This Day In History : December 2

1988 United States

STS-27 Atlantis launched (Secret military mission)

On December 2, 1988, Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-27) was launched on a secret military mission for the United States Department of Defense. This mission, officially designated as STS-27, involved classified activities and was part of the U.S. government's efforts in space exploration and defense initiatives during the Cold War era.

Also on This Day in History December 2

Discover what happened on December 2 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 2
  • 1946 Gianni Versace

    Italian fashion designer who founded Versace

  • 1881 Heinrich Barkhausen

    German physicist who discovered the Barkhausen effect (1919), a principle concerning changes in the magnetic properties of metal

  • 1869 Jonas Cohn

    German philosopher (Theory of the Dialects)

  • 1906 Peter Carl Goldmark

    Hungarian-American engineer developed color TV and LP records

  • 1941 Paul Ching Wu Chu

    Chinese-American physicist (superconductivity)

Deaths on This Day, December 2
  • 1993 Pablo Escobar

    Columbian drug lord

  • 1995 Maria Telkes

    Hungarian-American biophysicist who invented solar energy technologies

  • 1957 Manfred J. Sakel

    Polish neurophysiologist and psychiatrist

  • 1966 Bertus Brouwers

    Dutch mathematician and philosopher, founder of modern topology

  • 1996 Karl H. Beyer Jr.

    American pharmacologist (discovered 1st drugs for hypertension and gout)


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Begins Operations

On December 2, 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began operations. Established by President Richard Nixon through an executive order, the EPA was tasked with protecting human health and the environment by enforcing regulations and conducting research on environmental issues across the United States.

Swedish Parliament Approves Freedom of the Press Act

On December 2, 1766, the Swedish Parliament approved the Freedom of the Press Act (Tryckfrihetsförordningen), marking a significant early legal protection for freedom of the press in Sweden. This act laid the foundation for press freedoms and contributed to Sweden's reputation for promoting openness and freedom of expression.

First artificial heart transplant

On December 2, 1982, the first artificial heart transplant was performed in the United States. Dr. Barney Clark received the Jarvik-7 artificial heart at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, marking a significant advancement in medical technology and the treatment of heart disease.

First U.S. Large-Scale Nuclear Power Plant Opened for Peacetime Use

On December 2, 1957, the first large-scale nuclear power plant in the United States opened for peacetime use in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. This nuclear facility was a pioneering project in the peaceful application of atomic energy, aimed at generating electricity for civilian purposes and advancing technological capabilities in nuclear energy production.
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