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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 3

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Race To Space
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Died, Pierre Charles Le Monnier (or Lemonnier), French astronomer

J. C. Watson discovered asteroid #119 Althaea.

J. Palisa discovered asteroids #256 Walpurga and #274 Philagoria.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #562 Salome.

S. Belyavskij discovered asteroids #854 Frostia, #855 Newcombia and #856 Backlunda.

Born, Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom (at Mitchell, Indiana, USA), Lt Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (suborbital Mercury MR-4 (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini 3; 4h 52m in orbital spaceflight) (deceased, Apollo 1 fire)

Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom (3 April 1926 - 27 January 1967) was one of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts. Grissom flew the second manned US space flight and commanded the first two-man Gemini mission. He was killed along with Edward White II and Roger Chaffee in a launch pad fire during a test for the upcoming first Apollo flight, which Grissom was scheduled to command.

Astronaut Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom, NASA photo (1964)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable from January 2019)

Robert Goddard launched the second liquid fuel rocket, which was aloft 4.2 seconds and landed 50 feet from the test stand where it was launched.

C. Jackson discovered asteroids #1354 Botha and #1948 Kampala.

K. Inkeri discovered asteroid #1425 Tuorla.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #2194 Arpola, #2512 Tavastia and #3099.

1963 01:55:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer 17 to investigate the space environment.

Explorer 17, launched 3 April 1963, was a spin-stabilized sphere 3 feet (0.95 m) in diameter. The spacecraft was vacuum sealed in order to prevent contamination of the local atmosphere. Explorer 17 carried four pressure gauges for the measurement of total neutral particle density, two mass spectrometers for the measurement of certain neutral particle concentrations, and two electrostatic probes for ion concentration and electron temperature measurements. Battery power failed on 10 July 1963. Three of the four pressure gauges and both electrostatic probes operated normally. One spectrometer malfunctioned, and the other operated intermittently.

Explorer 17 during assembly at Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA photo GPN-2002-000115 (G-63-4001)
Source: Wikipedia

Born, Yuri Valentinovich Lonchakov (at Balkhash, Dzheskazgan Oblast, Kazakh SSR), cosmonaut (STS 100, Soyuz TMA-1/ISS EP-4/Soyuz TM-34, ISS 18; over 200d 18.5h total time in spaceflight)

Cosmonaut Yuri V. Lonchakov, NASA photo (2002)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable from April 2019)

1965 21:21:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched the Snapshot military satellite, carrying the first nuclear reactor in space.

Snapshot, launched 3 April 1965, was a military satellite launched from Vandenberg AFB aboard an Atlas Agena D rocket. It carried a SNAP-9A nuclear power source. The onboard reactor provided electrical power for a 2.2-lb ion engine.

USSR's Luna 10 entered orbit around the Moon, the first spacecraft launched from Earth to do so.

Luna 10 was launched towards the Moon on 31 March 1966. The spacecraft entered Lunar orbit on 3 April 1966 and completed its first orbit 3 hours later (on 4 April, Moscow time). Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3-3.0 MeV, a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the Lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted.

The spacecraft played back to Earth the "International" during the Twenty-third Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 Lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on 30 May 1966.

L. Chernykh discovered asteroid #2142 Landau.

1974 07:31:00 GMT
The USSR launched Cosmos 638, the Soyuz mission half of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program (ASTP).

Cosmos 638, launched 3 April 1974, was a Soviet manned mission launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz rocket. It was part of the ASTP (Apollo-Soyuz Test Program). The basic mission objectives were test of the docking systems and rendezvous for the ASTP. The mission was successful, and returned to Earth on 13 April 1973.

N. Chernykh discovered asteroid #3493.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3676.

1984 13:09:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-11 from Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), carrying cosmonauts Y. V. Malyshev (USSR), G. M. Strekalov (USSR) and researcher Rakesh Sharma (India) to Salyut 7.

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