This Day In History : August 7

1997 United States

STS 85 (Discovery 23) launches into orbit

On August 7, 1997, the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-85 mission) launched into orbit. This mission was designated STS-85 and was the 23rd flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. During this mission, the crew conducted various scientific experiments and technology demonstrations focused on materials science, Earth observations, and spaceflight research.

Also on This Day in History August 7

Discover what happened on August 7 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, August 7
  • 1779 Carl Ritter

    German geographer and co-founder of modern science of geography

  • 1886 Louis Hazeltine

    American engineer and physicist, the inventor of the Neutrodyne circuit

  • 1844 Auguste Michel-Levy

    French geologist and petrologist

  • 1783 John Heathcoat

    English inventor of lace-making machinery

  • 1925 M. S. Swaminathan

    Indian agricultural scientist, leader of the green revolution in India

Deaths on This Day, August 7
  • 1974 Virginia Apgar

    American physician, anesthesiologist and medical researcher who developed the Apgar Score System

  • 1912 François-Alphonse Forel

    Swiss physician, scientist, and founder of limnology, the study of lakes

  • 1834 Joseph Marie Jacquard

    French weaver and merchant who invented the programmable loom (Jacquard loom)

  • 1941 Rabindranath Tagore

    Indian philosopher, poet, writer (Nobel Prize for Literature 1913)

  • 2007 Angus Tait

    New Zealand electronics innovator and businessman


The United States Department of War is established

The United States Department of War was established on August 7, 1789. It was the precursor to the modern-day Department of Defense and was responsible for the nation's defense and military affairs until it was reorganized and renamed in 1947.

1st potatoes planted in Hawaii

The first potatoes were planted in Hawaii on August 7, 1820. The introduction of potatoes to the islands was part of the broader history of agriculture in Hawaii. The Polynesians who settled in Hawaii between 500 and 700 AD brought various plants with them, including sweet potatoes (known as “Uala”).

The Bombay Municipal Corporation formally takes over the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)

After World War II and India’s independence, The Bombay Municipal Corporation formally taking over the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) happened in the year 1947. This event marked a significant development in the administration and management of public utilities in Bombay (now Mumbai), India.

Apollo 15 returns to Earth

Apollo 15, the fourth crewed mission to land on the Moon, returned to Earth on August 7, 1971. The spacecraft splashed down in the North Pacific Ocean, and the astronauts were safely recovered by the U.S. Navy.
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