Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was first observed as a federal holiday.
Soviet Nuclear reactor at Chernobyl explodes on April 26th causing release of radioactive material across much of Europe.
A breakthrough in US-USSR Arms Talks between Reagan and Gorbachev leads to a commitment to disarm, thus ending a long period of instability caused by the Cold War.
Iran-Contra Affair: President Ronald Reagan’s administration sold arms to Iran, an avowed enemy. At the time, Americans were being held hostage in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a militant Shi’a organization loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini. U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese announces that profits from covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Reagan denies involvement in the scandal.
Approximately seven million Americans join hands in “Hands Across America“. It was a benefit to raise awareness and money to fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness.
The experimental airplane Rutan Model 76 Voyager completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight.
The United Kingdom and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel.
British Surgeons perform the world’s first triple transplant (heart, lung and liver).
Space Shuttle Columbia is launched with the first Hispanic-American astronaut, Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz and the first sitting member of the House of Representatives to venture into space, Bill Nelson.
The Soviet Union launches the Mir space station.
Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after launch, killing all 7 on board.
Pixar Animation Studios is opened. It would be nine years before they released their first feature film, Toy Story, in 1995.