1. 1938: The RMS Queen Elizabeth launched
It was on this date in 1938 that the RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched. Named after Queen Elizabeth, who was the Queen Consort to King George VI at the time, it was a designed after the legendary Queen Mary with a few extra improvements. One of the changes was its size, which at 1,031 feet long made it the largest passenger liner for a total of 56 year,s as well as being the largest riveted ship by gross tonnage. Point being, this thing was massive. It was used for its intended purpose of an ocean liner until October of 1946 because prior to that was used as a troopship in WWII. It would eventually be replaced by Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969 because it was smaller and more economical to operate. The original Queen Elizabeth was sold to a few different buyers before falling into the hands of a Hong Kong businessman who had plans to refurbish the massive ship and turn it into a floating university. However, in 1972 while under construction, it mysteriously caught fire and the water used to put out the fire actually capsized the ship. The following year she was deemed a loss and was scrapped where she lay.
2. 2008: First Chinese space walk
During the Shenzhou 7 mission, Zhai Zhigang became the first Chinese citizen to “spacewalk” on this date in 2008. This essentially just refers to an astronaut leaving the aircraft while using a spacesuit, not the fancy moonwalk dance made popular by Michael Jackson. Zhai was the commander of the three-man crew on the Shenzhou 7 mission, which was the third manned space mission for the Chinese. According to reports, he remained outside the craft for about 13 minutes before returning to the re-entry module. The specially made suit Zhai was wearing reportedly cost in excess of $3 million and consisted of 10 layers and weighed over 250 lbs. It apparently took all three men 15 hours to put together.
3. 2004: Richard Branson signed deal for Virgin Galactic
It was on this date in 2004 that wild-man billionaire Richard Branson signed a deal that would allow him to offer the first commercial flights to space. Known as Virgin Galactic, it consisted of a spaceship that would take groups of five up into space and give them about 5 minutes worth of weightlessness before starting the re-entry back towards terra firma. Each seat was said to cost over $200,000, and the idea immediately became popular with Hollywoods rich and famous. According to some reports Branson sunk around $100 million into the project, and as of this writing there has yet to be any commercial flight sent into space. Although they are reported to be closer than ever with a new vessel that should allow them to achieve what was once thought to be unachievable.