This Day In History : January 16

2003 United States

Space Shuttle Columbia Launches for Mission STS-107

On January 16, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia took off for mission STS-107 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Tragically, 16 days later, on February 1, the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the loss of all seven crew members.

Also on This Day in History January 16

Discover what happened on January 16 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, January 16
  • 1901 Frank J. Zamboni

    American businessman and inventor of the ice-resurfacing machine

  • 1901 Fulgencio Batista

    Dictator and President of Cuba (1933-44, 1952-59)

  • 1767 Anders Gustav Ekeberg

    Swedish chemist who in discovered the element tantalum

  • 1853 André Michelin

    French industrialist, tire manufacturer (Michelin) and publisher of the Michelin Guide

  • 1955 Jerry M. Linenger

    American astronaut (STS 81/84)

Deaths on This Day, January 16
  • 2017 Eugene Andrew Cernan

    American NASA astronaut (12th person on the moon) who travelled into space three times

  • 1967 Robert Jemison Van de Graaff

    American physicist and inventor of the Van de Graaff generator

  • 1938 William Henry Pickering

    American astronomer who discovered Phoebe, the ninth moon of Saturn (1899)

  • 2002 Robert Hanbury Brown

    British-Australian astronomer and physicist

  • 1993 Jón Páll Sigmarsson

    Icelandic powerlifter (World's Strongest Man 1984 , 86 , 88, 90)


League of Nations Holds Its First Council Meeting

On January 16, 1920, the League of Nations held its first council meeting in Paris, France. As the first international organization aimed at maintaining world peace and promoting cooperation among nations, the League of Nations marked a significant step towards collective security and diplomacy in the aftermath of World War I.

Astronomers Discover Two Massive Hot Stars with Hubble

On January 16, 1991, astronomers announced the discovery of two exceptionally large and hot stars using the Hubble Space Telescope. This finding provided significant insights into stellar formation and the characteristics of extreme stellar environments.

First Manned Spacecraft Docking and Personnel Transfer

On January 16, 1969, the Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 missions achieved the first successful docking of two manned spacecraft in orbit. This historic event also included the transfer of crew members between the two vehicles, marking a major milestone in space exploration.

First Angioplasty Performed by Dr. Charles Dotter

On January 16, 1964, Dr. Charles Dotter, a pioneering vascular radiologist, performed the first angioplasty. This groundbreaking procedure involved using a catheter to open a blocked blood vessel, revolutionizing the field of vascular medicine and providing a new, less invasive treatment for patients with vascular disease.
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