In 2018, Pooja Joshin Jesrani became the first woman of South Asian descent to serve as a flight director at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s flight directors are responsible for managing operations for various human spaceflight initiatives. Jesrani’s own role in this regard has involved overseeing the ground team for the International... Continue Reading →

April 5, 1899 A bridge near the community of Clifden in the southernmost part of New Zealand’s South Island made its debut. (At the time, New Zealand was a British colony; it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907 and achieved full autonomy in 1947.) The Clifden Suspension Bridge, which is 365.8 feet... Continue Reading →

March 18, 1834 The first railway tunnel in the United States made its formal debut in west-central Pennsylvania as part of the infrastructure for the Allegheny Portage Railroad. The Staple Bend Tunnel was specifically built between the borough of Conemaugh (the present-day city of Johnstown) and the settlement (now borough) of Hollidaysburg. At the time of... Continue Reading →

January 27, 1861 Ralph Modjeski, a civil engineer who achieved acclaim for his wide range of bridge design and construction projects, was born in the town of Bochnia in the Austrian Empire (in what is now Poland). Modjeski immigrated to the United States in 1878. He became an American citizen five years later. Modjeski’s first major... Continue Reading →

January 25, 2009 The pioneering Northern Gateway Toll Road in the Auckland Region of New Zealand’s North Island was opened to traffic. The route, which encompasses 4.4 miles (seven kilometers) between the town of Orewa and the settlement of Puhoi, is a segment of the Auckland Northern Motorway. This motorway, now measuring 24 miles (38... Continue Reading →

January 11, 1815 David Stevenson, who would achieve widespread renown as a civil engineer and lighthouse designer, was born in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. By the time of his birth, his father Robert Stevenson (1772-1850) had begun to establish himself as a notable designer of lighthouses within Scotland. (This country officially became part of... Continue Reading →

December 27, 1773 George Cayley, an engineer and one of the key figures in aviation history, was born in the seaside town of Scarborough in England. He painstakingly observed and took notes on birds and how they were able to fly, and created the first successful glider able to carry humans.   Cayley, first and foremost, helped... Continue Reading →

November 8, 1881 Aviation pioneer and spaceflight theorist Robert Esnault-Pelterie was born in Paris, France. With a strong background in engineering, he made major contributions to the origins of heavier-than-air flight in Europe during the first decade of the 20th century. In 1903, Esnault-Pelterie invented the aileron -- a movable airfoil that could be installed at the... Continue Reading →

A member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe, Aaron Yazzie was born in 1986 in Tuba City, Arizona. This town is part of the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory covering about 27,413 square miles (70,999.3 square kilometers) altogether in sections of northeastern Arizona; southeastern Utah; and northwestern New Mexico. Yazzie grew up in the city... Continue Reading →

In the time since she began working for Lockheed Martin Corporation as a senior systems engineer in 2006, Vanessa Aponte Williams has been significantly involved in that company’s initiatives on behalf of human spaceflight. As Lockheed Martin’s senior manager for ascent element mission operations, for example, she oversees the development of integrated systems to help... Continue Reading →

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