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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 5

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Born, John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, founder of the Dunlop rubber company. In 1888, he developed commercially practical pneumatic tires, at a crucial time in the development of automobile transportation.

C H F Peters discovered asteroid #129 Antigone.

A Borrelly discovered asteroid #172 Baucis.

The Royal Greenwich Observatory began to broadcast hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the "BBC pips"

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1106 Cydonia, #1109 Tata and #1346 Gotha.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #2897 Ole Romer, #3263 and #3426 Seki; and R Schorr discovered asteroid #1240 Centenaria.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #2346 Lilio, #2444 Lederle, #2957 and #3707.

Born, Mary L. Cleave PhD, PE (at Southampton, New York, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 61B, STS 30)

Astronaut Mary L. Cleave, NASA photo

The Vanguard TV-3 back-up was launched toward Earth orbit; it reached an altitude of 6 km.

Maarten Schmidt discovered enormous red shifts in quasars.

1967 01:17:00 GMT
NASA launched the Lunar Orbiter 3 Moon mapping orbiter.

The Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph areas of the Lunar surface for confirmation of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial (210.2 km x 1801.9 km with an inclination of 20.9 degrees) Lunar orbit on 8 February at 21:54 UT. After four days (25 orbits) of tracking the orbit was changed to 55 km x 1847 km. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 15 February to 23 February 1967, and readout occurred through 2 March 1967. The film advance mechanism started showing erratic behavior, resulting in a decision to begin readout of the frames earlier than planned. The frames were read out successfully until 4 March when the film advance motor burned out, leaving about 25% of the frames on the takeup reel, unable to be read.

149 medium resolution and 477 high resolution frames were returned from the Moon. The frames were of excellent quality, with resolution down to 1 meter. One of the frames included the Surveyor 1 landing site, with sufficient detail to permit identification of the spacecraft's location on the surface. Accurate data were acquired from all of the other experiments throughout the mission. The spacecraft was used for tracking purposes until it impacted the Lunar surface on command at 14.3 degrees N latitude, 97.7 degrees W longitude (selenographic coordinates) on 9 October 1967.

1971 09:18:11 GMT
NASA Apollo 14 became the third spacecraft to land humans on the Moon.

Apollo 14, launched 31 January 1971, was the third mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth, and the first to land in the Lunar highlands. On 5 February 1971 two astronauts (Apollo 14 Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr. and LM pilot Edgar D. Mitchell) landed near Fra Mauro crater on the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM) (with CM pilot Stuart A. Roosa) continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 6 February and the astronauts returned to Earth on 9 February.

Shepard hit golf balls on the Moon during this historic trip. Roosa carried seeds for the US Forest Service in his personal gear; the seeds were later planted by the Forest Service, and are called "Moon Trees" to reflect their journey.

This was the last Apollo mission in which the astronauts were put in quaratine after their return.

Mariner 10 flew by Venus enroute to Mercury, returning the first close-up images of Venus, and executing the first use of a (planetary) gravity assist maneuver.

Mariner 10 was the seventh successful launch in the Mariner series, the first spacecraft to use the gravitational pull of one planet (Venus) to reach another (Mercury), and the first spacecraft mission to visit two planets. Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury. The spacecraft flew by Mercury three times in a retrograde heliocentric orbit and returned images and data on the planet. Mariner 10 returned the first-ever close-up images of Venus and Mercury. The primary scientific objectives of the mission were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Secondary objectives were to perform experiments in the interplanetary medium and to obtain experience with a dual-planet gravity-assist mission.

Mariner 10 was launched 3 November 1973 on a mission to explore Mercury and Venus. The television and ultraviolet experiments were trained on the comet Kohoutek while the spacecraft was en route to its destination. Using a near-ultraviolet filter, it produced photographs of the Venusian chevron clouds, and performed other atmospheric studies. Mariner 10 took 4,000 photos of Venus, which revealed a nearly round planet enveloped in smooth cloud layers. On 29 March and 21 September 1974, and 16 March 1975, Mariner 10 passed Mercury, and was able to map 40-45% of the planet. Its radiometer readings suggested Mercury has a nighttime temperatures of -297 degrees F (-183 degrees C) and maximum daytime temperatures of 368 F (187 C). The closest encounter with Mercury on the first pass was at 2047 UT on 29 March 1974 at a range of 436.5 miles (703 kilometers). Having looped around the Sun, Mariner 10 flew by Mercury again on 21 September 1974 at a range of 29,850 miles (48,069 kilometers), and photographed the sunlit side of the planet and the south polar region. The spacecraft used solar pressure on its solar panels and high-gain antenna for attitude control. A third and final encounter, the closest to Mercury, took place on 16 March 1975 at a range of 203 miles (327 kilometers). Contact with the spacecraft was terminated on 24 March 1975.

Mariner 10 (also known as Mariner Venus Mercury 1973) was placed in a parking orbit after launch for approximately 25 minutes, then placed in orbit around the Sun en route to Venus. The protective cover of the sunward-facing electrostatic analyzers did not open fully after launch, and these intruments, part of the Scanning Electrostatic Analyzer and Electron Spectrometer experiment, could not be used. It was also discovered that the heaters for the television cameras had failed, so the cameras were left on to prevent low temperatures from damaging the optics.

A trajectory correction maneuver was made 10 days after launch. Immediately following this manuever the star-tracker locked onto a bright flake of paint which had come off the spacecraft and lost lock on the guide star Canopus. An automated safety protocol recovered Canopus, but the problem of flaking paint recurred throughout the mission. The on-board computer also experienced unscheduled resets occasionally, which would neccesitate reconfiguring the clock sequence and subsystems. Periodic problems with the high-gain antenna also occurred during the cruise. In January 1974, Mariner 10 made ultraviolet observations of Comet Kohoutek and another mid-course correction was made on 21 January. The spacecraft passed Venus at 1701 UT on 5 February 1974 at a closest range of 5768 km, and returned the first close-up images of Venus. This also marked the first time a spacecraft used a gravity assist from one planet to help it reach another.

Enroute to Mercury an attitude control anomaly occurred for the second time, using up much of the attitude control gas. Some new procedures were used from that point on to orient the spacecraft, including Sun-line maneuvers and the use of solar wind on the solar panels to orient the spacecraft. Mariner 10 crossed the orbit of Mercury at 2046 UT on 29 March 1974, at a distance of about 704 km from the surface. A second encounter with Mercury, when more photographs were taken, occurred on 21 September 1974, at an altitude of 48,069 km. Unfortunately, the lighted hemisphere was almost the same as the first encounter, so a large portion of the planet remained unimaged. A third and last Mercury encounter at an altitude of 327 km, with additional photography of about 300 frames and magnetic field measurements occurred on 16 March 1975. Engineering tests were continued until 24 March 1975, when the supply of attitude-control gas was depleted and the mission was terminated.

Mariner 10 results showed a Hadley-type circulation existed in Venus' atmosphere and showed that Venus had at best a weak magnetic field, and the ionosphere interacted with the solar wind to form a bow shock. At Mercury, it was confirmed the planet had only a faint atmosphere of mostly helium, and an intensely cratered, dormant Moon-like surface was shown in the images. Mercury was shown to have a small magnetic field and a relatively large iron-rich core.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #3486 Fulchignoni, #3526 Jeffbell and #3590 Holst.

1987 21:38:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz-TM 2 on a modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with a second generation (longer) upper stage to the Mir space station with cosmonauts Yuriy Romanenko and Aleksandr Laveykin aboard.

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