December 28, 1942 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Northwind, which would have an eventful career under various names and in the service of different nations as well as military branches, was launched just after noontime at Western Pipe & Steel Corporation’s shipyard in the Los Angeles community of San Pedro. Mrs. R.B. Lank, the... Continue Reading →

December 27, 1956 The Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT), the national railway of Tunisia, was established. The railway’s founding took place just over nine months after Tunisia achieved its independence from France. Railways have long been a key means of transportation in Africa’s northernmost country. Muhammad III as-Sadiq, who ruled Tunisia from... Continue Reading →

December 26, 1960 Airplane designer and builder Giuseppe Mario Bellanca died in New York City at the age of 74. Bellanca had been born on the island of Sicily in southern Italy in 1886. As a young man, he became enthralled with the possibilities of human flight. This enthusiasm led him in 1909 to help create... Continue Reading →

December 21, 1968 Apollo 8, the second human spaceflight mission of the Apollo program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:51 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The members of this mission’s crew were U.S. Air Force (USAF) Colonel Frank Borman, U.S. Navy... Continue Reading →

December 20, 1870 In what turned out to be a day-long celebration, a station for the Wallkill Valley Railroad in upstate New York was formally opened in the village of New Paltz in Ulster County (just south of the Catskill Mountains and on the western side of the Hudson River). The New Paltz station’s features included... Continue Reading →

December 19, 1983 The Irish Naval Service vessel  LĖ Eithne (P31) was launched at Verolme Cork Dockyard at Great Island in Ireland’s Cork Harbour. The prefix “LĖ” stands for “Long Ėiereannach,” which means “Irish ship” in the Irish language, a.k.a., Gaelic; “Eithne” refers to an Irish mythology character whose father was a one-eyed supernatural king... Continue Reading →

December 18, 1962 In Seattle, the Ship Canal Bridge carrying Interstate 5 over Portage Bay between the city’s Capitol Hill and University District communities was opened. The bridge was named after the Lake Washington Ship Canal and serves as one of the crossings for that waterway. At the time of its opening, the giant double-deck steel truss... Continue Reading →

December 17, 1903 It was the dawn of a new era. Orville and Wilbur Wright made transportation history near the North Carolina town of Kill Devil Hills (about four miles, or6.4 kilometers, south of the better-known town of Kitty Hawk) by bringing about the world’s first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.  The brothers each... Continue Reading →

December 14, 1986 The Rutan Model 76 Voyager, the first aircraft to circle around Earth without stopping or refueling, embarked on its historic flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California in the Mojave Desert. This westerly flight of 26,366 statute miles (42,432 kilometers) would end with great success nine days, three minutes, and 44... Continue Reading →

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