Balloon Ascension Day – January 9th

In 1793 on this day in Philadelphia, Jena Pierre Blanchard filled a large yellow ballon with hydrogen and took to the skies. In attendance to witness the spectacle was General George Washington, and some French Dignitaries. Blanchard was famous in Europe as an aeronaut, and was dedicated to being the first to go airborne in the New World.

He landed almost an hour later 15 miles southeast of his launch position. A few farmers witnessed his landing, and after some communication difficulties they helped him load his aircraft upon a wagon and brought him back to Philadelphia.

You can celebrate today by launching your own balloons and watching them drift away. We’d recommend staying away from hydrogen, and instead fill your balloons with helium as it is safer.

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