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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 23

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Born, Otto Lilienthal, German aircraft pioneer whose experiments with gliders contributed to the Wright brothers' success ("To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything.")

N R Pogson discovered asteroid #42 Isis.

Born, John Bardeen, physicist, two-time winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

John Bardeen (23 May 1908 - 30 January 1991) was an American physicist. He is the only person to have won two Nobel prizes in Physics, in 1956 for the transistor, along with William Bradford Shockley and Walter Brattain, and in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity, now called BCS theory, together with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer.

Born, Konstantin Davidovich Bushuyev, Russian engineer, Deputy Chief Designer to Korolev, 1954-1975; Chief Designer for the N1 booster; worked on a range of OKB-1 satellites and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1973-1975.

Fritz von Opel personally drove a rocket-car, the Opel Rak II, equipped with 24 Brander powder rockets, to 230 kph (143 mph) at Berlin.

A German Mirak II / Repulsor 2 rocket reached 60 m before heading off horizontally over the Raketenflugplatz, ending up in a tree outside the perimeter, 600 meters from the launch point.

Born, Bruce A. Peterson (at Washburn, North Dakota, USA), NASA test pilot 1960-1967, inspiration for TV's The Six Million Dollar Man

Born, Thomas Arthur Reiter (at Frankfurt on Main, Germany), German engineer, test pilot, ESA astronaut (Mir 20, ISS 14, 350+ total days in space)

NASA's Explorer 1 ceased transmission.

Explorer 1 was the first successfully launched US satellite. Launched 1 February 1958 on an adapted Jupiter-C rocket, Explorer 1 carried instrumentation for the study of cosmic rays, micrometeorites, and for monitoring of the satellite's temperature. Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 31 March 1970, after more than twelve years in orbit.

Avco introduced a proposal for a space station.

Representatives from Avco Manufacturing Corporation made a presentation 23 May 1962 to MSC (Marshall Space Center?) on a proposal for a space station. The prime purpose of the station, company spokesmen said, was to determine the effects of zero gravity on the crew's ability to stand reentry, and thus fix the limit that man could safely remain in orbit. Avco's proposed station design comprised three separate tubes about 3 m in diameter and 6 m long, launched separately aboard Titan IIs and joined in a triangular shape in orbit. A standard Gemini spacecraft was to serve as the crew ferry vehicle.

NASA announced American Apollo astronauts returning from the Moon would be quarantined.

The Life Sciences Committee of the National Academy of Sciences' Space Science Board recommended to NASA that American astronauts returning from the Moon and planets be kept in quarantine for at least three weeks to prevent possible contamination of the Earth by extraterrestrial organisms.

1969 03:22:00 GMT
The Apollo 10 LM and CSM rendezvous and redocking in Lunar orbit occurred 8 hours after their separation, during the final "dry run" mission prior to the first manned Lunar landing.

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).

1980 07:10:00 GMT
USSR launched a Soyuz rocket from Plesetsk cosmodrome carrying Cosmos 1182, a Soviet photo surveillance satellite.

1980 14:29:00 GMT
An Ariane 1 was launched from Kourou carrying the American Amsat Phase 3A satellite, the French Firewheel satellite with four subsatellites, and the ESRO CAT satellite. The booster suffered a Stage 1 combustion instability and failed to reach orbit.

1981 22:42:00 GMT
The Intelsat 5B F-1 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 24 deg W in 1981; 60 E 1982-84; 57 E 1984-86; 174 E 1986-88; 177 E 1988-90; 177 W 1990-92; 91 E 1993-96; 72 E 1996-97.

1982 05:58:49 GMT
The USSR launched Progress 13 to the Salyut 7 space station.

Progress 13 was an unmanned supply vessel launched to the Salyut 7 space station on 23 May 1982. Its purpose was to transport various cargoes to the Salyut-7 orbital station. Progress 13 docked with Salyut 7 on 25 May 1982 07:56:36 GMT, undocked on 4 Jun 1982 06:31:00 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 6 Jun 1982 00:05:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.81 days. Total docked time 9.94 days.

1984 01:33:29 GMT
The GTE Spacenet F1 communications satellite was launched from Kourou on an Ariane booster. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 120 deg W in 1984-93; 115 deg E in 1993.

USSR Soyuz TM 1 docked at the Mir space station.

Soyuz TM-1 was launched 21 May 1986, an nnmanned test of the new Soyuz vehicle. It docked with the Mir space station on 23 May 1987, undocked 29 May, and was recovered 30 May 1986.

Officially, Soyuz TM-1 was a comprehensive experimental testing of the spacecraft in independent flight and jointly with the Mir orbital station.

1995 05:52:02 GMT
NASA launched the GOES 9 weather satellite into orbit. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 90 deg W in 1995; 135 deg W in 1996-1998; 98-105 deg W in 1998-1999.

The Ulysses probe passed within 1.34 AU of the Sun in its second perihelion.

The primary objectives of Ulysses, formerly the International Solar Polar Mission (ISPM), were to investigate, as a function of solar latitude, the properties of the solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field, of galactic cosmic rays and neutral interstellar gas, and to study energetic particle composition and acceleration. The 55 kg payload included two magnetometers, two solar wind plasma instruments, a unified radio/plasma wave instrument, three energetic charged particle instruments, an interstellar neutral gas sensor, a solar X-ray/cosmic gamma-ray burst detector, and a cosmic dust sensor. The communications systems was also used to study the solar corona and to search for gravitational waves. Secondary objectives included interplanetary and planetary physics investigations during the initial Earth-Jupiter phase and investigations in the Jovian magnetosphere.

Ulysses was deployed from NASA's shuttle Discovery during the STS 41 mission on 6 October 1990. On leaving Earth, the spacecraft became the fastest ever artificially accelerated object, by means of two upper stages. The spacecraft used a Jupiter swingby on 8 February 1992 to transfer to a heliospheric orbit with high heliocentric inclination, and passed over the rotational south pole of the Sun in mid-1994 at 2 AU, and over the north pole in mid-1995. A second solar orbit took Ulysses again over the south and north poles in years 2000 and 2001, respectively. The Ulysses mission was extended until 30 June 2009, enabling it to continue operating while flying over the Sun's poles for the third time in 2007 and 2008.

On 1 May 1996, Ulysses unexpectedly crossed the ion tail of Comet Hyakutake (C/1996 B2), revealing the tail to be at least 3.8 AU in length.

The spacecraft was powered by a single radio-isotope generator. It was spin stabilized at a rate of 5 rpm and its high-gain antenna pointed continuously to the Earth, communicating on frequencies of 2111.6073/2293.1481 MHz and 8408.2099 MHz. A nutation anomaly after launch was controlled by CONSCAN.

Ulysses was commanded to switch off its transmitter at 20:15 UTC on 30 June 2009 after 6842 days (18 years 8 months 24 days) in orbit, due to the fact its orbital path was carrying the spacecraft away from Earth, and the ever-widening gap progressively limited the amount of data that could be transmitted.

The original mission planned for two spacecraft, one built by ESA and the other by NASA. NASA cancelled its spacecraft in 1981.

See also:
NASA/JPL Ulysses website
ESA Ulysses website

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