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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 25

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Died, Christopher Wren, English astronomer, architect, one of the founding members of the Royal Society

J Palisa discovered asteroid #265 Anna.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #324 Bamberga.

Born, Aleksei Ivanovich Shakhurin, Soviet state figure, People's Commissar for Aviation Industries 1940-1946

F Kaiser discovered asteroid #743 Eugenisis.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #867 Kovacia; and M Wolf discovered asteroid #866 Fatme.

Born, Hans Rudolf Palaoro, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Vehicle Systems Engineering Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

Died, Friedrich Paschen, German physicist (electrical discharges, infrared hydrogen spectral lines)

NASA's director of flight test, Paul Bikle, set a world glider altitude record flying a Schweizer 1-23E sailplane. The new record of 46,267 feet stood for thirty-five years.

L Chernykh discovered asteroid #2279 Barto.

USSR's Luna 20 returned from the Moon with samples.

Luna 20 was placed in an intermediate Earth parking orbit from its launch on 14 February 1972, and from that orbit was sent towards the Moon where it entered orbit on 18 February 1972. On 21 February 1972, Luna 20 made a soft landing in the Apollonius highlands near Mare Foecunditatis (Sea of Fertility), 120 km from where Luna 16 had impacted. While on the Lunar surface, the panoramic television system was operated, and Lunar samples were obtained using an extendable drilling apparatus. Luna 20's ascent stage of was launched from the Lunar surface on 22 February 1972 carrying 30 grams of collected Lunar samples in a sealed capsule. It landed in the Soviet Union on 25 February 1972; the Lunar samples were recovered the following day.

USSR Luna 20 capsule where it had landed returning from the Moon
photo courtesy of NASA

NASA's SOLRAD 9 ran out of attitude control fuel and was turned off, since it had become operationally useless.

SOLRAD 9, launched 5 March 1968, was an NRL satellite, one of the SOLRAD series that began in 1960 to provide continuous coverage of solar radiation with a set of standard photometers. SOLRAD 9 was a spin-stabilized satellite oriented with its spin axis perpendicular to the sun-satellite line, so that the 14 solar X-ray and UV photometers pointing radially outward from its equatorial belt viewed the sun with each revolution. Data were simultaneously transmitted via FM/AM telemetry and recorded in a core memory that read out its contents on command. Individual scientists and institutions were invited to receive and use the data transmitted on the 136-MHz telemetry band on the standard IRIG channels 3 through 8. For the period July 1971 to June 1973, the core memory data of SOLRAD 10 were used rather than those from SOLRAD 9. The SOLRAD 10 core memory failed 11 June 1973, and SOLRAD 9 was heavily used until 25 February 1974, when the gas supply of the attitude control system was exhausted. Lacking attitude control, SOLRAD 9 was operationally useless and was turned off.

For more details, see R. W. Kreplin and D. M. Horan, "The NRL SOLRAD 9 Satellite Solar Explorer B 1968-17A," NRL Report 6800, 1969.

1977 09:38:00 GMT
USSR's Soyuz 24 landed after docking at the Salyut 5 space station.

Soyuz 24 was launched 7 February 1977 to dock with the Salyut 5 space station. The main objective was to investigate the atmosphere on the station to see if it was toxic and had an effect on the crew of the Soyuz 21 contributing to the problems they had at the end of their flight: The crew of Soyuz 21 had experienced psychological and physical problems during their stay on the station, thought to be mainly due to their becoming emotional, not following physical training, and developing an unreasonable desire to return to Earth. However, there was also speculation that some fuel had leaked into the living areas. This prompted the Soviets to design equipment that could be used to completely change the air of the station by releasing compressed air to create a breeze and venting the contaminated atmosphere through the airlock. The Soyuz 24 cosmonauts entered the station wearing breathing masks because of the possible contamination, but they found that the station atmosphere free of any toxins. It was decided to perform the venting experiment anyway to prove it was possible in case of any need in the future. Air was released from the forward end of the station while simultaneously being replaced from storage tanks in the Soyuz 24 orbital module.

The main purpose of the mission appears to have been to tie up loose ends left by the precipitous departure of the Soyuz 21 crew. They loaded the Salyut 5 Earth-return capsule with samples and film, which detached the day after their departure from the station, and was recovered 26 February 1977. The Soyuz 24 crew also conducted Earth observation and materials sciences experiments, but their planned EVA was cancelled because of the venting exercise.

Soyuz 24 was short by space station standards, less than 18 total days, with its landing on 25 February 1977 36 km northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. The Soviets said, however, that it was a busy and successful mission, accomplishing nearly as much as the earlier Soyuz 21's 50 day mission.

The Soyuz 24 flight crew was cosmonauts Viktor Gorbatko and Yuri Glazkov.

1979 11:54:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 32 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome carrying cosmonauts V. A. Lyakhov and V. V. Ryumin to the Salyut 6 space station.

H Debehogne discovered asteroid #3389.

Died, Philip Jose Farmer, American science fiction writer

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