31 January: Historical events that took place on this date


Over the past few decades, the world has witnessed several major events and happenings that left a huge impact on people. While wars and global crises have dominated modern history, there is also a positive aspect to the past. We have also seen massive technological advancements that have completely shaken the world. Speaking of which, some people have also played a significant role in these events and their contribution is still remembered to date. Today is 31 January 2023, and the date also marks several major events in history.

Let’s take a look.

31 January: Historic events
1958 – First US satellite was launched

Following the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957, the United States launched its first artificial space satellite – Explorer 1 on 31 January 1958. Under the direction of Dr Wernher von Braun, the satellite was developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The satellite flew into place on a Jupiter-C rocket from the US Army Ballistic Missile Agency.

1966 – Luna 9 was launched

As a part of its space programme, the Soviet Union launched the Luna 9 on 31 January 1966. Luna 9 went on to become the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon. After landing, Luna 9 was successful in communicating some relevant information and images from the moon’s surface.

1981 – Justin Timberlake was born

Famous American singer and actor Justin Timberlake was born on 31 January 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee. From a very young age, Timberlake started building his career in music. Years after becoming a member of the popular boy band ‘NSYNC’ at the age of 14, Timberlake launched a solo career. It was in November 2002 when he released his solo album, ‘Justified’.

2001 – Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was convicted

For his role in the 1988 Pan Am flight 103 bombing, Libyan national Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was convicted on 31 January 2001. Around 270 fatalities were reported in the bombing, which took place on 21 December 1988. Later in 2009, he was released after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

2020 – United Kingdom formally left the EU

Bringing an end to 47 years of membership, the United Kingdom finally left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Notably, this came almost after three years of a tumultuous departure process after the country voted for Brexit.

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31 January: Historical events that took place on this date
31 January: Historical events that took place on this date
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