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NASA outsources its role in space travel

American space agency awards $4.2 billion contract to Boeing and a $2.6 billion contract to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to shuttle astronauts between Earth and the International Space Station. Both companies will own and operate the crew transportation systems and be able to sell human space transportation services to other customers, thereby reducing the costs.

Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched

The mission goal was docking with Russian space-station Mir. It was the first shuttle mission to a fully completed Mir space station, following the arrival of its Priroda module. Atlantis took down to Earth American astronaut Shannon Lucid after 188 days in space. He flight was an American record for space flight duration and a worldwide record for a woman astronaut.

The Montreal Protocol is signed

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering.

Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptor makes its maiden flight

Development of the MiG-25's replacement began with the Ye-155MP prototype which first flew in 1975. Although it bore a superficial resemblance to the MiG-25, it had a longer fuselage to accommodate the radar operator's cockpit and was in many respects a new design.

The first photocopier is introduced

The Xerox 914 was the first successful commercial plain paper copier which in 1959 revolutionized the document-copying industry. The culmination of inventor Chester Carlson's work on the xerographic process, the 914 was fast and economical.

Anniversaries of the (in)famous