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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 May 7

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Died, David Fabricius, German astronomer (discovered the first known variable star in 1596)

L Carnera discovered asteroid #485 Genua.

R S Dugan discovered asteroid #535 Montague.

Born, Edwin H. Land, US inventor (Polaroid)

Edwin Herbert Land (7 May 1909 - 1 March 1991) was the inventor of the Polaroid Land Camera, which pioneered "instant" (self-developing) film photography. Land received the Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a US citizen. He also received over 500 patents. He developed a new kind of polarizer, which he called Polaroid, by aligning and embedding crystals in a plastic sheet. He received numerous awards and honorary degrees.

During World War II, Land invented infrared filters, dark-adaptation goggles, and target finders; and patented the Polaroid Land Camera.

His daughter later inspired him to make the pictures develop faster when she, as an impatient 6 year-old, asked him why it took so long for them to develop.

G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1146 Biarmia.

Hermann Oberth launched his first liquid-propellant rocket, near Berlin, Germany.

C Jackson discovered asteroids #1243 Pamela and #1321 Majuba.

The first flight of an airplane with a pressurized fuselage was made, the Lockheed XC-35, produced at a total cost of $112,197.

Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (TTK, translated to English as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation), later renamed Sony, was founded with about 20 employees, initially repairing radios for the surrounding populace.

The concept for the integrated circuit, the basis for nearly all modern computers and other electronic products, was first published by Geoffrey W. A. Dummer.

US Army Air Force Major Howard Johnson set a new world altitude record for an operational aircraft, reaching an altitude of 27,810 meters (91,240 feet, 17.28 miles) in a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.

Born, Tamara E. "Tammy" Jernigan, PhD (at Chattoonaga, Tennessee, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 40, STS 52, STS 67, STS 80, STS 96)

Astronaut Tammy Jernigan, NASA photo

1963 11:31:00 GMT
SETC Telstar 2 was launched into an orbit with an apogee of 6,700 miles (10,800 km).

Telstar 2, launched 7 May 1963, was primarily a communications satellite, but also carried an experiment designed to measure the energetic proton and electron distribution in the Van Allen belts. The spacecraft spin axis shortly after launch was about 80 deg to the ecliptic plane. The initial spin rate was 180 rpm, and it varied slowly over the life of the spacecraft. Telstar 2 was essentially identical to Telstar 1. It employed two transmitters, and data were telemetered via a PCM/FM/AM encoder. The telemetry sequence required about 1 minute to complete. Telstar 2 differed from Telstar 1 by employing provisions for scientific information to be transmitted in real time via the microwave telemetry system so that telemetry could be obtained after the 2 year timer had turned off the VHF beacon, which occurred n 16 May 1965 during the satellite's 4736 orbit. All systems operated normally until that time.

1975 22:45:01 GMT
NASA launched Small Astronomy Satellite 3 (SAS-C, also called Explorer 53) on an X-ray astronomy mission.

SAS-C was the third in the series of small spacecraft whose objectives were to survey the celestial sphere for sources radiating in the X-ray, gamma-ray, UV, and other spectral regions. The primary missions of SAS-C were to measure the X-ray emission of discrete extragalactic sources, to monitor the intensity and spectra of galactic X-ray sources from 0.2 to 60 keV, and to monitor the X-ray intensity of Scorpio X-1.

The spacecraft was launched 7 May 1975 from the San Marco platform off the coast of Kenya, Africa, into a near-circular, equatorial orbit. This spacecraft contained four instruments: the Extragalactic Experiment, the Galactic Monitor Experiment, the Scorpio Monitor Experiment, and the Galactic Absorption Experiment. In its orbital configuration, the spacecraft was 145.2 cm (57 inches) high, and its tip-to-tip dimension was 470.3 cm (15 feet 5 inches). Four solar paddles were used in conjunction with a 12-cell nickel-cadmium battery to provide power over the entire orbit. The spacecraft was stabilized along the Z axis and rotated at about 0.1 deg/s. Changes to the spin-axis orientation were by ground command, either delayed or in real time. The spacecraft could be made to move back and forth plus or minus 2.5 deg across a selected source along the X axis at 0.01 deg/s. The experiments looked along the Z axis of the spacecraft, perpendicular to it, and at an angle.

Small Astronomy Satellite 3 (SAS-C, aka Explorer 53), NASA drawing

1992 19:40:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 49 (Endeavor 1, 47th Shuttle mission) to repair the Intelsat VI satellite.

STS 49 was the first flight of the shuttle Endeavour, which was built to replace the Challenger. Following the Flight Readiness Firing of Endeavour's three main engines 6 April 1992, Shuttle managers decided to replace all three due to irregularities detected in two of the high pressure oxidizer turbopumps, which had no impact on the launch date. The launch was originally set for 4 May at 8:34 p.m. EDT, but was moved to 7 May to utilize the earlier launch window opening at 7:06 p.m. EDT so there would be better lighting conditions for photographic documentation of vehicle behavior during the launch phase. Liftoff was delayed 34 minutes due to transoceanic abort landing site weather conditions, and a technical glitch with one of the orbiter master events controllers, but otherwise proceeded smoothly.

STS 49 was the first US orbital flight to feature four extravehicular activities (EVAs), two of which were the longest in US space flight history to date (eight hours, 29 minutes and seven hours, 45 minutes), and the longest to date by a female astronaut; it was the first space flight ever to involve three crew members simultaneously working outside the spacecraft; and the first time astronauts attached a live rocket motor to an orbiting satellite. The flight was also extended two days to complete the mission objectives.

The crew successfully captured and redeployed the INTELSAT VI (F-3) satellite which had been stranded in an unusable orbit since its launch aboard a Titan rocket in March 1990. The capture ultimately required three EVAs to complete. The first space walk was on flight day four by Thuot, who was unable to attach the capture bar to INTELSAT from his position on remote manipulator system arm. The second unscheduled but identical attempt by Thuot failed the following day. After a rest on flight day six, an unprecedented three-person EVA was performed on flight day seven (13 May 1992). During the longest EVA in US space history to date (eight hours, 29 minutes), Hieb, Thuot and Akers grasped the rotating INTELSAT by hand while Brandenstein maneuvered the orbiter. After the capture bar was attached to the satellite, the orbiter's remote manipulator system arm grappled the bar and placed the satellite atop the perigee kick motor (PKM) in the cargo bay. The satellite was deployed early on flight day eight, and INTELSAT controllers signaled the PKM to fire, finally sending INTELSAT VI into its operating orbit of 45,000 nautical miles (83,340 kilometers).

On flight day eight, Akers and Thornton performed an EVA as part of the Assembly of Station by EVA Methods (ASEM) experiment to demonstrate and verify maintenance and assembly capabilities for Space Station Freedom. (The station had not been renamed to "International Space Station" at the time of this flight.) The ASEM space walk, originally planned for two successive days, was cut to one day due to the lengthy INTELSAT retrieval operation.

Additional payloads which flew on STS 49 were: the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) experiment; and two payloads of opportunity, the Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI) experiment and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS 49 ended on 16 May 1992 when Endeavor landed on revolution 141 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. This flight marked the first use of the drag chute during landing; it was deployed after the nosegear touched down for data collection only. Rollout distance: 9,490 feet (2,893 meters). Rollout time: 58 seconds. Launch weight: 256,597 pounds. Landing weight: 201,649 pounds. Orbit altitude: 195 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.35 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, 21 hours, 17 minutes, and 38 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.7 million. The orbiter was returned to Kennedy Space Center on 30 May 1992.

The flight crew for STS 49 was: Daniel C. Brandenstein, Commander; Kevin P. Chilton, Pilot; Pierre J. Thuot, Mission Specialist 1; Kathryn C. Thornton, Mission Specialist 2; Richard J. Hieb, Mission Specialist 3; Thomas D. Akers, Mission Specialist 4; Bruce E. Melnick, Mission Specialist 5.

1994 14:39:00 GMT
A thruster on the US Clementine probe malfunctioned and fired continuously for 11 minutes, using up its fuel supply and making the planned trip to asteroid 1620 Geographos unable to yield useful results.

Clementine was a joint project between the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO, nee the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, or SDIO) and NASA, launched 25 January 1994. The mission's objectives were to test sensors and spacecraft components under extended exposure to the space environment, and to make scientific observations of the Moon and the near-Earth asteroid 1620 Geographos. The Geographos observations were not made due to a spacecraft malfunction. The Lunar observations made included imaging at various wavelengths in visible, ultraviolet and infrared ranges, laser ranging altimetry, gravimetry, and charged particle measurements. These observations were for obtaining multi-spectral imaging of the entire Lunar surface, assessing the surface mineralogy of the Moon and obtaining altimetry from 60N to 60S latitude, and gravity data for the near side. There were also plans to image and determine the size, shape, rotational characteristics, surface properties, and cratering statistics of Geographos. Clementine carried 7 distinct experiments on-board: a UV/Visible Camera, a Near Infrared Camera, a Long Wavelength Infrared Camera, a High Resolution Camera, two Star Tracker Cameras, a Laser Altimeter, and a Charged Particle Telescope. Its S-band transmitter was used for communications, tracking, and in the gravimetry experiment.

The mission had two phases. After two Earth flybys, a Lunar orbit insertion was executed approximately one month after launch. Lunar mapping then took place over two months, in two parts. The first part consisted of a five hour elliptical polar orbit with a periapsis of about 400 Km at 30 degrees south latitude and an apoapsis of 8300 Km. Each orbit consisted of an 80 minute Lunar mapping phase near periapsis and 139 minutes of downlink at apoapsis. After one month of mapping from this first orbit, the orbit was rotated to a periapsis at 30 degrees north latitude, where it remained for one more month. This allowed global imaging and altimetry coverage from 60 degrees south to 60 degrees north, over a total of 300 orbits. After a Lunar/Earth transfer and two more Earth flybys, the spacecraft was to head for Geographos, arriving three months later for a flyby, with a nominal approach closer than 100 Km. Unfortunately, after the first Earth transfer orbit maneuver was performed on 5 May 1994, a malfunction aboard the craft (7 May 1994) caused one of the attitude control thrusters to fire for 11 minutes, using up its fuel supply and causing Clementine to spin at 80 rpm. Under those conditions, the asteroid flyby could not yield useful results, so the spacecraft was put into a geocentric orbit passing through the Van Allen radiation belts to test the various components on board. The mission ended in June 1994 when the power level onboard dropped to a point where the telemetry from the spacecraft was no longer intelligible.

See also

NASA's Galileo probe made its fourth Ganymede flyby during its eight orbit around Jupiter.

Died, William "Pete" Knight, Colonel USAF, NASA test pilot (X-20, X-15)

William J. "Pete" Knight (19 November 1929 - 7 May 2004) was an American aeronautical engineer, NASA test pilot and astronaut in the X-20 and X-15 programs, USAF combat pilot in the Vietnam War, and a politician in California. Knight holds the world's speed record for flight in a manned winged, powered aircraft, set 3 October 1967 when he piloted the X-15A-2 to 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h) (Mach 6.72). As of 2016, the record stands unbroken.

In 1960, Knight was one of six test pilots selected to fly the X-20 Dyna-Soar, which was planned to be the first winged orbital space vehicle capable of lifting reentries and conventional landings. After the X-20 program was canceled in 1963, he completed the astronaut training curriculum of the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards AFB and was selected to fly the North American X-15.

Another adventure Knight had in the X-15 occurred on 29 June 1967 during X-15 flight # 184: While climbing through 107,000 feet (32.613 km) at Mach 4.17, the X-15 suffered a total electrical failure and all onboard systems shut down. After reaching a maximum altitude of 173,000 feet (52.730 km), he calmly set up a visual approach and, resorting to old-fashioned "seat-of-the-pants" flying, he glided down to a safe emergency landing at Mud Lake, Nevada. For his remarkable feat of airmanship that day, he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross.

See also:

Halley's Comet will pass within 13.9 million km (8.6 million mi) of Earth on its thirty-second recorded passage through the inner Solar system.

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