This Day In History : November 17

1967 United States

Surveyor 6 Makes Historic Lift-Off from Moon's Surface

In 1967, Surveyor 6 achieved a significant milestone by making a six-second flight from its landing site on the moon, marking the first lift-off from the lunar surface. This successful maneuver demonstrated NASA's capability to perform controlled take-offs and landings on the moon, contributing crucially to the Apollo program's planning for crewed lunar landings.

Also on This Day in History November 17

Discover what happened on November 17 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, November 17
  • 1906 Soichiro Honda

    Japanese engineer who founded Honda Motor Co.

  • 1855 Carl Gassner

    German physician and inventor who invented the first dry cell battery (1886)

  • 1597 Henry Gellibrand

    English astronomer and mathematician who co-discovered the geomagnetic secular variation

  • 1961 Chanda Kochhar

    Indian businesswoman (CEO of ICICI Bank)

  • 1968 Robin Li

    Chinese founder of the Chinese search engine Baidu

Deaths on This Day, November 17
  • 1990 Robert Hofstadter

    American atomic physicist and Nobel laureate (electron scattering in atomic nuclei)

  • 1956 John Evershed

    English astronomer who discovered the Evershed effect

  • 1929 Herman Hollerith

    American inventor of punched-card machine

  • 1928 Lala Lajpat Rai

    Indian author, politician, and  freedom fighter

  • 1558 Mary I of England

    First queen to rule England (1553–58)


The National Rifle Association (NRA) was first chartered in the state of New York

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was first chartered in the State of New York on November 17, 1871. It was founded by Civil War veterans Colonel William C. Church and General George Wingate to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis. The NRA has since evolved into one of the most influential organizations advocating for firearm rights and safety education in the United States.

Inauguration of the Suez Canal

The Suez Canal in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was officially inaugurated on November 17, 1869. This monumental engineering feat significantly reduced travel time for ships between Europe and Asia, transforming global trade routes and maritime navigation.

Velvet Revolution began

The Velvet Revolution began on November 17, 1989, in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia). It was a peaceful uprising against the Communist government, marked by mass protests and demonstrations demanding political reform and the end of single-party rule. The revolution ultimately led to the downfall of the Communist regime and the subsequent transition to a democratic system in Czechoslovakia.

Russia Lands Lunokhod 1 on the Moon

On November 17, 1970, the Soviet Union successfully landed the Lunokhod 1 unmanned remote-controlled vehicle on the Moon. This historic achievement marked the first time a rover had been deployed on the lunar surface, paving the way for further exploration and scientific discovery beyond Earth's orbit.
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