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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 11

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Rene Descartes, philosopher ("I think therefore I am"), stopped thinking. He was also the mathematician who developed the Cartesian coordinate system, and founded analytic geometry.

Born, Thomas Edison, inventor

Thomas Alva Edison (11 February 1847 - 18 October 1931) was a United States inventor and businessman who developed many important devices. "The Wizard of Menlo Park" was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention.

Edison was considered one of the most prolific inventors of his time, holding a record 1,093 patents in his name. Most of these inventions were not completely original, but improvements of earlier patents, and were mostly actually made by his numerous employees - Edison was frequently criticized for not sharing the credits. Nevertheless, Edison received patents worldwide, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust).

Died, Leon Foucault, astronomer, inventor (gyroscope, 1852)

Jean Bernard Leon Foucault (18 September 1819 - 11 February 1868) was a French physicist best known for the invention of the Foucault pendulum, a device demonstrating the effect of the Earth's rotation. He also made an early measurement of the speed of light, invented the gyroscope, and discovered eddy currents.

A Charlois discovered asteroid #357 Ninina.

F Courty discovered asteroid #384 Burdigala.

Born, Erich Kaschig, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, worked the remainder of his life with the rocket team at Fort Bliss, White Stands and Huntsville

A Kopff discovered asteroids #625 Xenia and #626 Notburga.

A Massinger discovered asteroid #727 Nipponia.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #946 Poesia.

B Jekhovsky discovered asteroid #1181 Lilith; and K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1111 Reinmuthia.

L Volta discovered asteroid #1191 Alfaterna.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1220 Crocus.

BBC Television produced the world's first science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Capek play R.U.R., the play having coined the term 'robot.'

L Oterma discovered asteroid #2827 Vellamo.

L Boyer discovered asteroid #1598 Paloque.

1970 04:25:00 GMT
Japan became the fourth nation to launch its own satellite into orbit, Ohsumi on a Lambda 4-S booster.

1974 13:48:00 GMT
The first Titan IIIE-Centaur test launch failed when the Centaur's engines had ingested an incorrectly installed clip from the oxygen tank, resulting in the loss of the SPHINX satellite because the second stage engines did not ignite.

Died, Alexander Lippisch, German aerodynamicist

Dr. Alexander Martin Lippisch (2 November 1894 - 11 February 1976) was a German pioneer of aerodynamics who made important contributions to the understanding of flying wings and ground effect craft. One of his most famous designs was the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #3578.

E Bowell discovered asteroid #2542 Calpurnia.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #2875 Lagerkvist, #3116 Goodricke and #3594 Scotti; and N G Thomas discovered asteroid #3117 Niepce; and T Seki discovered asteroid #3150 Tosa.

1984 07:15:55 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 41-B (Challenger 4, 10th Shuttle mission) landed after tests of the Manned Maneuvering Unit, and failed launch attempts of the WESTAR-VI and PALAPA-B2 satellites.

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.

Died, Frank Herbert, American science fiction author (Dune)

1994 14:19:22 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 60 (Discovery 18, 60th Shuttle mission) landed after flying the first Wake Shield Facility (WSF-1) experiment and SPACEHAB-2.

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 06:50:19 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 63 (Discovery 20, 67th Shuttle mission) landed carrying SPACEHAB-3 after 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.

1997 03:55:17 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 82 (Discovery 22, 82nd Shuttle mission) for the second Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission.

STS 82 was originally planned for a 13 February 1997 launch, but the date was moved up to provide more range opportunities. The launch on 11 February followed a countdown that proceeded smoothly. The six member crew completed servicing and upgrading of the Hubble Space Telescope during four planned extravehicular activities (EVAs), then performed a fifth unscheduled space walk to repair insulation on the telescope, demonstrating anew the capability of the Space Shuttle to service orbiting spacecraft, as well as the benefits of human spaceflight.

The HST was retrieved for its second servicing at 3:34 a.m. EST 13 February, and positioned in the payload bay less than half an hour later.

EVA 1 began at 11:34 p.m. EST, 13 February, and lasted six hours, 42 minutes. One of Hubble's solar arrays was unexpectedly disturbed by a gust of air from Discovery's airlock when it was depressurized, but the array was not damaged. Lee and Smith removed the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) and Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS), and replaced them with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), respectively.

EVA 2 began at 10:25 p.m., 14 February, and lasted seven hours, 27 minutes. Harbaugh and Tanner replaced a degraded Fine Guidance Sensor and a failed Engineering and Science Tape Recorder with new spares. They also installed a new unit called the Optical Control Electronics Enhancement Kit, to further increase the capability of the Fine Guidance Sensor. During this EVA, the astronauts noted cracking and wear on thermal insulation on the side of telescope facing sun and in the direction of travel.

EVA 3 began at 9:53 p.m., 15 February, and lasted seven hours, 11 minutes. Lee and Smith removed and replaced a Data Interface Unit on Hubble, and replaced an old reel-to-reel Engineering and Science Tape Recorder with a new digital Solid State Recorder (SSR) to allow simultaneous recording and playback of data. They also changed out one of the four Reaction Wheel Assembly units that use spin momentum to move telescope toward a target and maintain it in a stable position. After this EVA, mission managers decided to add EVA 5 to repair the thermal insulation on HST.

EVA 4 began at 10:45 p.m., 16 February, and lasted six hours, 34 minutes. Harbaugh and Tanner replaced a Solar Array Drive Electronics package which controls the positioning of Hubble's solar arrays. They also replaced covers over Hubble's magnetometers, and placed thermal blankets of multi-layer material over two areas of degraded insulation around the light shield portion of the telescope, just below the top of the observatory. Meanwhile, inside Discovery Horowitz and Lee worked on the middeck to fabricate new insulation blankets for the HST.

The final space walk, EVA 5, lasted five hours, 17 minutes. Lee and Smith attached several thermal insulation blankets to three equipment compartments at the top of the Support Systems Module section of the telescope which contains key data processing, electronics and scientific instrument telemetry packages.

The STS 82 EVA total of 33 hours, 11 minutes is about two hours shy of total EVA time recorded on first servicing mission.

Discovery's maneuvering jets were fired several times during mission to reboost the telescope's orbit by eight nautical miles. Hubble was redeployed 19 February at 1:41 a.m. at the highest altitude it has ever flown, a 335 by 321 nautical mile orbit.

STS 82 ended when Discovery landed 21 February 1997 on revolution 150 on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the second opportunity after the first waved off due to low clouds. Rollout distance: 7,066 feet (2,154 meters). Rollout time: one minute, zero seconds. Orbit altitude: 360 statute miles. Orbit anclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: nine days, 23 hours, 37 minutes, nine seconds. Miles traveled: 4.1 million. This was the ninth night landing in the Shuttle program's history, and the fourth night landing at KSC.

The flight crew for STS 82 was: Kenneth D. Bowersox, Commander; Scott J. Horowitz, Pilot; Mark C. Lee, Mission Specialist; Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist; Gregory J. Harbaugh, Mission Specialist; Steven L. Smith, Mission Specialist; Joseph R. Tanner, Mission Specialist.

After 20 years, Pluto passed Neptune's distance to again become the furthest planet from the Sun.

2000 11:44:00 CST (GMT -6:00:00)
NASA launched STS 99 (Endeavor) for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission.

STS 99 was launched 11 February 2000 into an orbit at an altitude of 126 nautical miles with an inclination of 57 degrees with respect to the Equator. Endeavour's international crew of six spent their eleven days in orbit mapping the Earth's surface with radar instruments, working in two shifts to support around-the-clock operations.

The main objective of STS 99 was to obtain the most complete high resolution digital topographic database of the Earth. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, or SRTM, was an international project spearheaded by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency and NASA, with participation of the German Aerospace Center, DLR. SRTM consisted of a specially modified radar system that flew onboard the space shuttle during STS 99. This radar system gathered data that produced unrivaled 3-D images of the Earth's surface.

Deployed on Flight Day 1, the imaging radar orbited at 233 kilometers (145 miles) above Earth with its two radar antennas mounted in Endeavour's payload bay and extended on a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast. The radar created images of vast, barren deserts, frozen tundra and deep valleys carved by glaciers, such as those found in Alaska, the Andes and Himalayan mountains. The 11,793 kilogram (13 ton) radar system collected highly accurate, high resolution images of the Earth's crust between 60 degrees north latitude and 56 degrees south latitude. The regions mapped are home to about 95 percent of the world's population, and were captured with an accuracy of better than 30 meters (100 feet) . When the radar was retracted, more than 222 hours of around-the-clock radar mapping operations had been completed. This extremely large amount of information is enough to fill more than 20,000 CDs.

STS 99 ended 22 February 2000 when Endeavor landed on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida to complete a mission spanning almost 4.7 million statute miles.

The STS 99 flight crew was: Kevin R. Kregel, Commander; Dom L. Gorie, Pilot; Gerhard P.J. Thiele (Germany), Mission Specialist 1; Janet L. Kavandi, Mission Specialist 2; Janice Voss, Mission Specialist 3; Mamoru Mohri (Japan), Mission Specialist 4.

NASA controllers accelerated Odyssey's drift toward a morning-daylight orbit to "enable observation of changing ground temperatures after sunrise and after sunset in thousands of places on Mars."

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey is the remaining part of the Mars Surveyor 2001 Project, which originally consisted of two separately launched missions, The Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter and the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander. The lander spacecraft was cancelled as part of the reorganization of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA. The orbiter, renamed the 2001 Mars Odyssey, was nominally planned to orbit Mars for three years with the objective of conducting a detailed mineralogical analysis of the planet's surface from orbit and measuring the radiation environment. The mission had as its primary science goals to gather data to help determine whether the environment on Mars was ever conducive to life, to characterize the climate and geology of Mars, and to study potential radiation hazards to possible future astronaut missions. The orbiter also acted (and is acting, as of 2016) as a communications relay for [future] missions to Mars.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey was launched aboard a Delta II 7425 on 7 April 2001. In August, during the cruise to Mars, the MARIE instrument failed to respond during a routine data transfer and was put into hibernation. (Attempts to revive the instrument were successful in March 2002, and MARIE began taking scientific data from orbit on 13 March 2002.) After a seven month cruise the spacecraft reached Mars on 24 October 2001. The spacecraft used a 19.7 minute propulsive maneuver to transfer into an 18.6 hour elliptical capture orbit and used aerobraking until 11 January 2002, when the spacecraft pulled out of the aerobraking orbit into a 201 x 500 km orbit. This orbit was trimmed over the next few weeks until it became a 2-hour, approximately 400 x 400 km polar science orbit on 30 January 2002. The science mapping mission began on 19 February 2002, and on 28 May 2002, NASA reported that Odyssey's GRS had detected large amounts of hydrogen, a sign that there must be ice lying within a meter of the planet's surface. The Orbiter acts as a communications relay for the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) which arrived in January 2004, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, and will possibly also do so for other future missions. Data was collected from orbit until the end of the 917 day nominal mission in July 2004, and the mission was first extended for another Martian year, until September 2006.

One of the orbiter's three flywheels failed in June 2012. However, Odyssey's design included a fourth flywheel, a spare carried against exactly this eventuality. The spare was spun up and successfully brought into service. Since July 2012, Odyssey has been back in full, nominal operation mode following three weeks of 'safe' mode on remote maintenance.

On 11 February 2014, mission control accelerated Odyssey's drift toward a morning-daylight orbit to "enable observation of changing ground temperatures after sunrise and after sunset in thousands of places on Mars". The desired change occurred gradually until the intended orbit geometry was reached on 12 November 2015 when another maneuver was conducted to halt the drift. The new observations could yield insight about the composition of the ground and about temperature-driven processes, such as warm-season flows observed on some slopes, Martian morning clouds seen by the Viking Orbiter 1 in 1976, and geysers fed by spring thawing of carbon dioxide (CO2) ice near Mars' poles.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey carries star cameras, the Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE), which measures the near-space radiation environment as related to the radiation-related risk to human explorers, the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), which maps the mineralogy of the Martian surface using a high-resolution camera and a thermal infrared imaging spectrometer, and the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS), which maps the elemental composition of the surface and determines the abundance of hydrogen in the shallow subsurface.

The main body of the 2001 Mars Odyssey is a box of 2.2 meters x 1.7 meters x 2.6 meters. The orbiter is divided into two modules, the upper equipment module and the lower propulsion module. The equipment module holds the equipment deck which supports the engineering components and the science instruments. Above the equipment module, connected by struts, is the science deck, holding the star cameras, high energy neutron detector, UHF antenna, the THEMIS instrument and a deployable 6 meter boom holding the gamma sensor head for the GRS. A set of solar array panels extends out from one side of the main bus. A parabolic high-gain dish antenna is mounted on a mast extending from one corner of the bottom of the bus. The MARIE instrument is mounted inside the spacecraft. In the propulsion module are the fuel, oxidizer and helium pressurization tanks, and the main engine. The main engine is a hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide rocket which can produce 65.3 kg thrust, mounted in the bottom part of the propulsion module. The spacecraft had a launch mass of 725.0 kg, including 348.7 kg of fuel.

Attitude control is provided by four 0.1 kg thrusters and the spacecraft can be turned using four 2.3 kg thrusters. The spacecraft is three-axis stabilized using three primary reaction wheels and one backup. Navigation is provided by a Sun sensor, a star camera, and an inertial measurement unit. Power is provided by the gallium arsenide solar cells in the solar panel and a 16 amp-hr nickel hydrogen battery. Communications between the orbiter and Earth are in X-band via the high-gain antenna, and communications between the orbiter and any Mars landers are via the UHF antenna. Thermal control is achieved using a system of heaters, radiators, louvers, insulating blankets and thermal paint. Command and data handling is through a RAD6000 computer with 128 Mbytes RAM and 3 Mbytes of non-volatile memory.

See also the NASA/JPL 2001 Mars Odyssey Home Page

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