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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 26

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Born, Hans Henning Hosenthien, rocket engineer, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Flight Dynamics Branch, Guidance/Control Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

F Sy discovered asteroid #858 El Djezair.

C Jackson discovered asteroid #1245 Calvinia.

A Goddard series L section C rocket reached an altitude 140 feet, then veered to the right and landed 500-600 feet from the launch tower.

The US Congress passed Public Law 557, which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

Born, Mohammed Ahmed Faris (at Aleppo, Syria), Soviet cosmonaut, first Syrian to fly in space (Mir EP-1)

Born, Sally Ride PhD (at Los Angeles, California, USA), the first American woman in space (STS 7, STS 41G) (deceased)

Sally Kristen Ride, PhD (26 May 1951 - 23 July 2012) was the first American woman in space, and the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space (age 32). Dr. Ride's first trip into space was aboard NASA's space shuttle Challenger (STS 7, 18-24 June 1983). Her second (and last) space flight was the eight-day Challenger (STS 41-G) mission (October, 1984). Dr. Ride died of pancreatic cancer.

Astronaut Sally Ride, NASA photo

Died, Lincoln Ellsworth, led the first successful transarctic and transantarctic flights

The first production H-1 engine for NASA's Saturn I booster was test fired for the first time at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Assembly of NASA's first Saturn flight booster, SA-1, began at Marshall Space Flight Center.

1960 17:08:00 GMT
NASA launched X-15A SAS, High alpha, BCS Test mission # 17 in which Scott Crossfield reached a maximum speed of 2337 kph (Mach 2.20), and a maximum altitude of 15.631 km. It was also the first test of the reaction control system.

Freedom 7, the Mercury capsule in which Alan Shepard made his space flight on 5 May, was displayed at the Paris International Air Show. Details of the spacecraft and of Shepard's flight were related to about 650,000 visitors through 4 June.

NASA's Saturn V F-1 engine was first fired at full power (more than 1.5 million pounds of thrust) for 2.5 minutes at the Edwards Rocket Site, California.

Due to continuing problems with the readout drive system, NASA terminated the photographic portion of the Lunar Orbiter 4 mission.

Lunar Orbiter 4, launched 4 May 1967, was designed to take advantage of the fact the three previous Lunar Orbiters had completed the required needs for Apollo mapping and site selection. It was given a more general objective, to "perform a broad systematic photographic survey of Lunar surface features in order to increase the scientific knowledge of their nature, origin, and processes, and to serve as a basis for selecting sites for more detailed scientific study by subsequent orbital and landing missions." It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near polar high Lunar orbit on 7 May 1967 for data acquisition. The orbit was 2706 km x 6111 km with an inclination of 85.5 degrees and a period of 12 hours.

After initial photography on 11 May 1967, problems started occurring with the camera's thermal door, which was not responding well to commands to open and close. Fear that the door could become stuck in the closed position, covering the camera lenses, led to a decision to leave the door open. This required extra attitude control manuevers on each orbit to prevent light leakage into the camera which would ruin the film. On 13 May it was discovered that light leakage was damaging some of the film, and the door was tested and partially closed. Some fogging of the lens was then suspected due to condensation resulting from the lower temperatures. Changes in the spacecraft's attitude raised the temperature of the camera and generally eliminated the fogging. Continuing problems with the readout drive mechanism starting and stopping beginning on 20 May resulted in a decision to terminate the photographic portion of the mission on 26 May. Despite problems with the readout drive, the entire film was read and transmitted. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 11 May to 26 May 1967, and readout occurred through 1 June 1967. The orbit was then lowered to gather orbital data for the upcoming Lunar Orbiter 5 mission.

A total of 419 high resolution and 127 medium resolution frames were acquired covering 99% of the Moon's near side at resolutions from 58 meters to 134 meters. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Radiation data showed increased dosages due to solar particle events producing low energy protons. The spacecraft was used for tracking purposes until it impacted the Lunar surface due to the natural decay of the orbit on 31 October 1967, between 22 and 30 degrees W longitude.

Results of the Lunar Orbiter Program

NASA's Lunar Orbiter program consisted of 5 Lunar Orbiters which returned photographs of 99% of the surface of the Moon (both the near and far sides) with resolution down to 1 meter. Altogether the Orbiters returned 2180 high resolution and 882 medium resolution frames. The micrometeoroid experiments recorded 22 impacts showing the average micrometeoroid flux near the Moon was about two orders of magnitude greater than in interplanetary space but slightly less than the near Earth environment. The radiation experiments confirmed that the design of the Apollo hardware would protect the astronauts from average and greater-than-average short term exposure to solar particle events. The use of the Lunar Orbiters for tracking to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program was successful, with three Lunar Orbiters (2, 3, and 5) being tracked simultaneously from August to October 1967. The Lunar Orbiters were all eventually commanded to crash on the Moon before their attitude control gas ran out so they would not present navigational or communications hazards to the later Apollo flights.

See also

NASA's Apollo 10 reached a re-entry speed of 39,897 km/h (11.08 km/s or 24,791 mph), the fastest ever reached by humans as reported by the 2002 Guinness World Records.

1969 16:52:23 GMT
Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after a mission elapsed time of 192 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds for the final Apollo "dry run" 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).

A Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.

N Chernykh discovered asteroid #2426 Simonov.

1977 21:47:00 GMT
The Intelsat 4A F-4 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. It was positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 34.5 deg W in 1977-1983; at 21.5 deg W in 1983-1989.

1980 18:20:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 36 carrying the fifth international crew under the INTERCOSMOS program, comprising V. N. Kubasov (USSR) and B. Farkas (Hungary), to the Salyut 6 station to carry out scientific research and experiments.

1983 15:18:00 GMT
ESA's EXOSAT X-ray astronomy satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral.

The European X-ray Observatory Satellite (EXOSAT), launched 26 May 1983, was a space research satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The scientific mission of the European X-ray Observatory Satellite (EXOSAT) was to measure the position, structural features, and spectral and temporal characteristics of cosmic X-ray sources in the approximate range 0.O4 to 80 keV. EXOSAT used two operational modes: (a) occultation mode, for precise determination and identification of sources, and observation of structural features, using the Moon or Earth as the occulting body, and (b) arbitrary pointing mode for study of temporal and spectral variability of sources over long uninterrupted time intervals, and mapping of low-energy sources. The observatory, placed in a highly eccentric orbit with its apogee at 200,000 km and at a high latitude, was capable of observing Lunar occultations over 20% of the celestial sphere within a year. The positional accuracy of bright (>1E-2 photons/sq cm-s in the range >1.5 keV) sources was limited to about 1 arcsec by the inaccuracy of measurement of the position of the satellite and the uncertainty of the topography of the Lunar limb. For weaker sources, the accuracy was limited by statistics; i.e., the total number of X-ray quanta received during the time of the corresponding angular displacement of the Moon. When not engaged in occultation observations, the observatory could view the sky uninterruptedly in any chosen direction (except 60 deg about the solar direction) for as long as the orbital period was above the Van Allen belts (approximately 80 hours). With accurate timekeeping on board, and with the capability of long continuous observation, EXOSAT could determine regular and irregular variations of the intensity of X-ray sources on a time scale ranging from tens of microseconds to tens of hours. The triaxial stabilized spacecraft was cylindrical with a diameter of 192 cm and a height of 117 cm. A rotatable solar array with an area of 3 sq m was mounted on top of the spacecraft. The star trackers were mounted on the optical benches of the two imaging telescopes to facilitate alignment and stability. In the occultation mode, the observatory was able to view all of the celestial sphere except for a cone of half-angle 15 degrees centered on the Sun; in the arbitrary pointing mode the excluded cone was a cone of half-angle 60 degrees, also centered on the Sun. Consumables were distributed to enable some 100 orbital maneuvers for Lunar occultation to be undertaken and over 2000 targets to be observed. The scientific payload was funded, and its development managed, by ESA. Use of the observatory was open to the scientific community following selection of observational proposals.

EXOSAT re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 6 May 1986.

C and E Shoemaker discovered asteroid #3317 Paris.

1988 15:27:00 GMT
USSR launched the Molniya 3-32 communications satellite for operation of long-range telephone and telegraph in the USSR, and for transmission of USSR Central Television programs in the Orbita network and within the framework of international cooperation.

1991 10:03:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz TM-11 landed with the crew of Afanasyev, Manarov and Sharman aboard, returning from the Mir space station.

1993 04:07:00 GMT
Russia launched the Molniya 1-86 communication satellite, replacing Molniya 1-81, for operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio communications system, and for transmission of television programs to stations in the Orbita network.

1999 06:22:00 GMT
Germany's DLR-Tubsat was carried into orbit on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C2 (PSLV C2) launched from Sriharikota, along with two other satellites.

TUBSAT was a German remote sensing microsatellite launched 26 May 1999. The payload consisted of a triple-lens camera system: a wide angle 16 mm lens with a black and white CCD chip, a standard angle 50 mm lens with color CCD chip, and a 1,000 mm telephoto lens with a black and white CCD chip. The spatial resolutions of the Earth pictures were respectively 370 m, 120 m, and 6 m.

The satellite was a cube 32 cm on each side. It was mainly used for high resolution Earth observation tasks in live TV mode. The pictures could be received with a standard satellite dish a minimum of 3 meters in diameter. Users would transmit the coordinates of a point on the Earth, and the satellite computed the needed attitude control actions to track the point during the crossing.

DLR-Tubsat carried on the experimental work of Tubsat-A and -B. The technology demonstrator conducted Earth observation and attitude control experiments. Last contact was in 2009 following a battery failure.

See also
See also

1999 06:22:00 GMT
India's OceanSat 1 (IRS-P4) was carried into orbit on their Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C2 (PSLV C2) launched from Sriharikota, along with two other satellites.

India's Oceansat 1 (IRS P4 - Indian Remote Sensor P4), launched 26 May 1999, was a remote sensing satellite placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite carried an OCM (Ocean Color Monitor) and a MSMR (Multi-frequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer) instrument. OCM was used to monitor (globally) potential fishery zones, ocean currents, and pollution and sediment inputs in the coastal zones. It operated on eight wavelength bands, providing data with a swath width of 1,420 km and at a resolution of 350 meters. MSMR was used to monitor, at 6.6 GHz, sea surface temperature, wind speed, and cloud vapor/water content.

1999 06:22:00 GMT
South Korea's KITSAT-3 was launched into orbit on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C2 (PSLV C2) launched from Sriharikota, along with two other satellites.

KITSAT 3, launched 26 May 1999, was a South Korean remote sensing minisatellite. The satellite carried a MEIS (Multispectral Earth Imaging System) and a SENSE (Space ENvironment Scientific Experiment) instrument. The spatial resolution of MEIS was 15 m. SENSE was used to monitor the temperature and density of ionospheric plasma.

2000 18:03:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 101 (Atlantis) undocked from the ISS during the International Space Station Flight 2A.2a mission.

STS 101 was launched 19 May 2000, an ISS logistics flight. During the mission, the shuttle Atlantis spent nearly 10 days in space, six of which (20 May - 26 May) were spent docked with the International Space Station.

On STS 101, Atlantis flew as the most updated space shuttle ever, outfitted with a new "glass cockpit" which was 34 kilograms (75 pounds) lighter and used less power than before, and other state-of-the-art upgrades to key systems, including more than 100 new modifications incorporated during a ten month period at Boeing's Palmdale, California, shuttle factory in 1998. Among the improvements: Atlantis' airlock was relocated to the payload bay to prepare for International Space Station assembly flights; the communications system was updated; several weight reduction measures were installed; enhancements were made to provide additional protection to the cooling system; and the crew cabin floor was strengthened.

While docked with the space station, the crew refurbished and replaced components in both the Zarya and Unity Modules. Voss and Williams performed a 6.5 hour space walk the day after docking to install a Russian Strela cargo boom on the outside of Zarya. They also replaced a faulty radio antenna and performed several other tasks in advance of space walks on future station assembly missions.

The top priority for STS 101 was to replace four of six 800 ampere batteries in the Zarya Module. Zarya received additional new equipment: four cooling fans and ducting to improve airflow, three fire extinguishers, ten smoke detectors, and an onboard computer. A suspect radio frequency power distribution box in Unity used as part of the early S-band communications system was also replaced.

Three hour-long orbit raising burns on 24 and 25 May by the Reaction Control System (RCS) engines on Atlantis were used to raise the station to a 372 x 380 km x 51.6 deg orbit.

STS 101 ended on 29 May 2000 when Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It was the fourteenth nighttime landing in Shuttle history, and the twenty-second consecutive mission to end with a landing at KSC. Mission duration: 9 days, 20 hours, 9 minutes. Orbit altitude: 173 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Miles traveled: 4.1 million.

The flight crew for STS 101 was: James D. Halsell, Commander; Scott J. Horowitz, Pilot; Mary Ellen Weber, Mission Specialist 1; Jeffrey N. Williams, Mission Specialist 2; James S. Voss, Mission Specialist 3; Susan J. Helms, Mission Specialist 4; Yuri V. Usachev (RSA), Mission Specialist 5. For Usachev, Voss and Helms, the short visit to the ISS was a preview of the much longer time they would spend aboard the outpost as the Expedition Two crew in 2001.

Died, Gerald S. Hawkins, astronomer (Stonehenge as a primitive observatory)

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