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 . Space History News - People and events in development of space travel Space History News - People and events in development of space travel Space History News - People and events in development of space travel  

Space History for January 9

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Jean-Pierre Francois Blanchard, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, became the first person to fly in a free-flight balloon in the United States. The event was watched by President George Washington.

Died, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Italian mathematician (first book discussing both differential and integral calculus)

The French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype photography process.

Thomas Henderson announced the first measurment of stellar parallax (1", Alpha Centauri) from measurements he had made in 1832-33 while director at the Cape of Good Hope Observatory.

Died, Caroline Herschel, Germany, the first modern woman astronomer

Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 - 9 January 1848) was a German-born English astronomer. She worked with her brother Sir William Herschel. Her main contribution to astronomy was the discovery of some new comets. In particular, the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet bears her name.

Born, Karel Čapek, Czech author, inventor of the word robot

Karel Čapek (9 January 1890 - 25 December 1938), was one of the most important Czech writers of the 20th century. He introduced and made popular the frequently used international word robot, which first appeared in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1920.

Čapek wrote with intelligence and humor on a wide variety of subjects; his works known not only for interesting and exact descriptions of reality, but also for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author who wrote long before science fiction became established as a separate genre. He can be counted as one of the founders of classical non-hardcore European science fiction, which focuses on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of the revolutionary inventions and processes that were already expected in the first half of 20th century, including mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders.

New England Telephone and Telegraph installed the first battery-operated telephone switchboard in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Died, Aaron Lufkin Dennison, father of American watchmaking (interchangeable parts)

M. Wolf discovered asteroids #464 Megaira and #467 Laura.

Juan de la Cierva made the first autogyro flight.

L. Volta discovered asteroid #1332 Marconi.

A. Patry discovered asteroid #3142 Kilopi; and Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #1424 Sundmania.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #3383 Koyama.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #2391 Tomita.

R. M. West discovered asteroid #2117 Danmark.

B. A. Skiff discovered asteroids #3140, #3505 and #3684.

1990 07:35:00 EST (GMT -5:13:20)
NASA launched STS 32 (Columbia 9, 33rd Shuttle mission, 64th US manned mission) to deploy SYNCOM IV-F5 and retrieve LDEF.

STS 32 was launched 9 January 1990 after being postponed to complete and verify modifications of the launch pad, and by weather. The primary objectives were deployment of the SYNCOM IV-F5 defense communications satellite, and retrieval of NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). SYNCOM IV-F5 (also known as LEASAT 5) was deployed first, and used a third stage Minuteman solid perigee kick motor to propel the satellite to geosynchronous orbit. LDEF was retrieved on flight day four using the remote manipulator system.

The middeck payloads were: Characterization of Neurospora Circadian Rhythms (CNCR); Protein Crystal Growth (PCG); Fluid Experiment Apparatus (FEA); American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE); Latitude/Longitude Locator (L3); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); IMAX camera; and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

The mission ended when Columbia landed on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California on 20 January 1990. Rollout distance: 10,096 feet. Rollout time: 62 seconds. Launch weight: 255,994 pounds. Landing weight: 228,335 pounds. Mission duration: 10 days, 21 hours, zero minutes, 36 seconds. Orbit altitude: 178 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Miles traveled: 4.5 million. Landing weight: 228,335 pounds. Columbia landed on revolution 172. It was the longest Space Shuttle flight to date. The orbiter was returned to KSC 26 January 1990.

The STS 32 flight crew was: Daniel C. Brandenstein, Commander; James D. Wetherbee, Pilot; Bonnie J. Dunbar, Mission Specialist 1; G. David Low, Mission Specialist 2; Marsha S. Ivins, Mission Specialist 3.

Asteroid 1992AD was discovered 4.8 billion km from the Sun.

The first discovery of extrasolar planets was announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.

Aleksander Wolszczan, a Polish/American astronomer, conducted observations during 1990 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which led him to the discovery of the pulsar PSR B1257+12. The data analysis performed after the discovery showed the pulsar is orbited by two planets, with mass 3.4 and 2.8 times that of Earth's mass. Their orbits are 0.36 and 0.47 AU respectively. This planetary system was the first extra-solar system discovered whose existence has been proved.

Wolszczan published his findings on 9 January 1992 and 22 April 1994. In spite of initial misgivings by some experts, his discovery is regarded as fully substantiated.

Valeri Polyakov completed 366 days in space while aboard the Mir space station, breaking the existing duration record. His stay ultimately became 437.7 days, ending on 22 March 1995.

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