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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 22

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Race To Space
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               ... but at what cost?
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The fourteenth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred, as determined in part by the observations of Chinese astronomers.

H. Goldschmidt discovered asteroid #41 Daphne.

Died, Julius Plucker, German mathematician and physicist (analytical geometry, cathode rays)

Leroy Buffington received a patent for a system to build skyscrapers.

M. Wolf and A. Schwassmann discovered asteroid #455 Bruchsalia.

Orville and Wilbur Wright received US Patent # 821,393 on their airplane.

Born, Thomas Gold (at Vienna, Austria), British/American astrophysicist, proposed the steady-state theory of the universe with Hoyle and Bondi, proponent of abiogenic origin of petroleum

The first American rocket to escape Earth's atmosphere, JPL-Ordnance WAC Flight 2, reached an 80 km (50 mile) altitude, launched from White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico. It was the first fully successful production WAC flight.

L. Johnson discovered asteroid #1580 Betulia.

1962 18:04:00 GMT
NASA launched X-15A local flow test mission #54 in which USAF Major Robert A. Rushworth flew to 100,400 ft (30.602 km, 19.015 mi) on a "roller coaster" flight with a max. speed of 3450 mph (5552 kph, Mach 5.03) and 3 peaks for local airflow investigation.

1963 03:07:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 17 into orbit "for investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space."

1965 21:55:00 GMT
NASA launched the FIRE 2 suborbital reentry heating experiment.

On 22 May 1965, NASA launched a suborbital reentry heating experiment using the FIRE subscale Apollo capsule. An Atlas D booster propelled the instrumented probe, called a "flying thermometer," into a ballistic trajectory over 805 km (500 mi) high. After 26 minutes of flight, when the spacecraft began its descent, a solid-fueled Antares rocket accelerated its fall.

The probe entered the atmosphere at a speed of 40,877 km (25,400 mph), generating temperatures of about 11,206K (20,000 degrees F). Data on heating were transmitted to ground stations throughout the descent. Thirty-two minutes after the launch - and only six minutes after the Antares was fired - the device impacted the Atlantic about 8,256 km (5,130 mi) southeast of Cape Canaveral.

FIRE 2 reentry heating experiment being launched, NASA photo

1969 02:00:00 GMT
The Intelsat 3 F-4 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Pacific Ocean at 175 deg E in 1969-1972; and over the Pacific Ocean at 166 deg W in 1977.

1969 19:36:17 GMT
Apollo 10 astronauts Stafford and Cernan entered the Lunar Module (LM), and fired the SM reaction control thrusters to separate the LM from the Command/Service Module (CSM) for their approach to the Moon.

Apollo 10, launched 18 May 1969, was the second Apollo mission to orbit the Moon, and the first to travel to the Moon with the full Apollo spacecraft, consisting of the Command and Service Module (CSM-106, "Charlie Brown") and the Lunar Module (LM-4, "Snoopy"). The CSM mass of 28,834 kg included propellants and expendables; the LM mass including propellants was 13,941 kg. The primary objectives of the mission were to demonstrate crew, space vehicle, and mission support facilities during a manned Lunar mission and to evaluate LM performance in cislunar and Lunar environment. The mission was a full "dry run" for the Apollo 11 mission, in which all operations except the actual Lunar landing were performed. The flight carried a three man crew: Commander Thomas P. Stafford, Command Module (CM) Pilot John W. Young, and Lunar Module (LM) Pilot Eugene A. Cernan.

After launch, the spacecraft was inserted into a 189.9 km x 184.4 km Earth parking orbit at 17:00:54 UT, followed by translunar injection after 1 1/2 orbits at 19:28:21 UT. The CSM separated from the Saturn V 3rd stage (S-IVB) at 19:51:42 UT, transposed, and docked with the LM at 20:06:37. TV coverage of the docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, California tracking station for worldwide commercial viewing. Having achieved a trajectory towards the Moon, the Apollo 10 LM and CSM decoupled from the SIVB at 20:45 UT on 18 May and made a course correction to head for Lunar orbit. The SIVB stage was put on a ballistic trajectory by venting residual propellants where it flew by the Moon on 21 May and entered solar orbit.

On 19 May, the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July Lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 pm EDT. The maneuver was so accurate that the preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions, totaling 72 minutes, were made of the spacecraft and the Earth.

After a three day cruise, Apollo 10 entered an initial 315.5 km x 110.4 km Lunar orbit on 21 May 1969 at 20:44:54 UT, using a 356 sec. SPS burn. A second SPS burn lasting 19.3 seconds circularized the orbit to 113.9 km x 109.1 km.

On 22 May, Stafford and Cernan entered the LM and fired the SM reaction control thrusters to separate the LM from the CSM at 19:36:17 UT. The LM was put into an orbit to allow low altitude passes over the Lunar surface, the closest approach bringing it to within 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) of the Moon. All systems on the LM were tested during the separation including communications, propulsion, attitude control, and radar. The tests included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of Lunar lighting, stereo photography of the Moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The LM made a low-level pass over the planned site for the first Lunar landing. Numerous close-up photographs of the Moon's surface, in particular the planned Apollo landing sites, were taken. The LM descent stage was jettisoned into Lunar orbit. An error in switch positions brought a heart-stopping moment when the LM ascent stage went into wild gyrations after separation from the descent stage, possibly a fatal error if it had occurred during take off from the surface on a landing mission. The LM and CSM rendezvous and redocking occurred 8 hours after separation at 03:22 UT on 23 May.

Later on 23 May, the LM ascent stage was jettisoned into solar orbit after its batteries were burned to depletion. On 24 May, at 10:25:29 UT, after 61.5 hours in 31 Lunar orbits, the CSM rockets were fired for transearth injection. During the return trip, the astronauts made star-Lunar landmark sightings, star-Earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions. CM-SM separation took place on 26 May at 16:22:26 UT, and Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 26 May 1969 at 16:52:23 UT (12:52:23 p.m. EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 192 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds. The splashdown point was 15 deg 2 min S, 164 deg 39 min W, 400 miles east of American Samoa and 5.5 km (3.4 mi) from the recovery ship USS Princeton.

All systems on both spacecraft functioned nominally, the only exception being an anomaly in the automatic abort guidance system aboard the LM. In addition to extensive photography of the Lunar surface from both the LM and CSM, television images were taken and transmitted to Earth.

The Apollo 10 Command Module "Charlie Brown" is on display at the Science Museum, London, England.

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two Lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a Lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of these six missions walked on the Moon (Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt), the only humans to have set foot on another solar system body (as of 2015).

Apollo 10 Lunar Module after separation from the Command Module, NASA photo

1969 21:29:43 GMT
NASA's Apollo 10 Lunar Module descended to 15.6 km (9.69 mi, 51,180 ft) above the Moon in a dry run for the Apollo 11 Lunar landing mission.
see above

USSR's Cosmos 557 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

Cosmos 557, launched 11 May 1973, was believed to be an unmanned Soyuz-type vehicle, although the USSR denied any relationship to a manned program. It may have been launched in an attempt to salvage part of the Salyut 2 mission, to serve as a substitute for the Salyut vehicle. It transmitted on a frequency of 922.75 mh, the same as used by Salyut spacecraft. The mission was apparently completed in 4 days; the craft subsequently reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 22 May 1973.

1975 22:04:00 GMT
The Intelsat 4 F-1 communication satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 63 deg E 1976-78; at 17.0 deg W in 1978; at 18.5 deg W 1979-81; at 174 deg E in 1982; at 53 deg W 1983-84; at 50 deg W 1984-87.

1976 07:42:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched P76-5 from Vandenburg AFB to evaluate propagation effects of disturbed plasmas on radar and communications systems.

1979 23:00:00 GMT
USSR launched a Proton booster carrying the Cosmos 1100 and 1101 satellites into orbit in an unmanned test of the TKS-VA capsule.

Cosmos 1100 and 1101 were launched from Baikonur on 22 May 1979, a test of the TKS-VA manned capsule with two satellites launched by a single Proton rocket. One capsule failed when the automatic system suffered an electrical distribution failure and it did not land correctly, spending two orbits in space. The other landed as planned, after one orbit. The launch again successfully demonstrated the reusability of the VA capsule. Plans to launch the upper capsule manned were scrubbed due to the inability to get two consecutive failure-free launches of the Proton/TKS-VA.

H. Debehogne discovered asteroids #2590 Mourao, #2673, #2926 Caldeira, #3138 and #3374.

1981 13:58:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 40 returned its crew of cosmonauts Dumitru Prunariu (Romania) and Leonid Popov (Soviet Union) to Earth after their mission to Salyut 6.

1981 22:29:00 GMT
NASA launched the GOES 5 weather satellite into orbit. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 85 deg W in 1981; 75 deg W from 1981-1987; 106 deg W from 1987-1988; 65 deg W from 1988-1989.

1993 06:41:47 GMT
Russia launched the Progress M-18 resupply vehicle to the Mir space station.

Progress M-18 was launched 22 May 1993, an unmanned resupply vessel sent to the Mir space station. It was the last launch using the Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle. Progress M-18 docked with Mir's front port on 24 May 1993 08:24:44 GMT. In addition to other supplies, it carried repair equipment for a spacewalk device damaged a month before. Progress M-18 undocked on 3 Jul 1993 15:58:16 GMT, with Soyuz TM-17 docking at the same port less than two hours later at 17:45 GMT. Meanwhile, Progress M-17 remained docked to the Kvant rear port on a longevity test. Progress M-18 was destroyed in reentry on 4 Jul 1993 17:13:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.12 days. Total docked time 40.31 days.

1994 04:30:00 GMT
Russia launched the Progress M-23 unmanned resupply vehicle to the Mir space station.

Progress M-23 was launched 22 May 1994 as an unmanned resupply vessel sent to the Mir space station, with a Raduga return capsule. It docked with Mir on 24 May 1994 06:18:35 GMT, and undocked on 2 Jul 1994 08:46:49 GMT. The braking engine was ignited at 14:44 GMT, and the Raduga VBK reentry capsule was ejected at 14:55:45 GMT. The Progress burnt up in the atmosphere at 14:57 GMT. The Raduga deployed its parachute after reentry and landed on 2 Jul 1994 15:09:00 GMT at 51 deg 41 min N, 59 deg 21 min E, in the Orenburg region. Total free-flight time 2.34 days. Total docked time 39.10 days.

During the 5h 15m Mir EO-18-3 EVA, cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennadi Strekalov completed the installation of a solar array moved on May 17. Astronaut Norman Thagard then commanded the array to unfold, restoring Mir's electrical supply.

During the STS-101-1 EVA, Williams and Voss reattached the US crane to the ISS, attached the Russian Strela transfer boom, and replaced a faulty antenna on the Unity node. EVA handrails were fixed to the ISS exterior for use on later spacewalks.

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