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July 24

1954 American engineer James H. Trexler first transmitted the sound of a human voice beyond the ionosphere and back to Earth after reflecting off the moon. This “Communication Moon Relay” was designed to develop a secure and reliable method of wireless communication by using the Moon as a natural communications satellite.

1950 The first successful rocket launch from Cape Canaveral took place. “Bumper” No. 8 was a captured German V-2 rocket with the payload replaced by another rocket, the 700-pound Army-JPL Wac Corporal.

1847 Richard M. Hoe of New York City patented the rotary type printing press. He created a revolution in printing by rolling a cylinder over stationary plates of inked type and using the cylinder to make an impression on paper. This eliminated the need for making impressions directly from the type plates themselves, which were heavy and difficult to maneuver.

1844 American mechanical engineer Henry Rossiter Worthington patented the independent single direct-acting steam power pump, an invention which laid the foundation of the entire pump industry. This invention solved the major steam-engine problem of supplying water to the boiler – even when the engine was shut down – and replaced hand-pumping to keep the boiler filled.

July 23

1995 Comet Hale-Bopp (formally designated C/1995 O1) was discovered by two independent observers, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, both in the United States.

1972 The United States launched Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. In 1976, the spacecraft would discover a tiny uninhabited island 20 kilometers off the eastern coast of Canada, which was later named Landsat island. It is still the only island to be discovered by satellite.

1956 The American Bell X-2 rocket plane, piloted by Lt. Col. Frank K. “Pete” Everest, set a world aircraft speed record of 3,050 kph. The X-2 was a swept-wing, rocket-powered research aircraft used to investigate the problems of aerodynamic heating, stability, and control effectiveness at high speeds and altitudes, specifically in the range of Mach 2-3.

1906 Croatian chemist Vladimir Prelog was born in Sarajevo. He was awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his works in the field of natural compounds and stereochemistry, sharing it with the Australian/British research chemist John Cornforth.

1903 The Ford Motor Company sold its first automobile, the Ford Model A, to Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois.

1829 American inventor, legislator, surveyor, and millwright William Austin Burt received a patent for his typographer, a forerunner of the typewriter.

1777 German painter Philipp Otto Runge was born in Wolgast, in Western Pomerania. He is considered among the best of the German Romantic painters.

July 22

1952 American Frank L. Zybach was issued a U.S. patent for a “Self-Propelled Sprinkling Irrigating Apparatus” (Patent No. 2,604,359).

1933 American pilot Wiley Post completed the first round-the-world solo flight (15,596 miles) in his single-engine Lockheed Vega 5B aircraft “Winnie Mae,” in 7 days 18hr 49min.

1894 Frenchman Marquis Jules Félix Philippe Albert de Dion won the first ever motorized racing event, held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen.

1793 Scottish-Canadian explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first man to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.

1713 French architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot was born in Irancy. He was influential in introducing Neoclassical architecture to Europe, exemplified by his most famous work, The Panthéon in Paris.

1456 The Siege of Belgrade came to an end. The Ottoman sultan Mehmed II was attempting to subjugate the Kingdom of Hungary, and began by besieging the fort of Belgrade. John Hunyadi, a Hungarian nobleman and warlord, led the defense of the city from July 4 through July 22, when he led a sudden counterattack that overran the Ottoman camp, ultimately compelling the wounded Sultan Mehmed II to lift the siege and retreat.

July 21

1961 The Mercury-Redstone 4 spacecraft was launched as part of NASA’s Mercury manned space mission. Its spacecraft was named Liberty Bell 7 and it performed a suborbital flight piloted by astronaut Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, who became the 2nd American to go into space (in a suborbital mission).

1955 Scottish physician Ian Donald made his first investigation of the use of ultrasound in medical diagnosis. At the research department of the boiler makers Babock and Wilcox at Renfrew, Scotland, he used an industrial ultrasonic metal flaw detector to image tumours from human organs.

1914 Sinope, a retrograde irregular satellite of Jupiter, was discovered by American astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson at Lick Observatory in California.

1904 Canadian nuclear physicist Harriet Brooks published a letter in the journal Nature describing nuclear transmutations and radioactivity. Hers were the first observations of the recoil of the atomic nucleus as nuclear particles were emitted during radioactive decay.

1620 French astronomer Jean Picard was born in La Flèche, in north-western France. He was the first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy in a survey conducted in 1669–70. His measurements turned out to be off by only 0.44%. He also made many advances and improvements in the tools used by astronomers (sextants, quadrants) to measure the size and angles of the earth and other celestial bodies. There is a lunar crater named after Picard, on the northwest quadrant of Mare Crisium.

July 20

1976 NASA’s Viking I spacecraft made the first-ever landing on Mars at Chryse Planitia, and began transmitting pictures.

1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon, during the Apollo 11 space mission.

1969 Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx won his first Tour de France. He would go on to win a total of 5 Tours, and to this day is considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all time.

1822 Czech-German scientist Gregor Mendel was born in Heinzendorf bei Odrau, in what is now the Czech Republic. He gained posthumous fame as the figurehead of the new science of genetics for his study of the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants. Mendel showed that the inheritance of these traits follows particular laws, which were later named after him. The significance of Mendel’s work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century. The independent rediscovery of these laws formed the foundation of the modern science of genetics.

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