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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 17

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Died, George Parker, English astronomer,_2nd_Earl_of_Macclesfield

Died, 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.

Died, Friedrich W. Bessel, German astronomer (measured distance to 61 Cygni), mathematician (systematized Bessel functions discovered by Daniel Bernoulli)

A. De Gasparis discovered asteroid #16 Psyche.

Died, Christian Doppler, Austrian mathematician and physicist (Doppler effect)

Christian Andreas Doppler (29 November 1803 - 17 March 1853) was an Austrian mathematician, most famous for deducing the phenomenon known as the Doppler effect which causes the frequency of a wave to apparently change as its source moves toward or away from you.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #363 Padua.

The first practical submarine, the Holland VI, first submerged while under way in New York City, for 1 hour 40 minutes.

Saturn's moon Phoebe, the first satellite discovered photographically, was discovered by William Henry Pickering from photographic plates taken starting on 16 August 1898 at the Boyden Observatory near Arequipa, Peru, by DeLisle Stewart.

Born, James Benson Irwin (at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (Apollo 15; nearly 12d 7.25h in spaceflight), eighth person to walk on the Moon (deceased)

Astronaut James Irwin, NASA photo

A. Schwassmann discovered asteroid #1192 Prisma.

Born, Thomas K. "Ken" Mattingly II (at Chicago, Illinois, USA), Rear Admiral USN, astronaut (Apollo 16, STS 4, STS 51C; 21d 4.5h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Ken Mattingly, NASA photo

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #1757 Porvoo.

University of California, Berkeley researchers Stanely Thompson, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso and Glenn T. Seaborg announced the creation of element 98, the sixth transuranium element to be discovered, which they named "Californium".

Died, Irene Joliot-Curie, French physicist (neutrons, nuclear fission), Nobel 1935 (nuclear chemistry) with Frederic Joliot "in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements"

1958 12:15:41 GMT
The US Navy launched Vanguard 1 into Earth orbit, the first satellite to use solar-cell power.

Vanguard 1, launched 17 March 1958, was a small Earth orbiting satellite designed to test the launch capabilities of a three stage launch vehicle and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It also was used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis, and was the first satellite to use solar cells for power.

The spacecraft was a 1.47 kg (3.25 lb) aluminum sphere 15.2 cm (6") in diameter. It contained a 10 mW mercury battery powered transmitter on the 108 MHz band used for IGY scientific satellites, and a 5 mW, 108.03 MHz transmitter powered by six solar cells mounted on the body of the satellite. Six short aerials protruded from the sphere. The transmitters were used as part of a radio phase-comparison angle-tracking system. The tracking data were used to show that the Earth is pear shaped with the stem at the North Pole. The radio signals were also used to determine the total electron content between the satellite and selected ground-receiving stations. Vanguard also carried two thermistors which measured the interior temperature over 16 days in order to track the effectiveness of the thermal protection.

The three stage launch vehicle placed Vanguard into a 654x3969 km (406x2466 mi) 134.2 minute orbit inclined at 34.25 degrees. Original estimates were the orbit would last 2000 years, but it was discovered that solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag during high levels of solar activity produced significant perturbations in the satellite's perigee height, which caused a significant decrease in its expected lifetime to only about 240 years. The battery powered transmitter stopped operating in June 1958 when the batteries ran down. The solar powered transmitter operated until May 1964 (when the last signals were received in Quito, Ecuador) after which the spacecraft was optically tracked from Earth.

Vanguard 1 satellite, NASA photo

Born, Kalpana Chawla PhD (at Karnal, Punjab (now Haryana), India), NASA astronaut (STS 87, STS 107, 31d 14h 54m total time in spaceflight) (deceased, Columbia re-entry failure)

Astronaut Kalpana Chawla, NASA photo

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #2387 and #2425.

Harvard College discovered asteroid #2395 Aho.

1992 10:54:30 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz-TM 14 to the Mir space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with cosmonauts Alexander Viktorenko, Alexander Kaleri and Klaus-Dietrich Flade aboard.

Died (natural causes), Robert Aitken Rushworth (at Camarillo, California, USA), Major General USAF, test pilot (X-15)

Died, John Backus, American computer scientist (FORTRAN, the first widely used high-level programming language, Backus-Naur form (BNF) notation used to define formal language syntax)

Died, Robert M. White, Major General USAF, test pilot, first person to reach space in a rocket plane (17 July 1962 X-15)

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