January 21, 1954: The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, is launched at Groton, Connecticut.
January 21, 1976: The Concorde supersonic jet begins passenger service with flights from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro, cruising at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2) at an altitude of up to 60,000 feet.
January 22, 1973: Abortion becomes legal in the U.S. as the Supreme Court announces its decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade, striking down local and state laws restricting abortions in the first six months of pregnancy. In more recent rulings (1989 and 1992) the Court upheld the power of individual states to impose some restrictions.
January 23, 1968: The American ship USS Pueblo is seized by North Koreans in the Sea of Japan amid claims that the Navy ship was spying. The ship is confiscated and its crew held in captivity until December, with one fatality.
January 25, 1959: An American Airlines Boeing 707 makes the first scheduled transcontinental U.S. flight, traveling from California to New York.
January 25, 1961: President John F. Kennedy conducts the first live televised presidential news conference, five days after taking office.
January 27, 1945: The Russian Army liberates the Auschwitz death camp near Krakow, Poland, where the Nazis had systematically murdered an estimated 2,000,000 persons, including 1,500,000 Jews.
January 27, 1967: Three American astronauts–Edward H. White, Virgil I. Grissom, and Roger B. Chaffee–are killed as a fire erupts inside Apollo I during a launch simulation test at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
January 27, 1973: U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ends as North Vietnamese and American representatives sign an agreement in Paris. The U.S. agrees to remove all remaining troops within 60 days, thus ending the longest war in American history (18 years). Over 58,000 Americans had been killed, 300,000 wounded, and 2,500 declared missing. A total of 566 prisoners of war had been held by the North Vietnamese during the war, with 55 reported deaths.