Ascension Island is a British overseas territory. It was reportedly first spotted in 1501, but its official date of discovery is listed as May 21, 1503. That date was a holiday, Ascension Day, and this is how the island got its name. The area has been under British control since 1815, and it is currently home to a Royal Air Force station with a runway extended to serve as an emergency landing strip for the now decommissioned US Space Shuttles.
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