Historicity: 1 February, 2022
Your daily dose of curated historic curiosity.
Although I introduced Historicity last time around as a monthly feature, I’m finding an entire month of good history is just too much to tackle in one chunk. Last month's two-part issue felt - and read - like a data dump. Yuck. Not happy with it.
I can do better! ✍️📝👍
So, I’m going to scrap
Plan A, and roll out Plan B: a daily dose of actual content, not a link dump.
It fits better into my writing schedule, gives me room to focus on each date a lot more, and spreads the content out over the whole month, fresh in your inbox on the day that it’s most relevant.
I’ve written about two weeks worth of these so far and am liking the format much better. Your feedback in the comments is greatly appreciated!
As a quick intro for this month, February is Black History Month, National Cancer Prevention Month, and International Embroidery Month.
1 February, 2003 - 19 years ago today, in space
While reentering Earth’s atmosphere near the end of mission STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated.
All 7 astronauts aboard were killed. It was the second loss of a vehicle and it’s crew for the U.S. shuttle program, which delayed further launches for 2 years, and ultimately helped hasten the program's end.
STS-107 was Columbia's 28th mission.
Subsequent investigations revealed NASA managers were aware of potential wing damage to the shuttle while it was still in orbit, but limited in-flight investigations, presuming nothing could be done to make repairs anyway if further damage was found.
Were the crew themselves aware of the potential seriousness of the wing damage that happened during launch?
Could NASA have mounted a rescue mission if the damage had been properly assessed?
How many space shuttles were there?
Where are they now?
Did any other countries have a reusable space-plane similar to the shuttle?
What was the first shuttle to blow up called?
When did the shuttle program end?
What was the primary mission of STS-107?
Who were the astronauts lost?
Here’s how the story broke on CNN.
NASA releases gruesome details of astronauts deaths on ABC.
Report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board from NASA.
Soviet space plane documentary from DarkDocs on YouTube.
Columbia memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Full history of the shuttle program from the NASA History Division.
What else makes 1 February special around the world?
Today is Indian Coast Guard Day, one of the 15 days of Chinese New Year, and one of the 7 days of Vietnamese New Year.
It is the Feast of Torches, honoring the Celtic goddess of poetry, healing, and metalwork, Brigid.
It is, coincidentally, also St. Brigid Day.
St. Brigid was claimed to be an Irish nun who founded several monasteries. Any similarities between the names, feast dates, and geography of the two Brigids have nothing to do with the assimilation of pagan religions, trust me. 😉
Famous births on 1 February, under the sign of Aquarius
Actor Brandon Lee (1965-1993),
singer Harry Styles (1994-),
Dexter actor Michael C Hall (1971-),
pro wrestler Ronda Rousey (1987),
actor Clark Gable (1901-1960),
and historic Black American orator Fredrick Douglass (1818-1895).
“I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
- Fredrick Douglass
Today is the 32nd day of the year on the Gregorian calendar. 333 days remaining.
It is 220.127.116.11.9 on the Mayan long count calendar.
It is day 5 - Water, in the 13 day cycle of the Snake, in the solar year of the Rabbit on the Aztec calendar.
It is 30 Shevat, 5782 on the Jewish calendar.