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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 14

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Died, Edmund Halley, English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist

Edmond (or Edmund) Halley (29 October 1656 (Julian calendar) (8 November Gregorian) - 14 January 1742) had an extensive career which included charting stars in the southern hemisphere; identifying solar heating as the cause of atmospheric motion and correlating barometric pressure with altitude; publishing an article on life annuities which strongly influenced the development of actuarial science; charting compass variations across the Atlantic ocean; and succeeding John Flamsteed as Astronomer Royal. He is perhaps best known for his suggestion that the comet sightings of 1456, 1531, 1607 and 1682 related to the same comet, which became generally known as Halley's Comet when it returned in 1758 as he predicted it would.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #555 Norma.

Born, Frank F Holden, British/American astronomer (southern hemisphere binary stars)

G Van Biesbroeck discovered asteroid #1079 Mimosa.

Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1556 Wingolfia, #1557 Roehla and #1849 Kresak.

Born, Shannon W. Lucid PhD (at Shanghai, China), NASA astronaut (STS 51G, STS 34, STS 43, STS 58, Mir 21/22, over 223 total days in space)

Astronaut Shannon Lucid, NASA photo

Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to travel via airplane on official business (Miami, Florida to Casablanca, Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill to discuss World War II).

US Senator L. B. Johnson, then chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Space and Astronautics, urged the U.S. to ask all nations to join "this adventure into outer space" in a radio address.

Died, Sergei Korolev (age 59), leader of Soviet space program, possibly from a failed hemorrhoid operation

1969 07:30:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 4 with cosmonaut Shatalov aboard for rendezvous and docking with Soyuz 5.

Soyuz 4 was launched 14 January 1969, the first manned spacecraft launched by the USSR during the winter. On board was cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov on his first flight. The aim of the mission was to dock with Soyuz 5, transfer two crew members from that spacecraft and reenter. The two spacecraft docked on 16 January, the first time two manned spacecraft had docked. Khrunov and Yeliseyev immediately began preparing for their EVA aboard Soyuz 5. Volynov, who would remain on Soyuz 5, filmed them donning their Yastreb space suits. On their 35th revolution of Earth aboard Soyuz 5, they exited the spacecraft, on the second ever Soviet spacewalk. One of Khrunov's lines became tangled and he accidentally closed the tumbler of his suit ventilator. Although he freed the line, the incident distracted Yeliseyev who did not set up the movie camera on the orbital module before exiting the spacecraft. Consequently, there is no film of the historic EVA, only a poor video transmission. The spacewalkers delivered newspapers, letters, and telegrams printed after Shatalov lifted off to help prove that the transfer took place since they returned to Earth a day earlier than Soyuz 5. Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after being docked 4 hours 35 minutes. Soyuz 4 reentered on 17 January 1969 and landed 100 km southwest of Karaganda, now in Kazakhstan.

See also

L Kohoutek discovered asteroids #1842 Hynek, #1843 Jarmila, #1901 Moravia, #1933 Tinchen and #2900 Lubos Perek.

Died, Kurt Godel, mathematician

Kurt Godel (28 April 1906 - 14 January 1978) was a logician, mathematician, and philosopher of mathematics, originally born in Austria-Hungary, and finally a US citizen after World War II.

He was a deep logician whose most famous work was the incompleteness theorem stating that any self-consistent axiomatic system powerful enough to describe integer arithmetic will allow for propositions about integers that can neither be proven nor disproven from the axioms. He also produced celebrated work on the Continuum hypothesis, showing that it cannot be disproven from the accepted set theory axioms, assuming that those axioms are consistent. Godel made important contributions to proof theory; he clarified the connections between classical logic, intuitionistic logic and modal logic by defining translations between them.

Kurt Godel is arguably the greatest logician of the twentieth century and one of the three greatest logicians of all time, the other two of this historical triumvirate being Aristotle and Frege.

E Bowell discovered asteroid #2762 Fowler.

1994 08:18:20 GMT
USSR Soyuz TM-17 landed with cosmonauts Tsibliyev and Serebrov aboard after a minor collision with Mir while attempting photography.

2008 19:04:39 GMT
NASA's MESSENGER made its fourth planetary flyby on its way to Mercury orbit, passing Mercury at roughly 200 km altitude in its heliocentric orbit.

The Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission was designed to study the characteristics and environment of Mercury from orbit. Specifically, the scientific objectives of the mission were to characterize the chemical composition of Mercury's surface, the geologic history, the nature of the magnetic field, the size and state of the core, the volatile inventory at the poles, and the nature of Mercury's exosphere and magnetosphere over a nominal orbital mission of one Earth year.

MESSENGER launched into a parking orbit on 3 August 2004 on a Delta 7925H (a Delta II Heavy launch vehicle with nine strap-on solid-rocket boosters). The Delta booster second stage's second burn raised the orbit, then the PAM-D solid motor burned to put the probe on an escape trajectory into a 0.92 x 1.08 AU x 6.4 deg heliocentric orbit. The spacecraft was injected into solar orbit 57 minutes after launch. The solar panels were then deployed and the spacecraft began sending data on its status.

One year after launch, on 2 August 2005, MESSENGER flew by Earth at an altitude of 2347 km. On 12 December 2005 at 11:30 UT, MESSENGER fired its large thruster for 524 seconds, changing the spacecraft velocity by 316 m/s and putting it on course for its 24 October 2006 Venus flyby at an altitude of 2990 km. The second Venus flyby took place on 5 June 2007 at 23:08 UT (7:08 p.m. EDT) at an altitude of approximately 337 km. The first of three Mercury flybys, all at roughly 200 km altitude, occurred on 14 January 2008 at 19:04 :39 UT, and the second on 6 October 2008 at 08:40:22 UT. The third took place on 29 September 2009 at 21:54:58 UT at a distance of 228 km. There were also five deep space manuevers. Data collected during the Mercury flybys was used to help plan the scientific campaign during the orbital phase.

Mercury orbit insertion took place with a 15 minute burn starting at 00:45 UT on 18 March 2011 (8:45 p.m. 17 March EDT) requiring a delta-V of 0.862 km/s from the Aerojet 660N engine. Science observations began on April 4 at 20:40 UT (4:40 p.m. EDT). The nominal orbit had a periapsis of 200 km at 60 degrees N latitude, an apoapsis of 15,193 km, a period of 12 hours and an inclination of 80 degrees. The periapsis slowly rose due to solar perturbations to over 400 km at the end of 88 days (one Mercury year) at which point it was readjusted to a 200 km, 12 hour orbit via a two burn sequence.

Data was collected from orbit for one Earth year, the end of the primary mission was in March 2012. Extensions to the mission allowed the spacecraft to operate for an additional 3 years until the propellant necessary to maintain its orbit was exhausted. The MESSENGER spacecraft impacted the surface of Mercury as planned on 30 April 2015 at 19:26 UT (3:26 p.m. EDT).

Global stereo image coverage at 250 m/pixel resolution was completed. The mission has also yielded global composition maps, a 3-D model of Mercury's magnetosphere, topographic profiles of the northern hemisphere, gravity field, altitude profiles of elemental species, and a characterization of the volatiles in permanently shadowed craters at the poles.

The MESSENGER spacecraft was a squat box (1.27 m x 1.42 m x 1.85 m) with a semi-cylindrical thermal shade (roughly 2.5 meters tall and 2 meters wide) for protection from the Sun and two solar panel wings extending radially about 6 meters from tip to tip. A 3.6 meter magnetometer boom also extended from the craft. The total mass of the spacecraft was 1093 kg, 607.8 kg of which was propellant and helium. The structure was primarily graphite-cyanate-ester (GrCE) composite and consisted of two vertical panels which supported two large fuel tanks, and two vertical panels which supported the oxidizer tank and plumbing panel. The four vertical panels made up the center column and were bolted at their aft ends to an aluminum adapter. A single top deck panel mounted the LVA (large velocity adjust) thruster, small thrusters, helium and auxiliary fuel tanks, star trackers and battery.

Main propulsion was via the 645-N, 317-s bipropellant LVA thruster, four 22-N monopropellant thrusters providing spacecraft steering during main thruster burns, and ten 4-N monopropellant thrusters used for attitude control. There was also a reaction-wheel attitude control system. Knowledge for attitude control was provided by star tracking cameras, an inertial measurement unit, and six solar sensors. Power was provided by the solar panels, which extended beyond the sunshade and were rotatable to balance panel temperature and power generation, and provided a nominal 450 W in Mercury orbit. The panels were 70% optical solar reflectors and 30% GaAs/Ge cells. The power was stored in a common-pressure-vessel nickel-hydrogen battery, with 11 vessels and 2 cells per vessel.

Communications were in the X-band, with downlink through two fixed phased-array antenna clusters, and uplink and downlink through medium- and low-gain antennas on the forward and aft sides of the spacecraft. Passive thermal control, primarily a fixed opaque ceramic cloth sunshade, was utilized to maintain operating temperatures near the Sun. Radiators were built into the structure and the orbit was optimized to minimize infrared and visible light heating of the spacecraft from the surface of Mercury. Multilayer insulation, low conductivity couplings, and heaters were also used to maintain temperatures within operating limits.

Five science instruments were mounted externally on the bottom deck of the main body: the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer (GRNS), X-ray Spectrometer (XRS), Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS). The Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) was mounted on the side and top deck and the magnetometer (MAG) was at the end of the 3.6 m boom. Radio Science (RS) experiments used the existing communications system.

The highly successful orbital mission came to an end after more than four years in orbit around Mercury, as the spacecraft ran out of propellant and the force of solar gravity caused it to impact the surface of Mercury at 3:26 p.m. EDT on 30 April 2015.

More information about the spacecraft and its research results can be found on the MESSENGER Web site at John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

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