This Day In History : October 15

2003 China

Shenzhou 5, China's first human space flight mission launched

Shenzhou 5 was the first human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program, launched on 15 October 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of uncrewed Shenzhou missions since 1999. China became the third country in the world to have independent human spaceflight capability after the Soviet Union (later, Russia) and the United States.

Also on This Day in History October 15

Discover what happened on October 15 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, October 15
  • 1924 Lee Iacocca

    American author and businessman who developed the Ford Mustang and Ford Pinto

  • 1931 A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

    Indian scientist, politician, 11th President of India

  • 1909 Jesse L. Greenstein

    American astronomer who co-discovered quasars

  • 1829 Asaph Hall

    American astronomer who discovered satellites of Mars (Phobos & Deimos)

  • 1608 Evangelista Torricelli

    Italian physicist, inventor of barometer

Deaths on This Day, October 15
  • 2018 Paul Allen

    American business magnate (co-founder Microsoft, owner Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks)

  • 1930 Herbert Henry Dow

    American chemical industrialist (Dow Chemical)

  • 1964 Games Slayter

    American engineer and inventor of fiberglass

  • 1980 Mikhail Lavrentyev

    Russian hydrodynamicist and mathematician

  • 2000 Konrad Emil Bloch

    German-American biochemist, (1964 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work on cholesterol)


The Edison Electric Light Company starts operation

The Edison Electric Light Company, founded by Thomas Edison in 1878, was pivotal in the early commercialization of electric lighting. Edison and his team developed and improved upon the incandescent light bulb, which eventually led to the establishment of the company. The company's operations focused on deploying electric lighting systems in urban areas, demonstrating the feasibility and reliability of electric illumination over gas lighting.

Tata Airlines makes its first flight, later changing it's name to Air India

JRD Tata famously conducted the first flight in Indian aviation history on October 15, 1932. The Tata Air Services flight departed Karachi’s Drigh Road Aerodrome for Mumbai’s Juhu Airstrip. The plane was a De Havilland Puss Moth, which had only one engine.

Cassini-Huygens launch

The Cassini–Huygens mission, a collaborative effort between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), was launched on October 15, 1997 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. The spacecraft consisted of two components: NASA’s Cassini space probe and ESA’s Huygens lander.

US Supreme Court declares Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional

The US Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional on October 15, 1883. This landmark decision in the case of Civil Rights Cases (1883) effectively ended federal attempts to protect civil rights through legislation until the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was passed.
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