February 20, 1986
The Soviet Union launches the core module of the Mir space station. The core module will provide living quarters for the cosmonauts, including a galley, cooking elements, storage, individual crew cabins and personal hygiene area. Five additional modules will be launched between March 1987 and April 1996.
February 19, 1971
The first warrant is issued to search a computer’s storage. This event would lead to increasingly sophisticated methods of encryption to hide computer files from law enforcement agents.
February 18, 1977
The first Space Shuttle orbiter, the Enterprise, embarks on its maiden flight in “captive mode,” attached to the top of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The flight is the first of five captive flights before the orbiter is finally released to land on its own. The nine month test program is conducted through November 1977 at the Dryden Flight Research Facility to demonstrate that the orbiter can fly and land like an airplane. The Enterprise, while the first shuttle to fly, was not the first space-worthy orbiter and was only used for testing purposes.
February 18, 1946
Television signals are first successfully transmitted from Washington D.C. to New York City over an AT&T coaxial cable. And you thought cable TV was invented in the 1980s!
February 17, 2000
Microsoft introduces the latest version of the Windows NT line of operating systems, Windows 2000. While Windows 2000 did bring plug and play to the Windows NT line, it was targeted to the business market and not the consumer. It was not until Windows XP that Microsoft merged the NT line with the Windows 95/98 line. Unfortunately, Microsoft unleashed Windows ME upon unsuspecting consumers in the meantime. Sigh.
February 17, 1994
Apple launches their QuickTake 100 digital camera, one of the very first digital cameras aimed at the consumer market. Unfortunately for Apple, as was endemic for them at the time, they didn’t execute the marketing for this device very well, allowing other companies to take the lead in the digital camera market. Apple was out of the digital camera market by 1997.