11 October: US Congress authorises use of force in Iraq, NASA launches 1st spacecraft and more


On 11 October 2002, the US Congress gave approval to President George W Bush to use force against Iraq. The bill gave broad powers to the US President to defend his country’s national security against the “continuing threat” posed by Iraq and its efforts to develop chemical and biological weapons.

On this very day in 1958, the unmanned deep-space Pioneer 1 became the first spacecraft launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From thereon, NASA embarked on an unprecedented space exploration programme. Though the Pioneer 1 never reached the Moon due to a technical malfunction, it did return crucial data on the near-Earth environment.

Here are some other events that mark 11 October as a historic day:

1942: Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was born in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.

1962: The Second Vatican Council opened. Announced by Pope John XXIII in January 1959, the council lasted for three years and debated issues related to the Catholic Church’s readiness to adapt to modern life.

1968: Apollo 7 was launched from Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft, which was the first American crewed flight since Gemini 12, made history as the first American live broadcast from space.

1971: John Lennon’s Imagine was released. The song remains one of the British singer and former Beatles member’s best-known works.

1974: US President Gerald R Ford established the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to regulate the civilian use of nuclear energy and other nuclear materials.

1975: The iconic sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC and became a landmark in American pop culture. The show has been the breakout show for talents like Seth Meyers, Jason Sudeikis and Tina Fey. Created by Lorne Michaels, the programme continues to have a dedicated fan following in its 48th season.

1982: The wreckage of the Mary Rose, one of Henry VIII’s warships, was raised in 1982. The ship, which often served as the flagship of the English monarch’s fleet, had sunk in the Solent in 1545.

1984: American astronaut Kathyrn Sullivan became the first woman to walk in space.

1991: American lawyer Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas in the Senate Judiciary Committee and accused him of sexual harassment. The allegations against Thomas, who had been nominated to the US Supreme Court, were rejected and he was confirmed 52-48.

2000: The International Women of the Year Association presented Russian cosmonaut Valentina V Tereshkova, the first woman in space, with the title of the ‘Greatest Woman Achiever of the Century’.

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11 October: US Congress authorises use of force in Iraq, NASA launches 1st spacecraft and more
11 October: US Congress authorises use of force in Iraq, NASA launches 1st spacecraft and more
ASE News
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