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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 March 7

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Born, John Herschel, mathematician, astronomer

John Frederick William Herschel (7 March 1792 - 11 May 1871) was an English mathematician and astronomer, son of astronomer William Herschel.

John Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy and made several important contributions to the improvement of photographic processes (Cyanotype). He coined the terms "photography", "negative", and "positive", and discovered sodium thiosulphite as a fixer of silver halides.

Julian days are important since astronomers, unlike historians, frequently need to do arithmetic with dates. Julian days simply enumerate the days and fraction which have elapsed since the start of the Julian era, defined as noon (GMT) on Monday, 1 January 4713 B.C.E. in the Julian calendar. This date is defined in terms of a cycle of years, but has the additional advantage that all known historical astronomical observations bear positive Julian day numbers, and periods can be determined and events extrapolated by simple addition and subtraction. Starting at noon, Julian dates are a bit eccentric, but astronomers who rise after the "crack of noon" and do most of their work when the Sun is down appreciate recording results in a calendar where the date doesn't change in the middle of the workday. Julian day notation is an ideal system for storing dates in computer programs, free of cultural bias and discontinuities, and can be readily transformed into other calendar systems.

While any event in recorded human history has a positive Julian day number, working with contemporary events with all those digits can be cumbersome. A Modified Julian Day (MJD) is created by subtracting 2,400,000.5 from a Julian day number, thus representing the number of days elapsed since midnight (00:00) Universal Time on 17 November 1858. Modified Julian Days are widely used to specify the epoch in tables of orbital elements of manmade artificial Earth satellites. Since no such objects existed prior to 4 October 1957, all satellite-related MJDs are positive.

Born, Henry Draper, doctor, astronomer, astrophotography pioneer, first to photograph the Orion Nebula (1880)

Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for an invention he called the telephone (patent # 174,465).

A Charlois discovered asteroid #388 Charybdis.

Kopff discovered asteroid #628 Christine, #629 Bernardina and #630 Euphemia.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #747 Winchester.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1020 Arcadia, #1635 Bohrmann, #1704 Wachmann, #2157 Ashbrook, #3035 and #3473.

The first transatlantic radio telephone call was made from London to New York City.

L Boyer discovered asteroid #1301 Yvonne.

Born, Viktor Petrovich Savinykh (at Berezkiny, Kirov Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz T-4, Salyut 7, Mir)

S Arend discovered asteroid #1563 Noel.

C A Wirtanen discovered asteroid #1863 Antinous.

L Boyer discovered asteroid #1597 Laugier.

1962 16:04:00 GMT
NASA launched the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO-1) Solar and dust observing satellite, the first astronomy satellite, to collect solar flare data.

1969 13:03:00 GMT
NASA's Apollo 9 Lunar Module separated from its Command/Service Module for 6 hours of independent test flight and maneuvering as practice for subsequent Lunar landing missions.

Apollo 9, launched 3 March 1969, was the third crewed Apollo flight and the first crewed flight to include the Lunar Module (LM). The crew was Commander James McDivitt, Command Module (CM) pilot David Scott, and LM pilot Russell Schweickart. The primary objective of the mission was to test all aspects of the Lunar Module in Earth orbit, including operation of the LM as an independent self-sufficient spacecraft and performance of docking and rendezvous manuevers. The goal was to simulate maneuvers which would be performed in actual Lunar missions. Other concurrent objectives included overall checkout of launch vehicle and spacecraft systems, crew, and procedures. A multispectral photographic experiment was also performed.

On 7 March at 13:03 UT, the LM ("Spider"), carrying McDivitt and Schweickart, separated from the CSM ("Gumdrop"). It was put into a circular orbit about 20 km higher than the CSM. The LM descent stage was jettisoned and for the first time in space the ascent stage engine was fired, lowering the LM orbit to 16 km below and 120 km behind the CSM. A simulated rendezvous of the LM returning from a Lunar mission with the orbiting CSM culminated in docking at 19:02 UT. The crew transferred back to the CSM, The LM ascent stage (1969-018C) was jettisoned and its ascent engine was commanded to fire to fuel depletion, into an Earth orbit of 235 x 6970 km. The LM ascent stage orbit decayed on 23 October 1981, the LM descent stage (1969-018D) orbit decayed 22 March 1969. The remaining four days of the Apollo 9 flight included more orbital manuevers and a landmark tracking exercise. All systems on all spacecraft worked nearly normally during the mission, and all primary objectives were accomplished.

Apollo 9 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on 13 March 1969 after a mission elapsed time of 241 hrs, 0 mins, 54 secs. The splashdown point was 23 deg 15 min N, 67 deg 56 min W, 180 miles east of Bahamas and within sight of the recovery ship USS Guadalcanal. The Apollo 9 Command Module is on display at the San Diego Aerospace Museum in San Diego, California.

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two Lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a Lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of these six missions walked on the Moon, the only humans to have set foot on another solar system body (as of 2015). Total funding for the Apollo program was approximately $20,443,600,000, an average bill of only about $100 per person for the population of the United States at the time.

Comet Kohoutek (formally designated C/1973 E1, 1973 XII, and 1973f) was discovered at Hamburg Observatory by Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek.

Comet Kohoutek (C/1973 E1) on 11 January 1974
NASA University of Arizona team at the Catalina observatory

M Inoue and O Muramatsu discovered asteroid #3432 Kobuchizawa.

A partial eclipse of the Sun was visible in Hawaii, northwest North America and Greenland.,_1989

Died, Dmitri Ilyich Kozlov, Russian aerospace engineer, Lead Designer of the R7 (the world's first ICBM), pre-eminent supplier of reliable optical reconnaissance satellites and launch vehicles for the Soviet military

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