| January 2: Crude oil prices hit $100 a barrel for
the first time.
January 7: In the BCS title game, the Louisiana State
University Tigers defeat the Ohio State
Buckeyes 38-24 to win the BCS national championship.
January 11: Distinguished explorer and mountaineer
Sir Edmund Hillary passes away at the age of 88 years old.
Hillary along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach the
summit of Mount Everest on May 29th of 1953.
The New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 17 to 14 in Super
February 7: NASA launches space shuttle Atlantis on
STS-122. It delivers and installed the European built Columbus
science laboratory on to the International Space Station.
February 17: Nascar racing
driver Ryan Newman wins the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
February 19: President of Cuba, Fidel Castro,
announces his resignation from the Presidency to be effective on
The United States Navy launches a missile to destroy an out of control
orbiting U.S. spy satellite to alleviate a re-entry threat from the
satellite's toxic steering fuel.
February 22: A U.S. B-2 bomber crashes after takeoff
from a military air base in Guam. Both crew members eject safely.
The 80th annual Academy Awards Ceremony is held in Los Angeles,
California. The film "No Country for Old Men" wins the Oscar for
best picture. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis wins the Oscar for Best Actor for
his role in "There Will Be Blood." Actress Marion Cotillard wins the
Oscar for Best Actress for her role in "La Vie en Rose".
March 2: Dmitry Medvedev is elected as the
President of Russia. He is to succeed Vladimir Putin in May as
president. Putin will remain in power as Prime Minister.
The European Space Agency's Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle
launches from French Guiana. The Jules Verne spacecraft is an
vessel for supplying the International Space Station.
March 19: Renown author and futurist Sir Arthur C.
Clarke passes away at the age of 90. Clarke is probably best
known for the science fiction novel "2001: A Space Odyssey."
The European built Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle docks for
first time with the International Space Station.
April 5: American actor Charlton Heston passes
away at the age of 84 years old. Heston acted in several
blockbuster movies including, "The Ten Commandments", "Ben Hur", and
"Planet of the Apes".
April 28: India launches a rocket that delivers 10
satellites into orbit on a single launch. That is a record for
the most satellites orbited on a single launch.
May 3: Cyclone Nargis is devastated the South
Asian nation of Myanmar. Over 130,000 people are believed to have
lost their lives.
May 3: A horse named Big Brown wins the 134th
running of the Kentucky Derby. The runner up in the race is a
horse named Eight Belles. Eight Belles is euthanized after the
race because it had fractured both of its front ankles during the race.
May 12: A 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes
central China. Over 60,000 people are presumed dead.
May 15: California becomes the second state to
recognize same sex marriages.
Scott Dixon wins the ninety second running of the Indianapolis 500.
May 25: NASA's Phoenix spacecraft makes a
successful landing on the planet Mars.
NASA launches space shuttle Discovery on STS-124 at 5:02 EDT. It
continue the construction of the International Space Station. It
delivers and installed the Japanese laboratory named
wife and I watched the launch from the Banana
Creek VIP site at the Kennedy Space Center. For the story and
photos from this launch, please follow the STS-124 link.
June 3: United States Presidential Candidate
Barak Obama appears to have secured enough delegate votes to become
Democratic Presidential Nominee.
June 4: The Detroit Red Wings defeat the
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 games to 2 to win the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup.
June 7: Motorcycle daredevil,
Robbie Knievel jumps 21 Hummers at Texas Motor Speedway before the IRL
race. Knievel is the son of the famed daredevil Evel
Knievel. For my account of this motorcycle jump follow the Knievel link.
June 15: A ceremony is held at
Ellington Air Field in Houston, Texas for the return of the STS-124
crew. Mary and I attended the ceremony. For my account and
photos of the crew return ceremony follow the STS-124 Return link.
August 7: The former Soviet state of Georgia sent
troops into the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
August 8: Russia responds with a massive invasion
of South Ossetia and Georgia. Over the next few days, the
Georgian military is decimated. Some saw this as a means for
Russia to re-exert their influence over world politics.
August 10: At Texas Motor Speedway
I complete my rookie experience with the Richard Petty Driving
Experience. I is training to race against Apollo 15 Command
Module Pilot Al Worden at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt
Disney World in October. For my account of my rookie experience
follow the Racing link.
August 15: Georgia and Russia sign a cease fire
brokered by the president of the European Union, France's President
August 18: Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf resigns before the Pakistani Parliament
enact impeachment proceedings against him. It is the end of a
turbulent and unpopular political career for Musharraf.
September 5: The jobless rate in the United States is
reported to be 6.1% by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That
number is the worst that the rate has been since 2003.
September 7: The financial services companies Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac are placed under conservatorship by the U.S.
Government. These two companies hold over half of the mortgages
in the United States. There failure would have had severe
economic impact on households across the United States.
September 14: In another sign of the approaching
economic Armageddon, financial institution Merrill Lynch agrees to be
purchased by Bank of America.
September 15: Fear over the financial crises causes the
Dow Jones Industrial average to drop over 500 points. It is the
worst single day drop since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
September 15: Unable to find a buyer financial
institution Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy.
September 16: The U.S. Federal Reserve decides to bail
out insurance and finance group AIG with an 85 billion dollar rescue.
September 24: The largest U.S. savings and loan,
Washington Mutual, is seized by federal regulators. JP Morgan
chase then buys the majority in Washington Mutual.
September 25: The People's Republic of China launches
from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center a Long March 2F rocket
carrying into orbit the Shenzhou VII spacecraft. On board are
three astronauts, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng. It
is the first time that China has launches a spacecraft with 3
taikonauts on board.
September 26: American actor Paul Newman passes away at
the age of 83.
September 27: Zhai Zhigang
becomes the first Chinese taikonaut to walk in space when he stepped
of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft. Liu Boming also receives
credit for performing a stand up EVA from the Shenzhou orbital module
hand Zhai a Chinese flag. Liu wears a Russian built Orlan
spacesuit for this EVA while Zhai wears a Chinese built Feitian
September 28: The Shenzhou VII spacecraft safely lands
in Mongolia with taikonauts Zhai, Liu, and Jing after a three day space
September 28: The world financial markets are stunned
by a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that rejects the 700
billion dollar financial bailout plan. This plan would have
allowed the government to acquire bad mortgage assets form private
companies. The vote in the House of Representatives is 228
against and 205 for. This news shocks the financial markets and
the DOW drops 778 points. It is the largest drop ever.
October 1: With an economic catastrophe looming, the
U.S. Senate votes 74 to 25 in support of a $700 billion dollar bailout
plan for the financial industry.
October 3: Reversing itself, The U.S. House of
Representatives approves the financial bail out plan in a 273-161 vote
and President Bush signed the measure into law.
October 3: It is reported by the U.S. Labor
Department that 159,000 people lost their jobs in September. That
is the worst monthly job loss in over 5 years.
October 17: The 40th Anniversary of
the Apollo 7 mission is celebrated at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in
Dallas, Texas. For my account of this celebration follow the Apollo 7 40th link.
October 30: As a further sign of the deteriorating
economy the U.S gross domestic product (GDP) is reported to have
shrunk by 0.3%. It marked the first time in over 17 years that
the GDP has dropped.
November 1: Swiss oceanographer, explorer, and
engineer Jaques Piccard passes away at the age of 86. On January
23, 1960 Piccard and Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh reached the floor of the
Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. This trench is the deepest
spot of all the oceans on the Earth and is measured to be 35,797 feet
below sea level.
November 4: Democratic
Senator Barak Obama is elected President of the United States.
Pakistani President elect Obama wins 338 electoral votes compared
with Senator John McCain's 161. The historic election marked the
first time that an African American is elected as President of the
Untied States. Riding the wave of anti-Republican sentiment the
Democrats increased their power in the House of Representatives and the
Senate as well.
November 7: The U.S. Labor
Department reports that 240,000 jobs were lost in October. This
brought the U.S. jobless rate to 6.5%. It is the highest rate
since 1994 and is further evidence of the deteriorating U.S. economy.
November 9: Three men convicted of committing the
2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people are executed.
bin Nurhasyim, Imam Samudra, and Ali Ghufron are put to death by firing squad.
November 14: NASA launches space shuttle Endeavour on STS-126. It
is another mission to continue the construction of the International
Space Station. My wife, 2 grandchildren and our daughter watch
the launch from the Banana Creek VIP viewing site at the Kennedy Space
Center. For my story and photos from this launch, please follow
the STS-126 link.
November 19: The Dow Jones industrial average falls
points. That brought the average to 7997, which is the first
time that the DOW closed below 8000 since 2003.
November 24: The U.S. Treasury Department and the FDIC
enact a plan to rescue troubled financial institution Citigroup.
November 25: The U.S. Government announces another
plan of over 800 billion dollars to aid the troubled U.S. economy.
November 26: Ten terrorists attack Mumbai,
India. 170 people are killed and over 300 are injured.It takes
Indian security forces over three days to end the siege.
December 1: The National Bureau of Economic Research
announces that the United States economy had been in recession since
December of 2007. This announcement causes the Dow Jones
industrial average to drop 680 points.
December 5: The U.S. Labor Department announces that
553,000 jobs were lost in November. That brings the unemployment
rate up to 6.7%.
December 9: Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Glazkov passes
away at the age of 69. Glazkov flew in space on the Soyuz 24 mission as
Flight Engineer in February of 1977.
December 9: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevitch is
accused of attempting to sell the Senate seat vacated by
President-elect Barak Obama.
December 18: American actress Majel Barrett
Roddenberry passes away at the age of 76. She is married to the
creator of the television series "Star Trek" and made numerous
appearances on Star Trek and it's subsequent follow-ons in various
December 19: President Bush announces a 17.4 billion
dollar plan to rescue the troubled U.S. auto industry. This is a
attempt to avoid two of the top three auto makers from falling into