Naval Research Laboratory
Space-related Discoveries and Observations


6/1/1998 - mile-ss
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541



1946 - First far-ultraviolet spectrum of the Sun obtained from a V-2 rocket (birth of the Navy space program)

1949 - First measurement of the effects of extreme ultraviolet and X-ray solar radiation on the ionosphere

1949 - Detection of fission products in fallout from the first Russian atomic bomb

1954 - NRL photograph from rocket launched from White Sands, New Mexico, provided the first view from space of a major storm cloud formation.

1956 - First measurement of ultraviolet and X-ray emissions from a solar flare (confirmed X rays as source radio fadeout)

1958 - First photograph of the Sun's spectrum in the ultraviolet down to and below the Lyman-Alpha line

1958 - First use of a maser in radio astronomical observations

1960 - First X-ray photograph of the Sun

1961 - NRL's LOFTI-I satellite disproved the theory that very-low-frequency radio waves did not penetrate the ionosphere

1966 - First photographic cosmic-ray detector used in space flown aboard NASA's Gemini II

1970 - Discovery of hydrogen molecules in interstellar space

1975 - NRL XUV telescope flown aboard the OSO-8 Satellite

1975 - NRL experiment flown aboard Apollo spacecraft during Apollo/Soyuz mission discovered the first X-ray pulsar beyond the Milky Way

1986 - Two NRL cameras flown aboard sounding rockets obtain dramatic far-ultraviolet images of Comet Halley

1988 - Detection of radioactive cobalt in the massive cloud surrounding the supernova in the Magellanic Cloud. First direct experimental evidence that supernovae are the principal source of heavy elements, such as iron

1988 - Development of a weather-prediction system that provides information to predict the formation, paths, and intensity of maritime storms

1991 - Use of NRL Connection Machine to reconstruct Hubble telescope images

1991 - Observations, by OSSE, of an unusual series of solar flares that were among the most intense solar flares ever to be observed by gamma-ray detectors

1991 - First far-UV observations of shuttle glow and vast interstellar clouds around the constellation Scorpius

1991 - Collection of high-quality ultraviolet (UV) emission images from rocket plumes and natural and man-made UV background data using the NRL Ultraviolet Plume Instrument

1991 - Discovery of cycloid bunching, a new plasma process, and the formation of structures on the surface of diamagnetic cavities produced in plasma, during ongoing studies of data from the Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite

1992 - Discovery of a new belt of radiation trapped in the Earth's magnetic field by NRL and Russian scientists

1992 - Launch of a joint NRL and Russian experiment, aboard a Russian spacecraft, to study the distribution of the cosmic-ray-produced isotope Be7 aboard a Russian spacecraft, the first DoD (and Navy) experiment to be carried onboard a former Soviet Bloc spacecraft

1992 - Detection of large quantities of radioactive cobalt-57 in the remnant of a star that exploded in 1987 by OSSE on NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory

1993 - Decommissioning of the LACE satellite after it far surpassed its 30-month design lifetime in space (launched 2/14/90)

1993 - Design and implementation of a soft X-ray microscope that has recorded images of laser- produced plasmas at a wavelength of 130 Å, with the highest spatial resolution ever achieved

1993 - Launch of NRL's SUSIM and MAS experiments with NASA's ATLAS payload

1993 - First detection of radio emission from the bright supernova SN1993J,, in our neighboring galaxy, M81

1994 - First detailed satellite profile measurements of the 1994 Antarctic ozone hole provided by the NRL's POAM II

1994 - First detection of radio waves from a new, bright exploding star, supernoval 1994I in the nearby galazy Messier 51

1994 - First detection of millisecond pulsar in the extreme UV region using EUVE satellite

1995 - Hard x-ray observation of one of the strongest magnetic fields ever measured in our galaxy, made by OSSE

1995 - First detection of three neutron stars in our local solar neighborhood, using the EUVE satellite

1995 - Preliminary data from NRL's MAHRSI, flown in November 1994, provided unprecedented information on two trace constituents in the middle atmosphere that are believed to determine the natural balance of ozone in the altitude region above 30 kilometers

1995 - Development of the WVMS to monitor chemistry in the middle atmosphere and to trace atmospheric motion

1995 - Development of a revolutionary hyperspectral imaging system, PHILLS, which allows the collection and analysis of high-quality broadband hyperspectral data in near-real time

1995 - Flight of NRL's HRTS on April 18, marking its tenth space flight and twenty years of observations

1995 - Production of the first continuous set of ground-based observation of middle atmospheric water vapor, using two NRL-built WVMS instruments

1996 - Observation by OSSE instrument of a totally new x-ray pulsar (GROJ1744-28) -- believed to be located near the center of our galaxy

1996 - Observation, by NRL's LASCO instrument, of Comet Hyakutake approaching the Sun.

1996 - Detection, by NRL's LASCO instrument, of global short-term disturbances in the solar corona

1996 - Discovery of a new supernova remnant (G0.33+0.04), using wide-field, low-frequency imaging, in the center of our Galaxy

1996 - Derivation of atmospheric winds from geostationary satellite water-vapor imagery, leading to improved warnings and forecasts for tropical cyclones impacting Navy resources around the globe

1997 - OSSE experiment discovers unexpected cloud of antimatter in Milky Way Galaxy



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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,800 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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