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This Week in Tech History: First US Astronauts

NASA gives rise to a whole new profession, A major player in the tech industry is formed and Apple releases a brand new device… It all happened This Week in Tech History.

1959 – NASA announced the selection of the United States’ first seven astronauts, whom the news media quickly dub the “Mercury Seven”. The Mercury Seven created a new profession in the US, and established the image of the American astronaut for decades to come.

1965 – Intelsat 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, FL. This was the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit . The satellite was nicknamed “Early Bird” after the adage “The early bird catches the worm.”

1975 – Childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen decided to form a business using their skills in computer programming. And so Microsoft was born. Paul Allen suggested the name “Micro-Soft”, short for micro-computer software.

1981 – The Osborne 1, the first successful portable computer, is unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It had no on-board battery and was powered by an AC plug. But it was still considered “portable” since it could be carried around when packed.

1994 – Mosaic Communications Corporation, later Netscape, was founded in Mountain View, California. Its Netscape web browser was once dominant but lost to Internet Explorer and other competitors after the so-called first browser war, its market share falling from more than 90 percent in the mid-1990s to less than 1 percent in 2006.

And this week in 2010 – Apple Inc. released the first generation iPad, which quickly became to most popular tablet computer.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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