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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 21

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Died, Nicolas Louis de La Caille, French astronomer who mapped the Southern Hemisphere

Born, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, French mathematician, physicist (Fourier series and their application to problems of heat flow; Fourier transform)

The Rensselaer School in Troy, New York was incorporated. Known today as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it was the first engineering college in the US.

Born, Antonia Caetana de Paiva Pereira Maury, American astronomer (stellar spectra, discoverer of supergiant, giant & dwarf stars)

C H F Peters discovered asteroid #194 Prokne.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #329 Svea.

A Charlois discovered asteroids #365 Corduba and #366 Vincentina.

Born, Rudolf Nebel (at Weissenburg, Bavaria, Germany), German engineer, space flight proponent, helped organize the VfR and post-WWII peaceful rocket development

A Charlois discovered asteroid #402 Chloe.

Born, Hans Hueter, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Chief, Agena and Centaur Systems Office, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

A Kopff discovered asteroid #631 Philippina.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #803 Picka.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #996 Hilaritas.

Charles Lindbergh was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight.

Born, Jules Bergman, space and science reporter (ABC-TV)

Born, Dirk D. Frimout PhD (at Poperinge, Belgium), ESA/NASA astronaut (STS 45)

Astronaut Dirk Frimout, NASA photo

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2182 Semirot.

A female bear named Yogi became the first creature to be ejected from an airplane at supersonic speeds in a test of the B-58 ejection capsule system.

USSR lost contact with the Mars 1 probe when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106,760,000 km from Earth on its way to Mars.

Mars 1 (1962 Beta Nu 1, Mars 2MV-4) was an automatic interplanetary station launched into a 157 x 238 km, 65 degree Earth parking orbit on Sputnik 23, from which it was sent in the direction of Mars, with the intent of flying by the planet at a distance of about 11,000 km. Its announced mission was prolonged exploration of outer space during flight to the planet Mars, establishment of inter-planetary radio communications, photgraphing of the planet Mars and subsquent radio-transmission to Earth of the photographs of the surface of Mars thus obtained. It was designed to image the surface and send back data on cosmic radiation, micrometeoroid impacts and Mars' magnetic field, radiation environment, atmospheric structure, and possible organic compounds. After leaving Earth orbit, the spacecraft and the booster fourth stage separated and the solar panels were deployed. Early telemetry indicated that there was a leak in one of the gas valves in the orientation system so the spacecraft was transferred to gyroscopic stabilization. Sixty-one radio transmissions were made, initially at two day intervals, later at five day intervals, in which a large amount of interplanetary data were collected. On 21 March 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106,760,000 km from Earth on its way to Mars, communications ceased, probably due to failure of the spacecraft orientation system. Mars 1 closest approach to Mars occurred on 19 June 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km, after which the spacecraft entered a heliocentric orbit.

The probe recorded one micrometeorite strike every two minutes at altitudes ranging from 6000 to 40,000 km due to the Taurids meteor shower, and recorded similar densities at distances from 20 to 40 million km. Magnetic field intensities of 3-4 gammas with peaks as high as 6-9 gammas were measured in interplanetary space and the solar wind was detected. Measurements of cosmic rays showed that their intensity had almost doubled since 1959. The radiation zones around the Earth were detected and their magnitude confirmed.

Mars 1 was a modified Venera-type spacecraft in the shape of a cylinder 3.3 meters long and 1.0 meter in diameter. The spacecraft measured 4 meters across with the solar panels and radiators deployed. The cylinder was divided into two compartments. The upper 2.7 meters, the orbital module, contained guidance and on-board propulsion systems. The experiment module, containing the scientific instrumentation, comprised the bottom 0.6 meters of the cylinder. A 1.7 meter parabolic high gain antenna was used for communication, along with an omnidirectional antenna and a semi-directional antenna. Power was supplied by two solar panel wings with a total area of 2.6 square meters affixed to opposite sides of the spacecraft. Power was stored in a 42 amp-hour cadmium-nickel battery.

Communications were via a decimeter wavelength radio transmitter mounted in the orbital module which used the high-gain antenna. This was supplemented by a meter wavelength range transmitter through the omnidirectional antenna. An 8 centimeter wavelength transmitter mounted in the experiment module was designed to transmit the TV images. Also mounted in the experiment module was a 5-centimeter range impulse transmitter. Temperature control was achieved using a binary gas-liquid system and hemispherical radiators mounted on the ends of the solar panels. The craft carried various scientific instruments including a magnetometer probe, television photographic equipment, a spectroreflexometer, radiation sensors (gas-discharge and scintillation counters), a spectrograph to study ozone absorption bands, and a micrometeoroid instrument.

Mars 1 was originally called Sputnik 30 in the US Naval Space Command Satellite Situation Summary.

1964 08:15:35 GMT
The USSR launched Luna 1964A, an attempted Lunar landing mission. The spacecraft and SL-6/A-2-e launcher failed to attain Earth orbit when a valve did not open completely, reducing available thrust. The rocket cut off after 489 seconds and crashed.

1965 21:37:00 GMT
NASA launched the Ranger 9 Lunar impact mission, the last of the Ranger series, to return pictures of the Lunar surface as it approached on an impact trajectory.

Ranger 9 was designed to achieve a Lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high resolution photographs of the Lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high quality video pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft.

Ranger 9, launched 21 March 1965, reached the Moon on 24 March 1965. At 13:31 UT a terminal maneuver was executed to orient the spacecraft so the cameras were more in line with the flight direction to improve the picture resolution. Twenty minutes before impact, the one-minute camera system warm-up began. The first image was taken at 13:49:41 at an altitude of 2363 km. Transmission of 5,814 good contrast photographs was made during the final 19 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.3 meters. After 64.5 hours of flight, impact occurred at 14:08:19.994 UT at approximately 12.83 S latitude, 357.63 E longitude in the crater Alphonsus. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. The spacecraft performance was excellent. Real time television coverage with live network broadcasts of many of the F-channel images (primarily camera B but also some camera A pictures) were provided for this flight.

Ranger 9 Lunar impact probe, NASA photo

Asteroid #3708 was discovered.

Bowell discovered asteroids #2660 Wasserman, #2709 Sagan and #3248 Farinella.

A Mrkos discovered asteroid #3357.

2001 01:31:00 CST (GMT -6:00:00)
NASA's STS 102 (Discovery) landed after completing the International Space Station Flight 5A.1 mission.

NASA launched Discovery as STS 102 on 8 March 2001 for the International Space Station Flight 5A.1 mission. Its primary objectives were to deliver the Expedition Two crew and the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the station.

Discovery spent almost 13 days in orbit, with nearly nine of those days docked to the International Space Station. In addition to the crew transfer and attaching the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, the shuttle crew transferred supplies and equipment to the station, and completed two space walks.

Space walkers spent a total of 15 hours and 26 minutes during two STS-102 excursions outside the docked complex. The first space walk was the longest in space shuttle history.

Mission Specialists Susan Helms and James Voss - who later became Expedition Two crewmembers - prepared the Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 for repositioning from the Unity Module's Earth-facing berth to its port-side berth to make room for the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module supplied by the Italian Space Agency.

Two days later, Mission Specialists Paul Richards and Andy Thomas spent 6.5 hours outside the International Space Station, continuing work to outfit the station and prepare for delivery of its robotic arm.

The Expedition One/Two crew transfer was a carefully choreographed process carried out one replacement at a time to ensure the three current members of the station crew would be able to return home, at any time during the switch, aboard the Soyuz spacecraft attached to the station. As a member of the Expedition Two crew formally transferred from the space shuttle to the station, that crew member's custom-designed seat liner, called an Individual Equipment Liner Kit, was installed in the Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station: Crew members officially join the station when they install their seat liners in the Soyuz. The seat liner of the replaced crew member was removed from the Soyuz, and he then became a member of the shuttle crew.

STS 102 ended 12 days, 19 hours, 49 minutes after launch, on 21 March 2001, when Discovery landed on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center following a surprising turnaround in the Florida weather: Entry Flight Director Wayne Hale made the decision to land at Kennedy just before midnight after cloudy skies and gusty winds due to a low pressure system that raced through the Shuttle Landing Facility area faster than expected the previous night had cleared. The shuttle had traveled a total of 5,357,762 statute miles during its flight.

The flight crew for STS 102 was: James D. Wetherbee, Commander; James M. Kelly, Pilot; Andrew S.W. Thomas, Mission Specialist 1; Paul W. Richards, Mission Specialist 2; Yury V. Usachev, Expedition 2 Commander (remained at ISS); James S. Voss, Expedition 2 Flight Engineer (remained at ISS); Susan J. Helms, Expedition 2 Flight Engineer (remained at ISS); William M. Shepherd, Expedition 1 Commander (returned from ISS); Sergei Krikalev, Expedition 1 Flight Engineer (returned from ISS); Yuri P. Gidzenko, Expedition 1 Soyuz Commander (returned from ISS).

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