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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 February 3

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Congress appropriated $10,000 for Samuel Morse to lay a telegraph line from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, MD, Wilmington, DE, Philadelphia, PA, Trenton, NJ, and New York, NY.

Died (age 87), Jean-Baptiste Biot, French physicist, balloonist, astronomer, established the reality of meteorites, studied polarization of light

Joseph Swan demonstrated a light bulb using carbon glow as the source of illumination to an audience in England of over seven hundred people at the lecture theatre of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne.

J Helffrich discovered asteroids #708 Raphaela and #709 Fringilla.

Died, Edward Charles Pickering, American astronomer, physicist (discovered the first spectroscopic binary stars with Carl Vogel)

J Comas Sola discovered asteroid #945 Barcelona.

Died, Oliver Heaviside, self-taught British engineer, mathematician, physicist. Although at odds with the scientific establishment for most of his life, Heaviside changed the face of mathematics and science.

E Delporte discovered asteroid #1145 Robelmonte.

S Arend discovered asteroids #1352 Wawel, #1969 Alain and #2689 Bruxelles.

1963 09:29:14 GMT
USSR launched Luna E-6 No.3 (tentative NASA ID Luna 1963B), a Lunar soft-landing attempt that failed to reach orbit due to a gyroscope malfunction.

Luna E-6 No.3 (tentative NASA ID Luna 1963B) was launched 3 February 1963 from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, identified by NASA at the time as an attempt at a soft-landing on the Moon. The 1,422-kilogram (3,135 lb) Ye-6 (Luna E-6) lander bus was 2.7 m high and about 1.5 m across at the base. It consisted of a cylindrical section containing maneuvering and landing rockets and fuel, orientation devices and radio transmitters and a spherical top containing the 100 kg lander. The lander would be ejected onto the surface after the main body touched down, carrying a camera and devices to measure radiation. Launched on an SL-6/A-2-e (Molniya-L 8K78L), the spacecraft failed to reach Earth orbit due to a torque sensor malfunction in the gyroscope used to control the pitch of the upper stage 105.5 seconds after takeoff. The two upper stages crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Midway Island.

See also

The US FAA began a six month test of reactions to sonic booms over Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

1965 16:33:00 GMT
Orbiting Solar Observatory 2 was launched into an Earth orbit with a periapsis of 435 km, apoapsis of 466 km, and inclination of 32.9 degrees.

1966 07:41:00 GMT
NASA launched the first operational weather satellite, ESSA-1.

1966 18:45:30 GMT
USSR Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon, and returned the first pictures from the Lunar surface.

Luna 9, launched 31 January 1966, was the first spacecraft to successfully achieve a soft landing on the Moon, and to transmit photographic data to Earth. The landing probe, which weighed 99 Kg (218 lb), was a hermetically sealed container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system.

Luna 9 was carried to Earth orbit by an A-2-E vehicle, then conveyed toward the Moon by a fourth stage rocket that separated itself from the payload. Flight apparatus separated from the payload shortly before Luna 9 landed. After landing in the Ocean of Storms on 3 February 1966, the four petals, which formed the shell of the spacecraft, opened outward and stabilized the spacecraft in an upright position on the Lunar surface. The spring-loaded antennas assumed their operating positions, and the television camera retractable mirror system, which operated by revolving and tilting, began a photographic survey of the Lunar environment. Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series of TV pictures. When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the nearby Lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and of the horizon 1.4 km away from the spacecraft.

Lunar surface close-up image from the Luna 9 lander in February, 1966 in the Oceanus Procellarum

USSR Salyut 4 reentered the Earth's atmosphere and was destroyed after its deorbit maneuver was executed on 2 February.

Salyut 4 basic flight objectives: Unmanned orbiting space workshop to further test design, onboard systems, and equipment; scientific-technical studies conducted by visiting Soyuz crews. Summary of results: Successful; manned by Soyuz 17 (11 January 1975 - 10 February 1975, 30 days) and Soyuz 18 (May 1975 - July 1975, 63 days).

Salyut 4 (DOS 4) was a Salyut space station launched on 26 December 1974 into an orbit with an apogee of 355 km, a perigee of 343 km and an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3, and unlike its ill-fated sibling it was a complete success. Three crews attempted to make stays aboard Salyut 4 (Soyuz 17 and Soyuz 18 docked; Soyuz 18a suffered a launch abort). The second stay was for 63 days duration, and an unmanned Soyuz capsule remained docked to the station for three months, proving the systems' long-term durability. Salyut 4 was deorbited on 2 February 1977, re-entering the atmosphere and destroyed on 3 February.

See also

1984 08:00:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 41-B (Challenger 4, 10th Shuttle mission) for tests of the Manned Maneuvering Unit, and with the intent of placing the WESTAR-VI and PALAPA-B2 satellites in orbit.

STS 41-B was launched 3 February 1984 after being delayed five days to swap out the auxiliary power units (APUs) following problems on the previous Shuttle mission.

The first untethered space walks, by McCandless and Stewart, were made using the Manned Maneuvering Unit system. The WESTAR-VI and PALAPA-B2 satellites were deployed, but failure of the Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) rocket motors left them in radical low-Earth orbits. The German-built Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), which was first flown on STS-7, became the first satellite refurbished and flown again. SPAS remained in payload bay due to electrical problem with remote manipulator system (RMS). The RMS manipulator foot restraint was first used, and practice procedures were performed for the Solar Maximum satellite retrieval and repair planned for the next mission. The Integrated Rendezvous Target (IRT) experiment failed due to an internal failure.

Five Get Away Special (GAS) canisters were flown in the cargo bay, and the Cinema-360 camera was used by the crew. Other payloads on STS 41-B were: the Acoustic Containerless Experiment System (ACES); the Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR); the Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME), and the Isoelectric Focusing (IEF) payload.

STS 41-B ended on 11 February 1984 when Challenger landed on revolution 128 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida in the first end-of-mission landing at KSC. Rollout distance: 10,807 feet. Rollout time: 67 seconds. Launch weight: 250,452 pounds. Landing weight: 201,238 pounds. Orbit altitude: 189 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, 55 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million.

The flight crew for STS 41-B was: Vance D. Brand, Commander; Robert L. Gibson, Pilot; Bruce McCandless II, Mission Specialist; Ronald E. McNair, Mission Specialist; Robert L. Stewart, Mission Specialist.

President Reagan announced the formation of a commission to look into the Challenger accident, a thirteen-person panel chaired by former Secretary of State William P. Rogers; the group quickly became known as the Rogers Commission.

Died, Otto August Hoberg, German expert in guided missiles during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Instrumentation Development Branch, Guidance and Control Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

1994 07:10:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 60 (Discovery 18, 60th Shuttle mission) with the first Wake Shield Facility (WSF-1) experiment and SPACEHAB-2 aboard.

STS 60 was launched 3 February 1994 from Launch Pad 39A after a countdown that proceeded smoothly to an on-time liftoff. The flight marked the first time a Russian cosmonaut flew on the US Shuttle, as the first element in implementing the Agreement on NASA/Russian Space Agency Cooperation in Human Space Flight. The mission also marked the second flight of the SPACEHAB pressurized module, and carried the 100th Get Away Special payload to fly in space. Also on board was the Wake Shield Facility-1 (WSF-1) experiment, making the first in a planned series of flights.

SPACEHAB-2 was activated shortly after reaching orbit. The module carried 12 experiments. Four of these involved materials science topics; seven were life sciences investigations; the last was a space dust collection experiment.

On flight day three, the crew made the first attempt to deploy WSF-1 using the remote manipulator system arm. The first deploy attempt was waved off due to radio interference and difficulty reading the status signs on WSF-1. After the second deployment attempt on flight day four was waved off due to problems with the WSF-1 attitude control system, five of the seven films planned to be grown with the WSF-1 platform were suspended at end of the RMS arm. WSF-1 was berthed in the cargo bay on flight day six.

The crew also conducted the first NASA-Russian Space Agency joint in-flight medical and radiological investigations. Krikalev communicated with amateur radio operators in Moscow using the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) equipment.

Also deployed were two payloads from Get Away Special canisters mounted on the GAS bridge assembly in the payload bay: six Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) ranging in size from two to six inches (5-15 centimeters) to aid calibration of radar tracking systems worldwide, and the University of Bremen's BREMSAT, which measured conditions such as acceleration forces affecting the satellite.

Other payloads flown on STS 60 were: the Capillary Pumped Loop Experiment (CAPL) mounted on top of the GAS Bridge Assembly; three additional GAS experiments; and the Auroral Photography Experiment-Phase B (APE-B).

The first landing attempt was waved off due to unfavorable weather in the KSC area. STS 60 ended on 11 February 1994 when Discovery landed on revolution 130 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 7,771 feet (2,369 meters). Rollout time: 50 seconds. Orbit altitude: 191 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, seven hours, nine minutes, 22 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.4 million.

The flight crew for STS 60 was: Charles F. Bolden, Commander; Kenneth S. Reightler Jr., Pilot; N. Jan Davis, Mission Specialist 1; Ronald M. Sega, Mission Specialist 2; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist 3; Sergei K. Krikalev, Mission Specialist 4 (Russia).

1995 00:22:04 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 63 (Discovery 20, 67th Shuttle mission) carrying SPACEHAB-3 and for a Mir rendezvous.

The countdown to the launch of STS 63 on 3 Feb 1995 proceeded so smoothly there was extra time left in the T-9 minute hold. The launch marked first with an orbit at a 51.6 degree inclination to the equator to put the Shuttle in line with Mir for rendezvous. Notable about this flight was that it was the first approach and flyaround of Mir by a NASA Space Shuttle; it was the first flight with a female Shuttle pilot; and it was the second time a Russian cosmonaut flew on the US Shuttle.

Beginning on flight day one, a series of thruster burns were performed daily to bring Discovery in line with Mir. After stationkeeping at a distance of 400 feet (122 meters) from Mir, and with Wetherbee manually controlling the orbiter, Discovery was flown to 37 feet from the Russian space station.

"As we are bringing our spaceships closer together, we are bringing our nations closer together," Wetherbee said after Discovery was at its point of closest approach. "The next time we approach, we will shake your hand, and together we will lead our world into the next millenium."

"We are one. We are human," Viktorenko responded.

Wetherbee then backed away to 400 feet (122 meters) and performed a one and a quarter loop flyaround of Mir while the Russian station was filmed and photographed.

The crew also worked extensively with payloads aboard Discovery: Activated on flight day one was SPACEHAB-3. The commercially developed module was making its third flight on the Shuttle, and carried 20 experiments. On flight day two, the crew deployed the Orbital Debris Radar Calibration System-II (ODERACS-II) to help characterize orbital debris environment for objects smaller than 10 centimeters (about four inches) in diameter. Also on flight day two, the crew lifted the SPARTAN-204 from its support structure in the payload bay. SPARTAN remained suspended on the arm for observation of the orbiter glow phenomenon and thruster jet firings. SPARTAN-204 was later released from the arm to complete about 40 hours of free-flight, during which time its Far Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument studied celestial targets in the interstellar medium.

SPARTAN-204 was also used for extravehicular activity (EVA) near end of flight: Foale and Harris began the EVA suspended at end of the robot arm, away from the payload bay, to test modifications of their spacesuits to keep spacewalkers warmer in the extreme cold of space. The two astronauts were scheduled to practice handling the approximately 2,500-pound (1,134-kilogram) SPARTAN to rehearse space station assembly techniques, but both astronauts reported they were becoming very cold (this portion of the walk was performed during a night pass) and the mass handling exercise was curtailed. The twenty-ninth Shuttle spacewalk lasted 4 hours, 38 minutes, and Harris was the first African-American to walk in space.

Other payloads on STS 63 were: the Cryo System Experiment (CSE) and Shuttle Glow (GLO-2) paylods were mounted on the Hitchhiker support assembly in the cargo bay, as was an IMAX camera. In the middeck, the Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE) flew for eighth time.

STS 63 ended on 11 February 1995 when Discovery landed on revolution 129 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 11,008 feet (3,355 meters). Rollout time: one minute, 20 seconds. Orbit altitude: 213 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, six hours, 28 minutes, 15 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.0 million. This was the first end-of-mission landing since the runway was resurfaced in the fall of 1994 to decrease wear on the orbiter tires and to increase crosswind tolerances. After landing, the cosmonauts aboard Mir radioed their congratulations to the Discovery crew. Discovery (OV-103) became the first orbiter in the fleet to complete 20 missions, and was transferred to the Orbiter Processing Facility later the same day.

The STS 63 flight crew was: James D. Wetherbee, Commander; Eileen M. Collins, Pilot; C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.), Mission Specialist; Janice E. Voss, Ph.D., Mission Specialist; Bernard A. Harris, Jr., M.D., Mission Specialist; Vladimar G. Titov, Cosmonaut.

The International Astronomical Union released a statement affirming Pluto's status as a planet.

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