1991 – The U.S. Galileo spacecraft became the first to visit an asteroid (Gaspra).

Asteroid 951 Gaspra, image taken by the Galileo spacecraft, October 29, 1991.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Galileo became the first spacecraft ever to encounter an asteroid when it passed Gaspra on October 29, 1991. It flew within just 1,601 kilometers (1,000 miles) of the stony asteroid’s center at a relative speed of about 8 kilometers per second (18,000 miles per hour).

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image: Britannica

Oct 29, 1777: Hancock resigns as president of Congress

by “The Charbor Chronicles”

October 2013

John Hancock resigns his position as president of the Continental Congress, due to a prolonged illness, on this day in 1777. Hancock was the first member of the Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence and is perhaps best known for his bold signature on the ground-breaking document.

First elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 as a delegate from Massachusetts, Hancock became its president upon the resignation of Peyton Randolph in May 1775. During his tenure as president, Hancock presided over some of the most historic moments of the American Revolution, culminating in the signing of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.

After resigning his position as president, Hancock returned to his home state of Massachusetts, where he continued his work in public service. After helping to establish the state’s first constitution, Hancock was elected first governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1780 and served for five years. He declined to run for reelection in 1785, but returned after a two-year absence and was elected governor for a second time in 1787. He held the position until his death in 1793.

Hancock will forever be remembered for his bold and defiant signature on the Declaration of Independence, but “bold” and “defiant” could also describe the way he lived. The wealthiest colonist in New England, Hancock risked losing everything he had for the cause of American independence. Nothing better exemplifies Hancock’s defiance than the first words he spoke after signing the Declaration of Independence. In response to the bounty the British had placed on the heads of prominent revolutionary leaders, Hancock replied, “The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward.”

1998 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off with John Glenn on board. Glenn was 77 years old. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Oct. 29, 1998 – John Glenn Returns to Space
On October 29, 1998, the first American to orbit the Earth made history again. John Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space by serving as a payload specialist on STS-95 aboard the space shuttle

Portrait of STS-95 Payload Specialist Glenn wearing the orange partial-pressure launch and entry suit.
Credits: NASA

The nine-day mission supported a variety of research, including the deployment of the Spartan Solar Observing Spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope orbital systems test platform and several microgravity experiments from NASA Glenn (then Lewis).

Glenn spent most of his time in space participating in investigations on the aging process. Scientists recognize several parallels between the effects of spaceflight on the human body and the natural changes that take place as a person ages. Glenn’s experiments were designed to test how his body responded to the microgravity environment. They focused on balance, perception, immune system response, bone and muscle density, metabolism, blood flow and sleep.
Joining Glenn on the shuttle were Mission Commander Curt Brown, Pilot Steve Lindsey, Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski, Steve Robinson and European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque, and payload specialist Chiaki Mukai from the Japanese Space Agency.

The flight aboard the shuttle was quite different from Glenn’s first mission. It lasted nine days and orbited the Earth 134 times, traveling a distance of 3.6 million miles in 213 hours and 44 minutes. The landing was also different. The shuttle Discovery eased through re-entry at a mere 3 Gs, half of what he experienced aboard Friendship 7.

The mission concluded with a safe landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


Compare STS-95 to Mercury Friendship 7
NASA’s John Glenn – A Journey