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Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on October 13th.

25 Years Ago

October 13, 1994 – Thursday

“Magellan Plunges To Its Death on Venus”


Magellan dived toward its doom in the atmosphere of Venus after scientists wearing black armbands performed the last experiment in a successful five-year mission. 

Scientists received the last signals from the craft at 3:02 a.m. PDT Wednesday, when power aboard the Magellan craft apparently ran too low to continue transmissions, said project manager Douglas G. Griffith at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

Although the mission was considered dead, researchers said the final crash into Venus’ surface was probably still a day away, Griffith said. 

Tuesday, five measured thruster bursts changed the orbit of the $900 million spacecraft, starting it on a descent through murky miles of searing-hot carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds. 

While no longer sending data Earthward, the craft was still orbiting Venus Wednesday, steadily losing altitude. It was expected to reach the surface possibly in several pieces because of the crushing atmospheric pressure early this afternoon. But there will never be any way of knowing exactly how Magellan met its doom.

The plunge provided information that could result in construction of more streamlined spacecraft. With no way to return the failing spacecraft to Earth, researchers decided to squeeze the last bit of data from its demise. 

“It will slow down to almost nothing and flutter down to its death,” Griffith said before communications were lost. 

The fall was an experiment to explore the spacecraft’s aerodynamics as it plows through Venus’ atmosphere.  The information could aid in designing spacecraft that can stay in orbit longer. It also may help in programming the flight of the Mars Global Surveyor, which will be launched in 1996. 

On Tuesday, mission director James M. Stewart passed out a roll of black crepe and mission specialists made themselves armbands. 

“Sure, it seems kind of sad to us to do it, but we’re ending the mission on a very positive note,” he said. 

“Sentimental? Yes,” Lock said. 

“This has been a fabulous mission.” 

Magellan, launched in 1989, completed more than 15,000 orbits around Venus since 1990. Using radar, it mapped virtually all of Earth’s nearest neighbor.  For the first time, the bright and mysterious star towering volcanoes and crisp-edged craters.  

The mission provided more data than all previous National Aeronautics and Space Administration combined, with years of data analysis ahead.

50 Years Ago

Oct 13, 1969 Friday

“Chambersburg Fire Demonstration at Scotland School”

SCOTLAND — Students and faculty at Scotland School for Veterans Children received a first-hand demonstration of the effectiveness of Franklin County fire-fighting units Friday afternoon. Six area companies turned out for a Fire Prevention Week drill at the school. 

Trucks from West End Shippensburg, Fayetteville, Franklin Rural, Cumberland, Junior, of Chambersburg, and Scotland School, arrived at Cottage 19 promptly at 1:30, as the drill began. 

Students watched from nearby lawns, as firemen watered down the building and lawn behind the cottage. Smokey the Bear circulated among the children, shaking hands with the youngsters. 

The drill and demonstration lasted 20 miNutes. All companies participating are normally on call for Scotland School.

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100 Years Ago

October 13, 1919 – Friday


Liberty Bond Information

THE CHAMBERSBURG TRUST COMPANY is “now prepared to cash your Fourth Liberty Loan Coupons, due October 15th.  They also have Safety Deposit Boxes for rent for $1.00 a year.

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