Aviation in 1959
The Soviet Union launches a scientific probe named Luna I,
intended to impact on the Moon's surface but it misses and
enters a solar orbit.
Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens die when a
single-engined Beechcraft Bonanza crashes near Mason City
A United States weather balloon climbs to a record height of
44,500 metres (146,000 feet)
The United States Air Force (USAF) withdraws its last
operational Convair B36 bomber from service.
The United States Navy (USN) launches the weather-reporting
Vanguard II satellite into Earth orbit.
States Pioneer 4 space probe is launched in an attempt to
obtain pictures of the Moon's surface, while making a
fly-past of about 32,200 kilometres (20,000 miles).
It is announced in the United States that seven pilots have
been selected from the nation's armed services for training
as space vehicle pilots.
The United States Hound Dog thermonuclear stand-off missile
makes a successful first flight after launching from a Boeing
B52D Stratofortress bomber.
Cathay Pacific begins service with its first Lockheed
Two monkeys, Able and Baker are recovered unharmed after a
483 kilometre (300 mile) flight in a compartment in the nose
cone of a Jupiter rocket.
American satellite Discovery 3 is launched carrying four
A new lightplane distance record of 12,365 kilometres (7,683
miles) is set by Max Conrad in his Piper Comanche, with a
non-stop flight from Casablanca to New York.
A submarine armed with Polaris ballistic missiles, the USS
George Washington, is launched at Groton in Connecticut.
A new world altitude record of 28,852 metres (94,659 feet) is
set by Major V. Ilyushin flying the Sukhoi T431.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA)
Explorer 6 is launched into Earth orbit and returns the first
television pictures of the Earth as seen from space.
flyer Jacqueline Auriol piloting a Mirage III becomes the
first woman to attain the speed of Mach 2.
An unmanned United States scientific balloon records an
altitude of 45,720 kilometres (150,000 feet).
NASA's test version of the mercury astronaut capsule is
recovered successfully from the Caribbean Sea.
The Soviet Union's Luna 2 space probe is launched. and
becomes the first man-made object to impact on the Moon.
The Douglas DC8 Srs10 enters United States domestic service.
The Soviet Luna 3 space probe launched and becomes the first
to photograph the Moon's hidden surface.
The Spanish airline Spantax Air Taxis is formed.
Pan American Boeing 707-321 Clipper Windward inaugurates the
first round the world passenger service by turbojet-powered
Flying a Mikoyan Type Ye66 Colonel G. Mosolov establishes a
new world speed record of 2,681kph (1,665mph).
Captain Joseph W. Kittinger Jr makes a balloon ascent,
gaining an altitude of 23,285 metres (76,400 feet) in an open
gondola. He parachutes to the ground, recording a free-fall
of 19,505 metres (64,000 feet)
A twelve nation treaty establishes Antarctica as an area of
the world only accessible for peaceful purposes.
The Mercury capsule escape system is tested by the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), launched with a
Rhesus monkey aboard which is recovered alive and unharmed.
A new world altitude record of 30,040 metres (98,556 feet) is
established by Commander L. Flint flying a McDonnell F-4
A Kaman H43B rescue helicopter sets a new helicopter altitude
record of 9,097 metres (29,846 feet).
The world altitude record is broken again by a Lockheed F104C
Starfighter, flown by Captain J.B. Jordan to a height of
31,513 metres (103,389 feet).
A new world speed record of 2,455kph (1,525mph) is set by
Major J.W. Rogers, flying a Convair F106A Delta Dart.
China Airlines is established.