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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 April 1

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Race To Space
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Comet 1P/374 E1 (Halley) approached within 0.0884 AUs (13.2 million km, 8.22 million miles) of Earth.

The internal combustion engine was patented by Samuel Morey.

Samuel Morey (23 October 1762 - 17 April 1843), American inventor, was a pioneer in steamships who accumulated a total of 20 patents, including a patent for the internal combustion engine on 1 April 1826.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #331 Etheridgea.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #950 Ahrensa.

L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1344 Caubeta.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1417 Walinskia and #3417 Tamblyn; and M. Laugier discovered asteroid #1426 Riviera.

Born, William Frederick Fisher MD (at Dallas, Texas, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 51-I; over 7d 2.25h in spaceflight)

Astronaut William Fisher, NASA photo
Source: NASA Image and Video Library

Alpher, Bethe and Gamow proposed a theory meant to explain the observed abundances of the most common elements in the universe in a paper entitled "The Origin of Chemical Elements" in the journal Physical Review.

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1852 Carpenter.

1960 11:45:00 GMT
NASA launched TIROS 1 (Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite), the first weather satellite.

TIROS 1 (Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite), the first weather satellite, launched 1 April 1960, was designed to test the feasibility of obtaining and using TV cloud cover pictures from satellites. The spin-stabilized satellite was 18-sided right prism, 42" (107 cm) across opposite corners and 22" (56 cm) high, with a reinforced baseplate carrying most of the subsystems, and a cover assembly (hat). Spacecraft power was supplied by approximately 9000 0.4"x0.8" (1x2 cm) silicon solar cells mounted on the cover assembly and by 21 nickel-cadmium batteries. A single monopole antenna for reception of ground commands extended out from the top of the cover assembly, and a pair of crossed-dipole telemetry antennas (235 MHz) projected down and diagonally out from the baseplate. Mounted around the edge of the baseplate were five diametrically opposed pairs of small, solid-fuel thrusters that maintained the satellite spin rate between 8 and 12 rpm. The satellite was equipped with two 0.5" (1.27 cm) diameter vidicon TV cameras, one wide angle and one narrow angle, for taking Earth cloud cover pictures. The pictures were transmitted directly to a ground receiving station, or were stored in a tape recorder on board for later playback, depending on whether the satellite was within or beyond the communication range of the station. The satellite performed normally from launch until 15 June 1960, when an electrical power failure prevented further useful TV transmission.

TIROS 1 cutaway illustration with components labeled
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

The United States Department of Transportation began operation.

Died, Lev Davidovich Landau, Russian physicist (superconductivity and superfluidity, quantum electrodynamics, nuclear physics and particle physics, Nobel 1962 "for his pioneering theories for condensed matter, especially liquid helium")

L. Chernykh discovered asteroid #1805 Dirikis, #1957 Angara and #1976 Kaverin.

1971 02:53:00 GMT
NASA launched the joint US/Canada ISIS 2 probe to study the ionosphere.

ISIS 2, launched 1 April 1971, was a joint US/Canadian ionospheric observatory instrumented with a sweep- and a fixed-frequency ionosonde, a VLF receiver, energetic and soft particle detectors, an ion mass spectrometer, an electrostatic probe, a retarding potential analyzer, a beacon transmitter, a cosmic noise experiment, and two photometers. Two long crossed-dipole antennas (73 and 18.7 m) were used for the sounding, VLF, and cosmic noise experiments. The spacecraft was spin-stabilized to about 2 rpm after antenna deployment. There were two basic orientation modes for the spacecraft, cartwheel and orbit-aligned. The spacecraft operated approximately the same length of time in each mode, remaining in one mode typically 3 to 5 months. The cartwheel mode with the axis perpendicular to the orbit plane was made available to provide ram and wake data for some experiments for each spin period, rather than for each orbit period. Attitude and spin information was obtained from a three-axis magnetometer and a sun sensor. Control of attitude and spin was possible by means of magnetic torquing. The experiment package also included a programmable tape recorder with a 1 hour capacity. For nonrecorded observations, data from satellite and subsatellite regions were telemetered when the spacecraft was in the line of sight of a telemetry station. Telemetry stations were located so that primary data coverage was near the 80-deg-W meridian and near Hawaii, Singapore, Australia, England, France, Norway, India, Japan, Antarctica, New Zealand, and Central Africa. NASA support of the ISIS project was terminated on 1 October 1979. A significant amount of experimental data, however, was acquired after this date by the Canadian project team. ISIS 2 operations were terminated in Canada on 9 March 1984. The Radio Research Laboratories (Tokyo, Japan) then requested and received permission to reactivate ISIS 2. Regular ISIS 2 operations were started from Kashima, Japan, in early August 1984. ISIS 2 was deactivated effective 24 January 1990.

N. Chernykh discovered asteroids #2206 Gabrova, #2312 Duboshin, #2361 Gogol, #2606 Odessa, #2722 Abalakin, #2734 Hasek, #2769 Mendeleev, #2849 Shklovskij, #2922 Dikan'ka, #3246 and #3723.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3480 Abante.

Comet Hale-Bopp passed perihelion (0.914 AU).

GOES 12 entered service to replace GOES 8, an older satellite which, while still operational, would have run out of fuel by the end of the year.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental (weather) Satellites were developed by NASA-Goddard, and transferred to the NOAA weather agency when operational. GOES M was launched by an Atlas 2A rocket on 23 July 2001 into a 164 x 505 km parking orbit, then into a super synchronous transfer orbit of 274 x 42275 km x 20 deg. The GOES M satellite was redesignated GOES 12 once it was operational in orbit. The spacecraft carried an infrared (IR) imager, a "sounder," and an X-ray imager. The IR imager was a Cassegrain telescope covering five wavelength channels, 0.55-0.75, 3.80-4.00, 6.50-7.00, 10.20-11.20, and 11.50-12.50 microns. It provided images covering 3,000 km x 3,000 km every 41 seconds by scanning the area in 16 square kilometer sections. The "sounder" provided vertical distribution data of temperature, moisture and ozone by passively monitoring 18 depth dependent wavelengths. (Long wave IR: 14.71, 14.37, 14.06, 13.64, 13.37, 12.66, and 12.02 microns. Medium wave IR: 11.03, 9.71, 7.43, 7.02, and 6.51 microns. Short wave IR: 4.57, 4.52, 4.45, 4.13, 3.98, and 3.74 microns. There was also a band at the visible wavelength 0.7 microns to provide pictures of cloud tops.) The sounder covered the 3,000 km x 3,000 km area in about 42 minutes. The other instrument package, the Space Environment Monitor (SEM), monitored the energetic electrons and protons in the magnetosphere and x-rays from the Sun, including an X-ray imager, to provide an X-ray (about 0.1-1.0 nm wavelength) picture of the solar disk. Earlier GOES satellites carried simple X-ray collimator detectors, but the new SXI was a full-fledged grazing incidence telescope similar to the SXT on Japan's Yohkoh satellite.

Following launch, GOES 12 was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 90° West, where it underwent on-orbit testing, and was then stored until it was needed to replace an operational satellite. It served as an on-orbit spare until 1 April 2003 (operational date), when it was called up to replace GOES 8, an older satellite which, while still operational, would have run out of fuel by the end of the year. Although GOES 11 was the next backup in line for activation, GOES 12 was used instead in order to test its Solar X-ray Imager. The Solar X-ray Imager failed in April 2006. GOES 12 was decommissioned on 16 August 2013.

See also the NOAA GOES Decommissioned Satellites page for more information on the payloads.

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