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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 25

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Born, James Ferguson, Scottish astronomer, instrument and globe maker

Died, Anders Celsius, inventor, astronomer

Anders Celsius (27 November 1701 - 25 April 1744) was a Swedish astronomer.

Celsius was born at Uppsala in Sweden. He was professor of astronomy at Uppsala University from 1730 to 1744, but travelled from 1732 to 1735 visiting notable observatories in Germany, Italy and France.

At Nuremberg in 1733 he published a collection of 316 observations of the aurora borealis made by himself and others over the period 1716-1732. In Paris he advocated the measurement of an arc of the meridian in Lapland, and in 1736 took part in the expedition organized for that purpose by the French Academy of Sciences.

Celsius was one of the founders of the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory in 1741. He is best known for the Celsius temperature scale, first proposed in a paper to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1742.

He died of tuberculosis in Uppsala.

Born, Mark Isambard Brunel, engineer, inventor (mass production pioneer, tunnel construction)

Asteroid #9 Metis was discovered by A. Graham.

Born, Guglielmo Marconi, inventor (radio, Nobel 1909 with F. Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy")

Died, Johann Karl Friedrich Zoellner, German astronomer (astro photometer)

J Palisa discovered asteroids #291 Alice and #292 Ludovica.

Born, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, physicist (quantum mechanics, spin, relativity), Nobel 1945 "for the discovery of the Exclusion Principle, also called the Pauli Principle"

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #599 Luisa.

Born, Gerard Henri de Vaucouleurs, French/American astronomer (galaxies)

Born, Francis Graham-Smith, British astronomer (radio astronomy), thirteenth Astronomer Royal from 1982 to 1990

E L Johnson discovered asteroid #1922 Zulu.

Bell Labs demonstrated the first practical silicon solar cell.

Born, Frank De Winne (at Gent, Belgium), ESA astronaut (ISS EP-4, ISS 21/commander)

Robert Noyce was granted the first patent for an integrated circuit. Subsequent development of the technology became crucial in making advances in many fields, including the capabilities which could be launched in spacecraft.

1961 16:15:00 GMT
NASA launched Mercury Atlas 3 as an unmanned orbital test of the Mercury capsule, but the mission had to be aborted when the booster failed to follow the correct trajectory.

Mercury Atlas 3 (MA-3), launched 25 April 1961, was to be a one-pass orbital flight test of the Mercury capsule, with evaluation of all systems, network, and recovery forces. The capsule contained a mechanical astronaut. After lift-off, the launch vehicle failed to roll to a 70 degree heading and to pitch over into the proper trajectory. The abort-sensing system activated the escape rockets prior to the launch vehicle's destruction by the range safety officer, appoximately 40 seconds into the flight. At that time the vehicle had achieved an altitude of about 5 km. The capsule then coasted up to 7 km, deployed its parachutes, and landed in the Atlantic Ocean about 1.8 km north of the launch pad. The capsule was recovered, was found to have incurred only superficial damage. It was subsequently shipped back to the manufacturer for refitting. The refitted capsule was reflown on Mercury Atlas 4.

Mercury Atlas 3 lifting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA photo

The first Lockheed A-12 became airborne during a high speed taxi test. The A-12 was a preliminary version of the SR-71, the fastest publically known manned airbreathing jet airplane (2017).

1971 23:40:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 10 cosmonauts Shatalov, Yeliseyev and Rukavishniko returned to Earth after they were unable to enter the Salyut 1 space station, even though they had docked with the orbiting outpost.

Soyuz 10, launched 23 April 1971, was piloted by Commander Shatalov, Flight Engineer Yeliseyev, and Systems Engineer Rukavishnikov. Soyuz 10 was launched into an orbit in the same plane as the unmanned Salyut 1. Orbit corrections to reduce the apogee and perigee of Soyuz 10 to prepare for rendezvous with Salyut took 24 hours. Salyut was maneuvered four times, Soyuz 10 made three principal maneuvers and more orbital adjustments on the basis of instructions from the tracking ship Akademik Sergey Korolov located in the Atlantic. Automatic devices maneuvered Soyuz 10 until the two craft were 180 meters apart. The crew reportedly found the docking manenver extremely nerve-wracking. They were able to see the brightly colored Salyut only with the aid of optical devices when the ships were 15 km apart, and the problems of docking with a large unmanned, non-maneuvering mass were quite different from the joining of two Soyuz, each able to adjust its position. Also, new telemetry systems, new rendezvous systems, and new docking equipment were used.

Although the Soyuz physically locked onto the station, the connection was not secure enough to allow the hatches to be opened to allow the cosmonauts to enter. In addition, it appeared the hatch inside the Soyuz was jammed. This led to further complications when the mission was abandoned, as the Soyuz had difficulty detaching from the station. The two ships remained docked for 5.5 hours, in total.

After undocking, Soyuz 10 flew around Salyut, and the crew took many photographs. Salyut was described as the first of its kind, with no precursors. Externally mounted TV cameras covered the approach, docking, and separation.

The Soyuz retrorockets were fired at the first opportunity after undocking to permit the cosmonauts' return to Earth. Upon re-entry, the capsule became filled with toxic fumes, causing Rukavishnikov to pass out. Fortunately, all three crew members recovered from the ordeal unscathed, and the landing in Karaganda on 25 April 1971, the first pre-dawn landing of a manned spacecraft, was deemed a success.

Hans-Werner Grosse flew a record distance of 907.7 miles (1,461 km) in a Schleicher ASW 12 glider.

1972 02:15:33 GMT
NASA's Apollo 16 mission started its transearth injection maneuver to bring the astronauts home from the fifth Lunar landing mission.

Apollo 16 (AS 511) consisted of the Command and Service Module (CSM) "Casper" and the Lunar Module (LM) "Orion." The launch on 16 April 1972 was postponed from the originally scheduled 17 March date because of a docking ring jettison malfunction. It was the fifth mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth. On 21 April 1972 two astronauts (Apollo 16 Commander John W. Young and LM pilot Charles M. Duke, Jr.) landed in the Descartes region of the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM) (with CM pilot Thomas K. Mattingly, II) continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 24 April and the astronauts returned to Earth on 27 April.

The primary mission goals of inspecting, surveying, and sampling materials in the Descartes region, emplacement and activation of surface experiments, conducting inflight experiments and photographic tasks from Lunar orbit, engineering evaluation of spacecraft and equipment, and performance of zero-gravity experiments were achieved despite the mission being shortened by one day. Young, 41, was a Navy Captain who had flown on three previous spaceflights (Gemini 3, Gemini 10, and Apollo 10; he later flew on STS-1 and STS-9), Mattingly, 36, was a Navy Lt. Commander on his first spaceflight (he later flew STS-4 and STS-51C), and Duke, 36, was an Air Force Lt. Colonel also on his first spaceflight.

Apollo 16 was launched at 17:54:00 (12:54:00 p.m. EST) on Saturn V SA-511 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The spacecraft entered Earth parking orbit at 18:05:56 UT and translunar injection took place at 20:27:37 UT. The CSM and S-IVB stage separated at 20:58:59 UT and CSM-LM docking was achieved at 21:15:53 UT. The S-IVB stage was released into a Lunar impact trajectory, but due to an earlier problem with the auxiliary propulsion system (APS) helium regulators, which resulted in continuous venting and loss of helium, the second APS burn could not be made. Tracking of the S-IVB was lost on 17 April at 21:03 UT due to a transponder failure. (The S-IVB stage impacted the Moon on 19 April at 21:02:04 UT at 1.3 N, 23.8 W with a velocity of 2.5 to 2.6 km/s at a 79 degree angle from the horizontal, as estimated from the Apollo 12, 14 and 15 seismic station data.) A mid-course correction was performed at 00:33:01 UT on 18 April. During translunar coast a CSM navigation problem was discovered in which a false indication would cause loss of inertial reference, this was solved by a real-time change in the computer program. The SIM door was jettisoned on 19 April at 15:57:00 UT and Lunar orbit insertion took place at 20:22:28 UT. Two revolutions later, the orbit was lowered to one with a perilune of 20 km.

At 15:24 UT on 20 April, Young and Duke entered the LM. The LM separated from the CSM at 18:08:00 UT, but the LM descent was delayed almost 6 hours due to a malfunction in the yaw gimbal servo loop on the CSM which caused oscillations in the service propulsion system (SPS). Engineers determined that the problem would not seriously affect CSM steering and the mission was allowed to continue with the LM descent. The LM landed at 02:23:35 UT on 21 April in the Descartes highland region just north of the crater Dolland at 9.0 S, 15.5 E. Young and Duke made three moonwalk EVAs totaling 20 hours, 14 minutes. During this time they covered 27 km using the Lunar Roving Vehicle, collected 94.7 kg of rock and soil samples, took photographs, and set up the ALSEP and other scientific experiments. Other experiments were also performed from orbit in the CSM during this time.

The LM lifted off from the Moon at 01:25:48 UT on 24 April after 71 hours, 2 minutes on the Lunar surface. After the LM docked with the CSM at 03:35:18 UT the Lunar samples and other equipment were transferred from the LM and the LM was jettisoned at 20:54:12 UT on 24 April. The LM began tumbling, apparently due to an open circuit breaker in the guidance and navigation system. As a result the planned deorbit and Lunar impact could not be attempted. The LM remained in Lunar orbit with an estimated lifetime of one year. The instrument boom which carried the orbital mass spectrometer would not retract and was jettisoned. Because of earlier problems with the SPS yaw gimbal servo loop the mission was shortened by one day. The orbital shaping maneuver was cancelled, and the subsatellite was spring-launched at 21:56:09 UT into an elliptical orbit with a lifetime of one month, rather than the planned one-year orbit. Transearth injection began at 02:15:33 UT on 25 April. On 25 April at 20:43 UT Mattingly began a cislunar EVA to retrieve camera film from the SIM bay and inspect instruments, two trips taking a total of 1 hour, 24 minutes. The CM separated from the SM on 27 April at 19:16:33 UT. Apollo 16 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 27 April 1972 at 19:45:05 UT (2:45:05 p.m. EST) after a mission elapsed timeof 265 hours, 51 minutes, 5 seconds. The splashdown point was 0 deg 43 min S, 156 deg 13 min W, 215 miles southeast of Christmas Island and 5 km (3 mi) from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), which contained scientific experiments that were deployed and left on the Lunar surface, operated until it was commanded to shut down on 30 September 1977.

The Apollo 16 Command Module "Casper" is on display at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

See also
* Apollo 16 Lunar Module /ALSEP
* Apollo 16 SIVB
* Apollo 16 Subsatellite

N Chernykh discovered asteroids #2656 Evenkia and #3653.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #2688 Halley, #3275 Oberndorfer and #3692.

Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft launched from Earth to cross the orbit of Pluto and become more distant from the Sun than the outermost planet.

Died, Clifford D. Simak, American science fiction author

Clifford D[onald] Simak (3 August 1904 - 25 April 1988) was an American science fiction author (three-time Hugo recipient, including 1964 best novel Way Station). He believed science fiction that is not rooted in scientific fact was responsible for the failure of the genre to be taken seriously, stating his aim was to make the genre a part of what he called "realistic fiction."

One idea often found in his stories is that there is no past for a time traveler to go to. Instead, our world moves along in a stream of time, and to move to a different point in time is to move to another world altogether.

1990 12:33:51 GMT
NASA STS 31 astronauts deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit from the space shuttle Discovery.

The STS 31 launch was originally scheduled for 18 April 1990, then moved up to 12 April, then to 10 April, following the Flight Readiness Review (FRR). This was the first time a date set at the FRR was earlier than that shown on previous planning schedules. However, the launch on 10 April was scrubbed at T-4 minutes due to a faulty valve in Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) number one. The APU was replaced, and the payload batteries recharged. The countdown on 24 April 1990 was briefly halted at T-31 seconds when the computer software failed to shut down a fuel valve line on the ground support equipment. Engineers ordered valve to shut manually, and the countdown continued.

STS 31's primary payload, the Hubble Space Telescope, was deployed into a 380 statute mile orbit on 25 April 1990. The secondary payloads were: the IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC) to document operations outside the crew cabin and a hand-held IMAX camera for use inside the crew cabin; the Ascent Particle Monitor (APM) to detect particulate matter in the payload bay; the Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment to provide data on growing protein crystals in microgravity; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure the gamma ray levels in crew cabin; the Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP) experiment to determine porosity control in the microgravity environment; a Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment to study effects of near-weightlessness on electrical arcs; and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS 31 ended 29 April 1990 when Discovery landed on revolution 80 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California, with the first use of the new carbon brakes at landing. Rollout distance: 8,889 feet. Rollout time: 61 seconds. Launch weight: 249,109 pounds. Landing weight: 189,118 pounds. Orbit altitude: 330 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: five days, one hour, 16 minutes, six seconds. Miles traveled: 2.1 million. The orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 7 May 1990.

The flight crew for STS 31 was: Loren J. Shriver, Commander; Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Pilot; Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist 1; Bruce McCandless II, Mission Specialist 2; Kathryn D. Sullivan, Mission Specialist 3.

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