Today in history: The first US satellite is launched into orbit

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Today in History: Jan 31
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Today in history: The first US satellite is launched into orbit
Members of an RAF fighter service echelon gather around a campfire in Burma, Jan. 31, 1945 after a dayâs advance with 14. Army troops on the Mandalay front. Their duties are to travel with squadron equipment to establish and maintain aircraft and airstrips close behind fighting troops. (AP Photo)
Jackie Robinson's wife and children gather close to help him blow out the candle on a cupcake as they celebrate the Brooklyn Dodgers infielder's 35th birthday at home in St. Aldans, N.Y. on Jan. 31, 1954. From left are, Sharon, 4; Jackie, with David, 20 months, on his knee; his wife, Rachel; and Jackie Jr., 7. (AP Photo)
Seventeen-year-old Elinor Smith, aka "The Flying Flapper," established an endurance flying record for women when she landed at Mitchel Field, Jan. 31. 1929 in New York after staying aloft 13 hours, 16 minutes and 45 seconds, the record previously held by miss Bobby Trout of California. Miss Smith is helped from her plane by her father Tom Smith right and Joseph Brunner, after the flight. (AP Photo)
Prof. Maurice Martenot, French inventor, is photographed with the curious musical instrument which has the ability to mimic almost every known instrument in an orchestra and also has a unique tone of its own, shown Jan. 31, 1931. In appearance Prof. Martenot's instrument resembles a spinet but it produces sounds through vacuum tube vibrations transmitted by means of a diffuser to what resembles a loud speaker. (AP Photo)
It isnât often that celebrities, visiting the City Hall in New York City, pause to get a shine from the roving bootblacks in City Hall Park. But Mary Pickford did, when she visited Mayor F.H. LaGuardia in New York on Jan. 31, 1934, and it was a big moment for Joe âFatâ Barbera. Joe is at his job while bystanders look on. (AP Photo)
Armand Denis and his wife Leila Roosevelt Denis pose aboard the S.S. Henri Jasper as they sailed from New York en route to Africa, where they will explore territory under the auspices of the Belgian government, and make a motion picture record of their travels, Jan. 31, 1935. Mrs. Denis is a distant cousin of both the president and the first lady, who last year drove a motor truck around the world. (AP Photo/John Rooney)
Two little Madrid girls, who have taken refuge in the mouth of a sewer during a junta air raid, appear to be more interested than frightened at the falling bombs, in Madrid on Jan. 31, 1937. Weeks of the siege of the city have made them familiar with the bursting of shells and bombs and the tottering of buildings. (AP Photo)
Great Britain, represented by an Australian, Frederick McEvoy, the well known Olympic Bobber, left, and Bryan Black, won the world two-man Bob Championship at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy on Jan. 31, 1937. McEvoy steered and Black braked. Their aggregate was 6 minutes 10.3 seconds. (AP Photo)
Women residents of Madrid searching the wreckage of their homes, shattered by bombs from Junta aircraft, for any household belongings, on Jan. 31, 1937, which may have escaped the falling masonry. The retrieving of bedsteads appears to be the chief object. (AP Photo)
Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret, partly obscured, driving away from Kingâs Cross Station, in London, on Jan. 31, 1938, after their arrival from Sandringham. (AP Photo)
Camel corps officer in Tunisia on Jan. 31, 1939. (AP Photo)
The Andrews Sisters of radio fame, from left to right, are: Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne, seen Jan. 31, 1940 in New York. A representative of the trio said today that Maxene and Patty had decided to leave home after their father objected to romances between Maxene and Lou Levy, the trio's manager, and between Patty and Vic Schoen, their arranger. LaVerne decided to stay. (AP Photo)
New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia plays the part of a fireman during entertainment at the U.S. president's birthday ball at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, Jan. 31, 1940. (AP Photo)
This demonstration at Coatesville, Pennsylvania on Jan. 31, 1940, shown how the air mail pickup service so dear to the heart of Richard C. DuPont works. A grappling hook lowered from the plane snatches the mailbag as it hangs, suspended between two 40-foot posts. (AP Photo)
These French troops are shown taking things easy in the barn where they were billeted, somewhere on the western front, on Jan. 31, 1940. (AP Photo)
Evacuating villagers and their furniture in France on Jan. 31, 1940. (AP Photo)
Two pilots of a South African Air Force bomber squadron toy with baby cheetahs, tamed as mascots in an unknown location on Jan. 31, 1941. (AP Photo)
A heavy German bomb is dragged to a bombing plane at an airport in France on Jan. 31, 1941 for use in an air raid on England. (AP Photo)
A Secret Service agent scans counterfeit half dollars and plating equipment seized in a raid on an east side New York apartment, Jan. 31, 1942. The raid netted 9,890 coins and 75 molds. Three aliens were taken into custody. (AP Photo)
The dream of Chicago officials for years - a subway system to relieve traffic congestion around the loop-is several views of the cityâs new subways as they appear, well on the way toward completion. Wartime priorities may delay the opening, however, since steel needed for rails and cars must be used to arm America instead. Mrs. Leroy Dost, left, and Mrs. C. I. Mann, right, both of Evanston, at the State Street tube mope to be able to board a train at this platform in Chicago Jan. 31, 1942. (AP Photo)
This Pacific Northwest ârancherâ decided the best way to keep his tires identified, was to resort to old fashioned branding methods in Seattle, Washington on Jan. 31, 1942. He whipped up some brick branding irons, built a regular branding fire, and proceeded to burn his own identification on his tires. (AP Photo)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in a jovial mood as he greeted the press with Prime Minister Winston Churchill on lawn of hotel, where the leaders held their war strategy conferences in Casablanca, French Morocco on Jan. 31, 1943. Great informality marked the press meeting with correspondents grouped on the ground at the feet of Roosevelt and Churchill. (AP Photo/Pool)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill pause at Casablanca, French Morocco on Jan. 31, 1943, while conferring for a ten-day period, to pose for this photo with the staff chiefs. The chiefs are (left to right): Lt. Gen. H.H. Arnold, commanding U.S. Army Air Forces; Admiral E. J. King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Navy; Gen. George C. Marshall, chief of staff of the U.S. Army; Sir Dudley Pound, British First Sea Lord; Sir Alan Brooke, chief of the Imperial General, Britain and Sir Charles Portal, British Air chief marshall. (AP Photo/Time Inc.)
Free French ground crewmen haul 500 Pounders to one of the Boston aircraft for a raid on Germany, Jan. 31, 1944. They are part of the Lorraine Bomber squadron. (AP Photo)
A fireman inspects crib in which one of 16 infants perished in fire in baby boarding house at Auburn, Maine, Jan. 31, 1945. Two nursing bottles are still in crib which was in room behind fireman. (AP Photo)
Russia announced on Jan. 31, 1950 in France recognition of the Indo-china, control of which is claimed by guerrilla forces of Ho Chi-Minh, July 1946. The area includes the coastal provinces of Ton-kin, Annam and Cochin Chins. Meanwhile, the governments of Britain and the United state are expected to recognize the Indo-china government of Bao Dai, former emperor of Annam.(AP Photo)
Huddled on the bed in their one-room, windowless dwelling called a "hogan" Jan.31,1948 near Fort Defiance, Ariz., the Peterson children try to keep warm while their father is away herding sheep and their mother is ill in a hospital. (AP Photo)
An unidentified army officer of the buffs regiment is shown stooping to view the hole entrance to an Eoka hide-out discovered underneath a fireplace in a house at Omodos village in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus on Jan. 31, 1957, during operation âblack Macâ from January 15 to January 22. (AP Photo)
Three top scientists who helped perfect the successful American satellite Explorer hold aloft a duplicate of the satellite at a new conference at the IGY headquarters in Washington, Jan. 31, 1958. From left to right: Dr. William H. Pickering of Cal Tech; Dr. James Van Allen of the University of Iowa; and Dr. Wernher von Braun, the Army's rocket expert who designed the Jupiter C missile which propelled the satellite. (AP Photo/Bill Allen)
Women protest break in once complete white boycott of integrated McDonogh 19 School by carrying signs in front of a store owned by chain (Walgreen?s) which employs John Thompson, father of the two white boys breaking the boycott on Jan. 31, 1961 in New Orleans. The store, about two miles from the school, is in adjoining St. Bernard Parish (county). (AP Photo)
While waiting to go on the set of "St. George and the Seven Curses?, Jerry, a 5-year-old chimp, who has a part in the movie, plays chess with the producer's 11-year-old daughter Susan Gordon, Jan. 31, 1961. Jerry looks like he is in a bit of trouble with the game but he made a monkey out of Susan. (AP Photo/Harold Filan)
Ham, a chimpanzee, is shown on deck of ship after being pulled out of water following his space flight on Jan. 31, 1961. The first U.S. suborbital flight, an animal experiment, carrying Ham in a mercury capsule to an altitude of 155 miles, with parachute splashdown 420 miles down range. The animal was recovered in good condition. (AP Photo)
Jordan's Crown Prince Abdullah sits in a miniature armoured car presented to him by a unit of the Jordanian army to mark his first birthday, in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 31, 1963. The army officers are unidentified. (AP Photo)
Julie Andrews holds her Golden Globe in Hollywood, Calif., Jan. 31, 1966. (AP Photo/Harold P. Matosian)
Clasping their hands in prayer, South Vietnamese women along the route of a Buddhist procession through Saigon make a plea for peace by carrying helium-filled balloons with white doves of peace suspended from them, Jan. 31, 1969. They were among the crowds watching the procession, which transported a religious relic from a pagoda north of Saigon, through the capital, to An Quang pagoda. (AP Photo/Ghislain Bellorget)
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, center, Premier of Bangladesh, talks with members of the Mujib Bahini, Jan. 31, 1972. The day marked the surrender of arms to the Premier by more than 50,000 former guerrilla fighters at the stadium in Dacca, Bangladesh. (AP Photo)
Musicians perform on stage during a rock concert given on the grounds of the Saigon Zoo, Jan. 31, 1972. (AP Photo/Dang Van Phuoc)
Passerby admires an ice sculpture of the Statue of Liberty, on display in downtown Tokyo on Jan. 31, 1976. The work, which is 16½ feet tall, was made to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial. (AP Photo/Mitsunori Chigita)
Wife Florence plants kiss on cheek of Joe Frazier, after the former heavyweight champ opened his song and dance revue at New Yorkâs Rainbow Grill on Monday, Jan. 31, 1977. The revue has been engaged for a month, and the engagement is the biggest break of Frazierâs now full-time show biz career. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Guards and workmen stand by exit ramp where stuntman Evel Knievel crashed during a practice jump in Chicago, Monday, Feb. 1, 1977 shortly before his scheduled nationally televised jump over a pool of sharks. Knievel sustained a fractured left collarbone and also had some internal bleeding in his right calf, according to a spokesman at a Chicago hospital. (AP Photo/Larry Stoddard)
Flames billowed Monday where Hollywoodâs spotlights once played on the façade of Loewâs Grand Theatre, the site of the 1939 world premiere of âGone with the Wind.â The fire destroyed most of the top three floors of the 86-year-old building, located on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Jan. 31, 1978. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Paul Maher shows off Mickey and Minnie Mouse puppets in front of Walt Disneyâs original studio, an old garage in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 1981. Maher has purchased the garage, and is leasing the home in front, and is planning to make a Disney memorabilia museum. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
Hostile demonstrators outside Ben-Gurion International airport on Jan. 31, 1985 in Tel Aviv display placarde blaming former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon for the 610 Israeli soldiers killed in the Peace for Galilee Operation. Sharon who is now Israelâs Industry and Commerce Minister has returned from his New York Lible suit against. (AP Photo)
OXNARD, UNITED STATES: Local residents pass a memorial for Alaska Airlines Flight 261 victims 02 February, 2000, at Silver Strand Beach near Oxnard, California. The MD-83 crashed 31 January, 2000 in the ocean nine miles (14kms) from Strand Beach. The US Coast Guard has called off the search and rescue operation for the 88 passengers and has switched to a search and recovery operation. AFP PHOTO (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) Mike NELSON/mn (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Take a look back in time and see the events -- both big and small -- that happened on January 31st throughout the years. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Jackie Robinson was born in 1919
  • In 1944 U.S. forces invaded the Japanese-held Marshall Islands during World War II
  • An Alaska Airlines jet plunged into the ocean off Southern California on a flight from Mexico to San Francisco, killing all 88 people on board in 2000
  • In 1961 Ham the chimpanzee was the first hominid in space
On This Day:  January 31
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