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This Week in Tech History: First US Astronauts

NASA gives rise to a new profession, the Early Bird heads into space and a tech giant is born… 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.


1964 – IBM announces the System/360 mainframe computer systems. It was the first family of computers designed to cover the complete range of applications, from small to large, both commercial and scientific


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 – Microsoft was founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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.

Written by Chris Graveline

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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