Jan. 14, 1966: The Soviet Union’s chief designer, Sergei Korolev, dies from complications stemming from routine surgery, leaving the Soviet space program without its most influential leader of the preceding 20 years.
Feb. 3, 1966: The unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 makes the first soft landing on the Moon.
ARPANET planning starts. In February 1966, Bob Taylor successfully lobbied ARPA’s Director Charles M. Herzfeld to fund a network project. Herzfeld redirected funds in the amount of one million dollars from a ballistic missile defense program to Taylor’s budget. Taylor hired Larry Roberts as a program manager in the ARPA Information Processing Techniques Office in January 1967 to work on the ARPANET.
March 1, 1966: The Soviet Union’s Venera 3 probe becomes the first spacecraft to land on the planet Venus, but its communications system failed before data could be returned.
March 16, 1966: Gemini 8 launches on a Titan 2 rocket and later docks with a previously launched Agena rocket — the first docking between two orbiting spacecraft.
April 3, 1966: The Soviet Luna 10 space probe enters lunar orbit, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon.
June 2, 1966: Surveyor 1, a lunar lander, performs the first successful U.S. soft landing on the Moon.
US President Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act into law on July 4, 1966. Freedom of information laws allows access by the general public to data held by national governments. The emergence of freedom of information legislation was a response to increasing dissatisfaction with the secrecy surrounding government policy development and decision making. They establish a “right-to-know” legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions. Also, variously referred to as open records, or sunshine laws (in the United States), governments are typically bound by a duty to publish and promote openness. In many countries, there are constitutional guarantees for the right of access to information, but these are usually unused if specific support legislation does not exist.
The original Star Trek was shown for the first time on United States NBC on September 8, 1966.
The first broadcast of Batman (the live-action TV series), The Monkees, Dark Shadows, Ultra Series, That Girl, Cathy Come Home, and Mission: Impossible.
Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT wrote a program called Eliza that made the computer act as a psychotherapist in 1966.
Top Film of 1966: A Man For All Seasons
My choice for the top song of 1966 (because the others suck): #10 – The Mamas & The Pappas – California Dreamin’