October 7 in history:
Air France was founded on the same date in 1933, when five existing airlines merged into one.
October 7th was the day NASA established Project Mercury in 1958. The goal of the Mercury program was to have a man orbit the earth. That goal was achieved in 1962, when John Glenn flew aboard Friendship 7.
A cruise ship called the Achille Lauro was hijacked by four Palestinian terrorists during a trip on the Mediterranean on October 7th, 1985. About 400 people aboard were held hostage, and an American passenger was shot and killed and pushed overboard in his wheelchair. Two days later, the hijackers released the hostages and surrendered to the Egyptian government, but they were soon arrested after American fighter jets intercepted the plane they were flying to Tunisia.
October 1 in history:
A steamboat called the “New Orleans” reached Louisville, Kentucky on October 1st, 1811, having traveled down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. People in Louisville had never seen a steamboat before, and the vessel was so noisy, stories circulated that the noise was caused by a comet falling into the river.
The U.S. space agency NASA was formed on this date in 1958, almost a full year after the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik satellite.
Disney’s EPCOT theme park, known for displays of futuristic technology, opened in Florida on October 1st, 1982. That was 11 years to the day after Disney World opened in the Orlando area.
On that same day in 1982, Sony introduced its first compact disc player in Japan. The first record album to be released on CD was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street.”
October 1st of ’82 also marked the first weekly episode of “Knight Rider” on NBC, which featured a high-tech talking car named KITT.
September 2 in history:
“The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” expanded from a 15-minute newscast to a 30-minute program on September 2nd, 1963. In honor of the occasion, much of that night’s broadcast featured a Cronkite interview with President John F. Kennedy. Oddly enough, despite Kennedy’s support of NASA and Cronkite’s reputation for covering space flights, the topic of space exploration did not come up during the on-air interview.
On this date in 1970, NASA cancelled its original plans for the Apollo 15 and 19 moon flights, in a budget-cutting measure. The Apollo 19 flight was never re-scheduled, but a revised Apollo 15 mission took place the following year.
On the TV show “I Dream of Jeannie,” fictional astronauts Tony Nelson and Roger Healey went to the moon on the Apollo 15 mission. The theme song for most episodes of “Jeannie” was written by composer Hugo Montenegro, born on this date in 1925. September 2nd is also the birthday of real-life shuttle astronaut and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe (1948).