of anger that soared even after the experiment’s conclusion.
Feb. 3, 1994: The space shuttle Discovery lifted off, carrying Sergei Krikalev, the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a U.S. spacecraft. The mission, STS-60, carried the Wake Shield Facility experiment and a SPACEHAB module into orbit, and carried out a live bi-directional audio and downlink link-up with the cosmonauts aboard the Russian space station Mir. Krikalev later flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-88), Dec. 4-15, 1998, which was the first International Space Station assembly mission. He was also a member of the Expedition 1 crew, the first crew on the ISS, and was commander of Expedition 11 in 2005.
Feb. 3, 1995: Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off on the second mission of the U.S. Russian Shuttle-Mir Program. This was the first shuttle flight to be piloted by a woman — Eileen M. Collins. In recognition of her achievement as the first female Shuttle Pilot, she received the Harmon Trophy. Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 11, 1995.