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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 28

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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
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Born, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (at Naples, Italy), mathematician and astronomer

Born, Johannes Hevelius, Danzig astronomer (star cataloger)

An observation by Galileo may have been discovery of the planet Neptune, 243 years before its existence was generally recognized.

Died, Johannes Hevelius, astronomer (star cataloger), on his 76th birthday

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #142 Polana.

Born, Lucien H d'Azambuja, French astronomer (chromosphere of the Sun)

Lucien Henri d'Azambuja (28 January 1884 - 18 July 1970) devoted his scientific career to the study of solar activity. His 1949 treatise, co-authored with his wife Marguerite and entitled "Etude d'Ensemble des Protuberances Solaires et de leur Evolution", remains a standard reference on the subject.

The Societe Astronomique de France (Astronomical Society of France) was established by Camille Flammarion and 11 other initial members in Flammarion's apartment at 16 rue Cassini, close to the Paris Observatory.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #282 Clorinde.

A. Kopff discovered asteroid #679 Pax.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #862 Franzia.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #1069 Planckia.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1143 Odysseus and #1144 Oda.

A. Patry discovered asteroid #1516 Henry.

Born, John M. Fabian (at Goosecreek, Texas, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 7, STS 51-G; over 13d 4h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut John Fabian, NASA photo (June 1983)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

Born, David C. Hilmers (at Clinton, Iowa, USA), Colonel USMC, NASA astronaut (STS 51-J, STS 26, STS 36, STS 42; over 20d 14.25h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut David Hilmers, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

Born, Leonid Konstantinovich Kadenyuk (at Klishkovtsy, Chernovtsy Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), General Ukrainian AF, Ukrainian cosmonaut (STS 87; over 15d 16.5h in spaceflight) (deceased)

Cosmonaut Leonid Kadenyuk (1997)
Source: Wikipedia

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1615 Bardwell.

The first public demonstration of "satellite communications" was made with a photograph of the USS Hancock (CVA-19) bounced off the Moon between Oahu, Hawaii and Washington, DC.

NASA's Ranger 3 passed the Moon at a distance of 36,800 km (22,000 miles) and went into heliocentric orbit. (It was supposed to impact the Lunar surface.)

Ranger 3 was designed to transmit pictures of the Lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of Lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. Due to a series of malfunctions the spacecraft missed the Moon.

The mission was designed to be boosted towards the Moon by an Atlas/Agena, undergo one mid-course correction, and impact the Lunar surface. At the appropriate altitude a capsule was to separate and retrorockets would ignite to cushion the capsule's landing. After launch on 26 January 1962, a malfunction in the booster guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft speed. Reversed command signals caused the spacecraft to pitch the wrong direction and the TM antenna to lose Earth acquisition, and so the mid-course correction was not possible. Finally, a spurious signal during the terminal maneuver prevented transmission of useful TV pictures. Ranger 3 missed the Moon by approximately 36,800 km (22,000 miles) on 28 January and is now in a heliocentric orbit. Some useful engineering data were obtained from the flight.

K. Jensen and K. Augustesen discovered asteroid #3309 Brorfelde.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3064 Zimmer.

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
As it ascended toward orbit, NASA's Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven crew members.

STS 51-L was the first Shuttle liftoff scheduled from Pad B, the 25th launch of a Space Shuttle and the tenth launch of the Challenger. The launch was initially set for 3:43 p.m. EST, 22 January 1986, slipped to 23 January, then 24 January, due to delays in Mission 61-C. The launch was reset for 25 January because of bad weather at the transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site in Dakar, Senegal. To utilize Casablanca (not equipped for night landings) as alternate TAL site, T-zero was moved to a morning liftoff time. The launch was again postponed a day when launch processing was unable to meet the new morning liftoff time. Prediction of unacceptable weather at KSC led to the launch being rescheduled for 9:37 a.m. EST, 27 January. The launch was delayed 24 hours again when a ground servicing equipment hatch-closing fixture could not be removed from the orbiter hatch. The fixture was sawed off and an attaching bolt drilled out before closeout was completed. During the delay, cross winds exceeded return-to-launch-site limits at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility. The launch on 28 January was delayed two hours when a hardware interface module in the launch processing system, which monitors fire detection system, failed during liquid hydrogen tanking procedures. An explosion 73 seconds after liftoff, the result of the failure of an O-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster (SRB), claimed the crew and vehicle. Shuttle flights were halted while an extensive investigation into the accident and an assessment of the Shuttle program was conducted.

Among the crew was Christa McAuliffe, scheduled to be the first teacher in space. Planned objectives were deployment of Tracking Data Relay Satellite-2 (TDRS-2), and flying of the Shuttle-Pointed Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN-203)/Halley's Comet Experiment Deployable, a free-flying module designed to observe the tail and coma of Halley's comet with two ultraviolet spectrometers and two cameras. Other payloads were the Fluid Dynamics Experiment (FDE); the Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP); the Phase Partitioning Experiment (PPE); three Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments; and a set of lessons for the Teacher in Space Project (TISP).

Launch weight: 268,829 pounds. Mission duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds. Orbit altitude: 150 nautical miles (planned). Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees (planned). Miles traveled: 18 miles.

The STS 51-L flight crew was: Francis R. Scobee, Commander; Michael J. Smith, Pilot; Judith A. Resnik, Mission Specialist 1; Ellison S. Onizuka, Mission Specialist 2; Ronald E. McNair, Mission Specialist 3; Gregory B. Jarvis, Payload Specialist 1; Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist 2 (TISP).

See also STS-51L on Wikipedia

Shuttle Challenger STS-51L at liftoff with smoke leaking from the SRB
NASA photo from camera site 39B-2/T3
Source: Wikipedia

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Christa McAuliffe, civilian American astronaut (STS 51-L/Challenger 10), chosen to be first teacher in space

Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe (2 September 1948 - 28 January 1986) was an American schoolteacher who was chosen to be the first teacher in space. She would have been the first civilian astronaut in space, except that McAuliffe was killed, along with her six fellow astronauts, when NASA's Space Shuttle Challenger Mission STS 51-L exploded only 73 seconds after its launch on the morning of 28 January 1986. McAuliffe was born Sharon Christa Corrigan in Boston, Massachusetts, and taught at Concord High School in Concord, New Hampshire, before being chosen from over 11,000 applicants for the Space Shuttle mission. McAuliffe was married and had two children.

NASA selected McAuliffe for the Teacher In Space (TISP) program in the summer of 1984 and in the fall she took a year-long leave of absence from teaching, and trained for an early 1986 Shuttle mission. She had an immediate rapport with the media, and the TISP program received tremendous popular attention as a result. It is in part because of the excitement over McAuliffe's presence on the Challenger that the accident had such a significant impact on the nation.

See also Wikipedia

TISP astronaut Christa McAuliffe, NASA photo S85-41239 (26 Sept. 1985)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Ellison Shoji Onizuka, NASA astronaut (STS 51-C, STS 51-L/Challenger 10; over 3d 1.5h in spaceflight), the first Asian-American in space

Ellison Shoji Onizuka (24 June 1946 - 28 January 1986) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, an aerospace engineer, and a NASA astronaut. Onizuka flew on two Space Shuttle missions; he died in the Challenger explosion on 28 January 1986 where he was serving as mission specialist on mission STS 51-L.

Onizuka received a Bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering in June 1969, and a Master's in that field in December of the same year, from the University of Colorado. He then entered active duty with the United States Air Force, where he served as a flight test engineer and as a test pilot.

He had been selected for the astronaut program in January 1978, and had previously flown on mission STS 51-C on Space Shuttle Discovery in January 1985, also serving as a mission specialist.

Astronaut Ellison Shoji Onizuka, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, Lt. Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 41-C, STS 51-L/Challenger 10; nearly 6d 23.75h in spaceflight)

Francis Richard "Dick" Scobee (19 May 1939 - 28 January 1986) was an American astronaut who died commanding the Space Shuttle Challenger, which suffered catastrophic booster failure during launch of the STS 51-L mission.

Selected for NASA's astronaut program in January 1978, Scobee completed his training in August 1979. While awaiting his first orbital spaceflight mission, he served as an instructor pilot for the shuttle's 747 carrier aircraft. In April 1984, Scobee piloted the Challenger mission STS 41-C, which successfully deployed one satellite and repaired another.

Scobee was elevated to the role of spacecraft commander for the ill-fated STS 51-L mission, designed to deploy a satellite to study the approaching Halley's Comet and to inaugurate the Teacher in Space Project. STS 51-L was delayed numerous times due to bad weather and technical glitches. When it finally did lift off the pad, an O-ring seal failure caused an explosion 73 seconds into the flight, killing Scobee and the other six members of the crew. The tragedy, viewed live on television across the globe, prompted several days of national mourning, as well as a major shakeup at NASA.

Astronaut Dick Scobee, NASA photo (6 August 1984)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Gregory Jarvis, NASA astronaut (STS 51-L/Challenger 10)

Gregory Bruce Jarvis (24 August 1944 - 28 January 1986) was an American astronaut who died during the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS 51-L, where he was serving as payload specialist.

He received a B.A. in electrical engineering from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) in 1967, and a Master's in the same discipline from Northeastern University in 1969.

While pursuing his master's degree at Northeastern, Mr. Jarvis worked at Raytheon in Bedford, Massachusetts, where he was involved in circuit design on the SAM-D missile. In July 1969, he entered active duty in the Air Force and was assigned to the Space Division in El Segundo, California. As a Communications Payload Engineer, in the Satellite Communications Program Office, he worked on advanced tactical communications satellites. He was involved in the concept formulation, source selection, and early design phase of the FLTSATCOM communications payload. After being honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1973, with the rank of Captain, he joined Hughes Aircraft Company's Space and Communications group, where he worked as a Communications Subsystem Engineer on the MARISAT Program. In 1975, he became the MARISAT F-3 Spacecraft Test and Integration Manager. In 1976, the MARISAT F-3 was placed in geosynchronous orbit. Jarvis became a member of the Systems Applications Laboratory in 1976, and was involved in the concept definition for advanced UHF and SHF communications for the strategic forces. Joining the Advanced Program Laboratory in 1978, he began working on the concept formulation and subsequent proposal for the SYNCON IV/LEASAT Program. In 1979, he became the Power/Thermal/Harness Subsystem Engineer on the LEASAT Program. In 1981, he became the Spacecraft Bus System Engineering and in 1982, the Assistant Spacecraft System Engineering Manager. He was the Test and Integration Manager for the F-1, F-2, and F-3 spacecraft and the cradle in 1983, where he worked until the shipment of the F-1 spacecraft and cradle to Cape Kennedy for integration into the Orbiter. Both the F-1 and F-2 LEASAT spacecraft have successfully achieved their geosynchronous positions. Mr. Jarvis worked on advanced satellite designs in the Systems Application Laboratory.

Mr. Jarvis was selected as a payload specialist candidate in July 1984.

Astronaut Gregory Jarvis, NASA photo (1985)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Judy Resnik, NASA astronaut (STS 41-D, STS 51-L/Challenger 10; nearly 6d 1h in spaceflight)

Judith Arlene Resnik (5 April 1949 - 28 January 1986) was an astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion during the launch of the mission STS 51-L.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Dr. Resnik received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970, and a doctorate in that field in 1977 at the University of Maryland. After graduation from Carnegie-Mellon, she was employed at RCA where she was a design engineer, and later worked with various NASA projects contracted to the company. While working toward her doctorate, Dr. Resnik was affiliated with the National Institutes of Health as a biomedical engineer. She later worked as a systems engineer with Xerox Corporation.

Dr. Resnik was selected for the astronaut program in January 1978, and had served as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS 41-D), August-September 1984. She was likewise a mission specialist aboard the Challenger.

in honor of her work, a crater on Venus and Asteroid 3356 ware named after her.

Astronaut Judy Resnik, NASA photo (21 September 1978)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Michael J. Smith, Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 51-L/Challenger 10)

Michael John Smith (30 April 1945 - 28 January 1986) was an American astronaut, pilot of the Space Shuttle Challenger when it exploded because of booster failure on the STS 51-L mission. All seven crew members died.

Smith was selected for the astronaut program in May 1980. In addition to being pilot on the Challenger, he had been slated to pilot a future shuttle mission which had been scheduled for Fall of 1986.

Astronaut Michael J. Smith, NASA photo (8 January 1981)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable January 2020)

1986 11:39:13 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Ronald McNair, NASA astronaut (STS 41-B, STS 51-L/Challenger 10; 7d 23.25h in spaceflight)

Ronald Erwin McNair (21 October 1950 - 28 January 1986) was one of the astronauts killed in the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, mission STS 51-L.

Dr. McNair received a B.S. in physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He also received honorary doctorates in 1978, 1980 and 1984. After graduation from MIT, he became a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Laboratories.

During the 1970s actress Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame was employed by NASA to recruit minority candidates for the space program. Dr. McNair became one of these candidates, was selected for the astronaut program in 1978 and had flown a mission on the Challenger in February 1984 as a mission specialist.

Dr. McNair was a saxophonist; before the mission he worked with composer Jean Michel Jarre on a piece of music, Rendez-vous VI. It was intended that he would record his saxophone solo on board Challenger, making it the first piece of music played in space. After the disaster, the piece was renamed Ron's Piece.

Astronaut Ron McNair, NASA photo S78-35300 (21 January 1978)
Source: NASA Image and Video Library

T. Niijima and T. Urata discovered asteroid #3585.

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