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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 8

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Isaac Newton read his first optics paper, dealing with color and light, before the Royal Society in London. It was criticized harshly by Robert Hooke, a respected senior scientist and Curator of Experiments for the Royal Society.

Born, Daniel Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician (fluid equation)

Daniel Bernoulli (8 February 1700 - 17 March 1782) was a Dutch-born mathematician who spent much of his life in Basel, Switzerland. He worked with Leonhard Euler on the equations bearing their names. Bernoulli's principle is of critical use in aerodynamics. It is applicable to steady, inviscid, incompressible flow, along a streamline.

Comet C/1743 C1 approached within 0.0390 AUs of Earth (approximately 3.63 million miles), the sixth closest approach of a comet in recorded history prior to 2006.

Born, Jules Verne, French author, science fiction pioneer, wrote about space, air, and underwater travel long before they were possible

J Chacornac discovered asteroid #39 Laetitia.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #183 Istria.

A Charlois discovered asteroid #283 Emma.

Born, Wilhelm Angele, engineer, guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Pilot Manufacturing Development Branch, Guidance and Control Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

Born, Chester F. Carlson, inventor (photocopier)

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #636 Erika.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #816 Juliana.

A Schwassmann discovered asteroid #947 Monterosa.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1154 Astronomia.

The first flight of the all-metal Boeing 247 was made.

S Arend discovered asteroid #3228 Pire.

Died, John Von Neumann, mathematician, quantum physicist, astronomer

John von Neumann (28 December 1903 - 8 February 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician who made important contributions in quantum physics, set theory, computer science, economics and virtually all mathematical fields.

Among his other efforts, von Neumann proved that the most effective way large scale mining operations (such as mining an entire moon or asteroid) can be accomplished is through the use of self-replicating machines, to take advantage of the exponential growth of such mechanisms.

He also engaged in exploration of problems in the field of numerical hydrodynamics. With R. D. Richtmyer he developed an algorithm defining artificial viscosity which proved essential to understanding many kinds of shock waves. Much of current astrophysics, and recent developments in jet and rocket engines, was based on that work: The problem was that when using computers to solve hydrodynamic or aerodynamic problems, too many computational grid points are needed at regions of sharp discontinuity (e.g., shock waves). Artificial viscosity is a "mathematical trick" to slightly smooth the shock transition without sacrificing basic physics, greatly reducing the required computational capacity.

Died, Walther Bothe, German physicist (Nobel 1954 "for the coincidence method and his discoveries made therewith")

Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe (8 January 1891 - 8 February 1957) was a German physicist, mathematician, chemist, and Nobel Prize winner. Bothe won a Nobel Prize in Physics for 1954 (along with Max Born) for his invention of the coincidence circuit: He discovered that if a single particle is detected by two or more Geiger counters, the detection will be practically coincident in time. Using this observation, he constructed the coincidence circuit allowing several counters in coincidence to determine the angular momentum of a particle. Bothe's coincidence circuit was one of the first AND logic gate (1924). Bothe studied the Compton effect using such a set up and establishing the modern analysis of scatter processes.

1967 21:54:00 GMT
NASA's Lunar Orbiter 3 went into orbit around the Moon.

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.

1969 01:05:00 MST (GMT -7:00:00)
The Allende meteorite, weighing over one ton, fell in Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Specimens from the meteorite fall at 1:05 AM on 8 February 1969 at Pueblito de Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico, were recovered. The meteorite was a chondrite (C3 and C4) with both opaque and microcrystalline matrices. Specimens were brought to a low background gamma counter less than 4 1/2 days after the fall, and gamma rays from short-lived isotopes were observed.

Died, Fritz Zwicky, Swiss physicist and astronomer (supernova)

Fritz Zwicky (14 February 1898 - 8 February 1974) was a Swiss astronomer, famous for having called his colleagues "spherical bastards" because they were bastards no matter which direction one watches them from.

He was the first to use the virial theorem to deduce the existence of dark matter. He proposed the use of gravitational lenses. With Walter Baade, he came up with the idea that supernovae could create neutron stars and produce cosmic rays. He also pioneered and promoted the use of Schmidt telescopes. In his later career, he compiled a Catalogue of Galaxies and of Clusters of Galaxies (CGCG).

He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1972.

1974 15:16:53 GMT
NASA's Skylab 4 crew returned to Earth after 84 days in space

Skylab 4 was the last of NASA's Skylab missions. The crew of Gerald P. Carr, Commander; Edward G. Gibson, Science Pilot; and William R. Pogue, Pilot was launched on 16 November 1973. They returned to Earth on 8 February 1974, after spending 84 days in space.

One of its first tasks was to unload and stow within Skylab thousands of items needed for their lengthy mission. The schedule for the activation sequence dictated lengthy work periods with a large variety of tasks to be performed. The crew soon found themselves tired and behind schedule. As the activation progressed, the astronauts complained of being pushed too hard. Ground crews disagreed; they felt that the flight crew was not working long enough or hard enough. During the course of the mission, these disagreements continued, eventually leading to the crew going on strike until their workload was reduced. By the end of their mission, the crew had completed even more work than had been planned before launch.

The crew spent many hours looking at the Earth. Carr and Pogue alternately manned controls, operating the sensing devices which measured and photographed selected features on the Earth's surface. When not otherwise occupied, they watched through the workshop window as the Earth rolled steadily beneath them.

Solar observations were made, with about 75,000 new telescopic images of the Sun recorded. Images were taken in the X-ray, ultraviolet, and visible portions of the spectrum. As the end of their mission drew closer, Gibson continued his watch of the solar surface. On 21 January 1974, an active region on the Sun's surface formed a bright spot which intensified and grew. Gibson quickly began filming the sequence, as the bright spot erupted, he had filmed the birth of a solar flare from space, the first such recording in history.

On 13 December, the crew sighted Comet Kohoutek and trained the solar observatory and hand-held cameras on it. They continued to photograph it as it approached the Sun. On 30 December, as it swept out from behind the Sun, Carr and Gibson spotted it as they were performing a spacewalk.

The Skylab 4 crew completed 1,214 Earth orbits and four EVAs totalling 22 hours, 13 minutes. They traveled 34.5 million miles (55,500,000 km) in 84 days, 1 hour and 16 minutes in space.

N G Thomas discovered asteroids #2556 Louise and #2764 Moeller.

T Seki discovered asteroid #2880 Nihondaira.

E Bowell discovered asteroid #3031 Houston, #3032 Evans, #3065 Sarahill, #3315 Chant, #3354 McNair and #3355 Onizuka.

1984 12:07:00 GMT
Soyuz-T 10 was launched from Baikonur with a crew of Leonid Kizim, Oleg Atkov, and Vladimir Solovyov to the Salyut 7 space station.

1984 12:35:00 GMT
With the launch of Soyuz-T 10 carrying 3 cosmonauts, eight people were in space simultaneously for the first time where the STS 41B crew of 5 was already in orbit.

1988 22:08:00 GMT
USA 30 was launched by the Department of Defense from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a Delta 3924.

1992 12:02:00 GMT
The NASA/ESA Ulysses probe flew by Jupiter within 400,000 km of the cloud tops.

The primary objectives of Ulysses, formerly the International Solar Polar Mission (ISPM), were to investigate, as a function of solar latitude, the properties of the solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field, of galactic cosmic rays and neutral interstellar gas, and to study energetic particle composition and acceleration. The 55 kg payload included two magnetometers, two solar wind plasma instruments, a unified radio/plasma wave instrument, three energetic charged particle instruments, an interstellar neutral gas sensor, a solar X-ray/cosmic gamma-ray burst detector, and a cosmic dust sensor. The communications systems was also used to study the solar corona and to search for gravitational waves. Secondary objectives included interplanetary and planetary physics investigations during the initial Earth-Jupiter phase and investigations in the Jovian magnetosphere.

Ulysses was deployed from NASA's shuttle Discovery during the STS 41 mission on 6 October 1990. On leaving Earth, the spacecraft became the fastest ever artificially accelerated object, by means of two upper stages. The spacecraft used a Jupiter swingby on 8 February 1992 to transfer to a heliospheric orbit with high heliocentric inclination, and passed over the rotational south pole of the Sun in mid-1994 at 2 AU, and over the north pole in mid-1995. A second solar orbit took Ulysses again over the south and north poles in years 2000 and 2001, respectively. The Ulysses mission was extended until 30 June 2009, enabling it to continue operating while flying over the Sun's poles for the third time in 2007 and 2008.

On 1 May 1996, Ulysses unexpectedly crossed the ion tail of Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2), revealing the tail to be at least 3.8 AU in length.

The spacecraft was powered by a single radio-isotope generator. It was spin stabilized at a rate of 5 rpm and its high-gain antenna pointed continuously to the Earth, communicating on frequencies of 2111.6073/2293.1481 MHz and 8408.2099 MHz. A nutation anomaly after launch was controlled by CONSCAN.

Ulysses was commanded to switch off its transmitter at 20:15 UTC on 30 June 2009 after 6842 days (18 years 8 months 24 days) in orbit, due to the fact its orbital path was carrying the spacecraft away from Earth, and the ever-widening gap progressively limited the amount of data that could be transmitted.

The original mission planned for two spacecraft, one built by ESA and the other by NASA. NASA cancelled its spacecraft in 1981.

See also:
NASA/JPL Ulysses website
ESA Ulysses website

Died, Bernard G. Hooghoudt, radiotelescope builder (Dwingeloo/Westerbork)

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