This Day In History : August 4

2007 United States

NASA's Phoenix spaceship is launched

NASA's Phoenix spacecraft was launched on August 4, 2007, atop a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Its primary mission was to study the history of water and habitability potential in the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil.

Also on This Day in History August 4

Discover what happened on August 4 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, August 4
  • 1821 Louis Vuitton

    French fashion designer who founded Louis Vuitton

  • 1755 Nicolas-Jacques Conté

    French painter and inventor (modern pencil)

  • 1815 Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich

    German physician (established normal temperature as 37 °C (98.6 °F))

  • 1909 Saunders Mac Lane

    American mathematician (co-founded category theory)

  • 1933 Sheldon Adelson

    American businessman who founded Avis Rent a Car System

Deaths on This Day, August 4
  • 1977 Baron Edgar Douglas Adrian

    English electrophysiologist who is one of the founders of modern neurophysiology

  • 1929 Carl Auer von Welsbach

    Austrian scientist and inventor of the gas mantle and metal filament light bulb

  • 1931 Daniel Hale Williams

    American heart surgeon who performed the 1st open heart surgery

  • 1900 Étienne Lenoir

    Belgian-French inventor who devised the world's first commercially successful internal-combustion engine

  • 1526 Juan Sebastián Elcano

    Spanish explorer and navigator who completed the 1st circumnavigation of the Earth on the Magellan expedition


U.S. President Jimmy Carter establishes the U.S. Department of Energy

On August 4, 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act, establishing the United States Department of Energy (DOE). This move consolidated various energy-related agencies into one department, aiming to address energy challenges, promote energy security, and advance scientific research in the field of energy.

British Red Cross Society forms

The British Red Cross Society was formed on August 4, 1870. It was established to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to people in need, both domestically and internationally. The organization has since played a significant role in disaster relief, healthcare, and social welfare services in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Colombia adopts constitution

Colombia adopted its first constitution on August 4, 1830. This constitution marked an important milestone in the country's history as it established the framework for its governance and legal system following its independence from Spain in 1819.

In 1954, Britain's first supersonic fighter plane, the P-1 English Electric Lightning, made its maiden flight

The English Electric Lightning, Britain's first supersonic fighter aircraft, made its maiden flight on August 4, 1954. This iconic aircraft was known for its remarkable speed and distinctive design, serving as a key component of Britain's Cold War-era defense strategy.
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