This Day in History - Pioneer 5 Launched & USS Nevada Commissioned

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

A space satellite was launched and a unique navy vessel was commissioned in two different years, but on the same day in history.

Pioneer 5 was launched into space on March 11, 1960. The unmanned space probe was part of the Pioneer program, which in its early years, had little success. However, the Thor-Able rocket carried the satellite successfully into a solar orbit. It would return data back to Earth for over a month. One of the most important discoveries of the probe, which had a variety of scientific instruments, was the existence of interplanetary magnetic fields was confirmed.

The USS Nevada was the second Navy ship to bear the name and was commissioned on March 11, 1916. The Nevada had a series of advancements that led it to being the first super-dreadnought in the American fleet: a much more massive size and weight, triple gun turrets, oil power instead of of coal, more efficient turbines, and more. The Nevada did not take part in a battle in World War I, but was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. Although it was damaged and took casualties, the ship was not sunk. It was repaired and participated in the Pacific theater throughout World War II. It was sunk as part of a training practice exercise after the war in 1948.

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