December 10, 1954: To determine if a pilot could eject from an airplane at supersonic speed and live, John Paul Stapp, a flight surgeon, boarded Sonic Wind, a rocket sled at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The sled's rocket motors generated 18,000 kg of thrust and he reached a speed of 1000 km/h in five seconds. At the end of the ride Stapp was stopped in 1.25 seconds which subjected him to 40 G's: the equivalent of hitting a brick wall in a car travelling at 190 km/h.
December 12, 1901: Guglielmo Marconi sends the first transatlantic radio signal from Poldhu in Cornwall. It was received by Percy Wright Page in St John's, Newfoundland.
December 12, 1980: Leonardo da Vinci's 36-sheet manuscript Codex Leicester is auctioned at Christie's. It was bought by Armand Hammer for $4.5 million. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a complete manuscript.
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