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Delaware: First State

JOINED UNION: December 7, 1787
STATE BIRD: Blue Hen Chicken
STATE FLOWER: Peach Blossom
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Named after an early Virginia governor, Lord De La Warr
1992 POPULATION: 689,214
LAND AREA: 1,955 square miles
ECONOMY: Chemical industry, processed foods, agriculture
HISTORY: Early Dutch settlers in the 1630s were killed off by local Indians, called the Delaware. Swedes followed a few years later and then new Dutch settlers arrived and took over in the 1650s. The area fell to England by 1664 and came under the rule of William Penn by the 1680s. Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution in 1787. While a slave state, Delaware did not join the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Pegasus: Cheap Route to Space

1989 AD


The Pegasus rocket is the most important breakthrough in years for getting small satellites into orbit cheaply.

Several private companies had tried to develop small rockets to get into space inexpensively, but Pegasus was the first to be successful. The rocket was a private project developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation of Fairfax, Virginia and Hercules Aerospace Company of Wilmington, Delaware.

The companies came up with the idea of a small, winged rocket that would be carried into the air under a B-52 bomber. This would allow it to get to high altitude without using any fuel. At 12 kilometers (40,000 feet), the rocket is released and its engine fired. Using three stages, the solid-fuel Pegasus then flies into orbit.

The $45 million Pegasus is 15 meters (49 feet) long, 1.3 meters (50 inches) in diameter, and with a wing span of seven meters (22 feet). It weighs 20 tons and can carry a payload of up to half a ton.

Potential customers include the military, which has been especially interested in using it to get Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") weapons and instruments into orbit; NASA, which would use it to send up small scientific instruments; and many nations that do not have rockets of their own.

Thanks to miniaturization, a great deal of scientific instrumentation can be packaged into half a ton.Because of budget cuts in the space programs of most nations, researchers are increasingly looking at using this low-cost rocket to launch relatively inexpensive miniature spacecraft. Much of the space science of the future will be conducted with these small satellites and space probes.

American As A Log Cabin



Along with apple pie, the log cabin is often used as a symbol of America. The log cabin reached mythic status as the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln, signifying his common American roots. It was also used by William Harrison in his successful 1840 campaign for the presidency. With a "log cabin and hard cider" slogan, Harrison portrayed himself as a man of the people.

Actually, the log cabin is an import from Finland, a land full of forests. When Finns came to Delaware in 1638, they brought their native architecture with them. It was a style of house that many pioneers and woodsmen built, because the materials were readily available. And while the log cabin had simple construction, although a little rough, it also gave them quick shelter, which was often needed.

The one-story log cabin is made of notched wood logs that are fitted together at these notches. The air spaces between the logs are then filled, or "caulked," with fire-hardened clay. The log cabin also has a large clay-plastered chimney, which warms the house.


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