1736 – Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, French physicist and engineer is born.
Charles-Augustin de Coulomb was a French physicist. He was best known for developing Coulomb’s law, the definition of the electrostatic force of attraction and repulsion, but also did important work on friction. The SI unit of electric charge, the coulomb, was named after him.
1777 – The Stars and Stripes is adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. While scholars still argue about this, tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment.
1811 – Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author and activist is born.
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. She came from a famous religious family and is best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). It depicts the harsh life for African Americans under slavery. It reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and Great Britain. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential for both her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.
1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.
On 14 June 1822, Charles Babbage proposed the use of such a machine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society, entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”. This machine used the decimal number system and was powered by cranking a handle. The British government was interested, since producing tables was time-consuming and expensive and they hoped the difference engine would make the task more economical.
1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, rides a V-2 rocket to an altitude of 134 km (83 mi), thereby becoming the first monkey in space.
Before humans went into space, several animals were launched into space, including numerous non-human primates, so that scientists could investigate the biological effects of space travel. The United States launched flights containing primate cargo primarily between 1948-1961 with one flight in 1969 and one in 1985. France launched two monkey-carrying flights in 1967. The Soviet Union and Russia launched monkeys between 1983 and 1996. Most primates were anesthetized before lift-off. Overall thirty-two monkeys flew in the space program; none flew more than once. Numerous back-up monkeys also went through the programs but never flew. Monkeys and apes from several species were used, including rhesus monkeys, cynomolgus monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pig-tailed macaques, and chimpanzees.
The first ever primate astronaut was Albert, a rhesus monkey, who on June 11, 1948, rode to over 63 km (39 mi) on a V2 rocket. Albert died of suffocation during the flight.
1951 – UNIVAC I is dedicated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was started by their company, Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand (which later became part of Sperry, now Unisys). In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as “the UNIVAC”.
The first Univac was accepted by the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951, and was dedicated on June 14 that year. The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 presidential election. With a sample of just 1% of the voting population it famously predicted an Eisenhower landslide while the conventional wisdom favored Stevenson.
1962 – The European Space Research Organisation is established in Paris – later becoming the European Space Agency.
The European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) was an international organisation founded by 10 European nations with the intention of jointly pursuing scientific research in space. It was founded in 1964. As an organisation ESRO was based on a previously existing international scientific institution, CERN. The ESRO convention, the organisations founding document outlines it as an entity exclusively devoted to scientific pursuits. This was the case for most of its lifetime but in the final years before the formation of ESA, the European Space Agency, ESRO began a programme in the field of telecommunications. Consequently, ESA is not a mainly pure science focused entity but concentrates on telecommunications, earth observation and other application motivated activities. ESRO was merged with ELDO in 1975 to form the European Space Agency.
1967 – Mariner program: Mariner 5 is launched towards Venus.
Mariner 5 (Mariner Venus 1967) was a spacecraft of the Mariner program that carried a complement of experiments to probe Venus’ atmosphere by radio occultation, measure the hydrogen Lyman-alpha (hard ultraviolet) spectrum, and sample the solar particles and magnetic field fluctuations above the planet. Its goals were to measure interplanetary and Venusian magnetic fields, charged particles, plasma, radio refractivity and UV emissions of the Venusian atmosphere.
Mariner 5 was actually built as a backup to Mariner 4, but after the success of the Mariner 4 mission, it was modified for the Venus mission by removing the TV camera, reversing and reducing the four solar panels, and adding extra thermal insulation.
Liftoff took place on June 14, 1967 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 12 on Atlas vehicle 5401. Booster performance was normal through the Atlas portion of the launch and the first Agena burn, with all systems operating at the proper level. During the second Agena burn, abnormal fluctuations in the engine chamber pressure occurred, however they did not preclude successful interplanetary injection. There had been several occurrences of this behavior on previous NASA and Air Force launches and a program was initiated to correct it which led to a redesign of the Agena turbopump gearbox. Mariner 5 flew by Venus on October 19 that year at an altitude of 3,990 kilometers (2,480 mi). With more sensitive instruments than its predecessor Mariner 2, Mariner 5 was able to shed new light on the hot, cloud-covered planet and on conditions in interplanetary space.
Radio occultation data from Mariner 5 helped to understand the temperature and pressure data returned by the Venera 4 lander, which arrived at Venus shortly before it. After these missions, it was clear that Venus had a very hot surface and an atmosphere even denser than expected.
The operations of Mariner 5 ended in November 1967 and it is now defunct in a heliocentric orbit.
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