Vega I was launched by the Soviet Union in 1984. It dropped scientific balloons into the atmosphere of Venus on June 11, 1985, and then made contact with Halley’s Comet in March of 1986. It took many images of the comet and studied the comet’s nucleus and coma. Now Vega I circles the sun. Older children can learn more at: Vega I.
Challenger STS-41-B lifted off into space in 1984. The crew included Robert Gibson, Vance Brand, Ronald McNair, Robert Stewart, and Bruce McCandless. Stewart and McCandless became the first people to move freely in space without tethers. They were able to move about by using backpack jets.
Discovery STS-63 lifted off into space in 1995. On this mission Eileen Collins was the first woman pilot of a space shuttle. Discovery docked with the Russian space station Mir. Children can learn more about Eileen Collins at: Eileen Collins.
Brunei Darussalam celebrates a national holiday. Located on the island of Borneo, it became free of British rule in 1984. This small country (according to the CIA World Factbook, slightly smaller than Delaware) is governed by a sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah. Extremely rich deposits of oil have made Brunei a wealthy country. Around 400,000 people live in the country, and the capital is Bandar Seri Begawan.
Kareem Abdul-Jabar became the highest scorer in the NBA in 1984. Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr., he scored 38,387 points in 1,560 games over twenty years. Children could create math problems regarding his basketball statistics. For example, they could find out his average number of points scored per game.
Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 became the first woman United State vice presidential nominee. She ran with Walter Mondale for the Democrats. They were defeated by Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Joe W. Kittinger became the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon. He left Caribou, Maine, on September 14, 1984, and landed near Capbreton, France, on September 17, 1984. He broke his ankle when he was thrown from the gondola during the stormy landing. The 3,535-mile trip also established a new record for solo distance. Children could view a timeline of hot-air balloon flights at: Hot-Air Balloon Flights.