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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 30

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Died, Francois-Marie Arouet (later know as Voltaire), French philosopher

R. S. Dugan discovered the seventh largest asteroid, #511 Davida, which is estimated to be either the fifth or sixth most massive asteroid.

Died, Wilbur Wright, aviator

Wilbur Wright (16 April 1867 - 30 May 1912) and his younger brother Orville are generally credited with the design and construction of the first practical airplane, and making the first flight by a controllable, self powered, heavier than air craft which took off under its own power, on 17 December 1903, along with many other aviation milestones.

H E Wood discovered asteroid #1032 Pafuri.

Born, Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov (at Listvyanka, Kemerowo Oblast, Russian SFSR), cosmonaut (Voskhod II, Soyuz 19), the first person to walk in space

A Hermes B-1 test mission was launched from White Sands Proving Ground (WSPG), New Mexico, which achieved an apogee of 50 km, but was considered a failure.

The Hermes B-1, launched 30 May 1947 from White Sands, impacted a graveyard 18.5 km south of Juarez, Mexico on its first test flight. This, and the out-of-range V-2 impact on 15 May, resulted in new safety measures at WSPG. One of the researchers has been reported as making the tongue-in-cheek observation "We were the first German unit to not only infiltrate the United States, but to attack Mexico from US soil." The Hermes B-1 vehicle was deeply classified at the time. Hermes experiments were conducted with modified V-2 rockets to test the configuration of a ramjet propulsion system. Four Hermes B-1 rockets were flown from Complex 33 at WSPG, none of which were noted in the contemporary records.

Born, Michael Eladio Lopez-Alegria (at Madrid, Spain), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 73, STS 113, ISS 14)

Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, NASA photo

Born, Helen Patricia Sharman (at Sheffield, UK), British chemist, first British astronaut (Soyuz TM-12), first woman to visit Mir

USSR's Luna 10 transmissions were terminated.

Luna 10 was launched towards the Moon on 31 March 1966. The spacecraft entered Lunar orbit on 3 April 1966 and completed its first orbit 3 hours later (on 4 April, Moscow time). Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3-3.0 MeV, a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the Lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted.

The spacecraft played back to Earth the "International" during the Twenty-third Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 Lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on 30 May 1966.

1966 14:41:00 GMT
NASA launched Surveyor 1, the first US probe to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.

Surveyor 1, launched 30 May 1966, was the first spacecraft in NASA's Surveyor program, and the first to make a soft landing on the Moon for the US. The mission was considered a complete success, and demonstrated the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the Lunar surface. The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, a series of seven robotic Lunar soft landing flights, were to support the coming crewed Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the Lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon. The specific primary objectives for Surveyor 1 were to: (1) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor spacecraft to perform successful midcourse and terminal maneuvers, and to achieve a soft landing on the Moon; (2) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor communications system and Deep Space Network to maintain communications with the spacecraft during its flight and after a soft landing; and (3) demonstrate the capability of the Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle to inject the Surveyor spacecraft on a Lunar intercept trajectory. Secondary objectives were to obtain engineering data on spacecraft subsystems used during cruise, descent and after landing. Tertiary objectives were to obtain postlanding TV pictures of a spacecraft footpad, the surface material immediately surrounding it and the Lunar topography, and to obtain data on radar reflectivity and bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and on spacecraft temperatures.

The Surveyor spacecraft structure was of a tripod of thin-walled aluminum tubing and interconnecting braces providing mounting surfaces and attachments for the power, communications, propulsion, flight control, and payload systems. A central mast extended about one meter above the apex of the tripod; in total, the spacecraft was about 3 meters tall. Three hinged landing legs, which folded to fit into a nose shroud for launch, were attached to the lower corners of the structure. The legs held shock absorbers, crushable, honeycomb aluminum blocks, the deployment locking mechanism, and terminated in footpads with crushable bottoms. The three footpads extended out 4.3 meters from the center of the Surveyor.

A 0.855 square meter array of 792 solar cells was mounted on a positioner on top of the mast and generated up to 85 Watts of power, which was stored in rechargeable silver-zinc batteries. Communications were achieved via a movable large planar array high gain antenna mounted near the top of the central mast to transmit television images, two omnidirectional conical antennas mounted on the ends of folding booms for uplink and downlink, two receivers and two transmitters. Thermal control was achieved by a combination of white paint, high IR-emittance thermal finish, and a polished aluminum underside. Two thermally controlled compartments, equipped with superinsulating blankets, conductive heat paths, thermal switches and small electric heaters, were mounted on the spacecraft structure. One compartment, held at 5 - 50 degrees C, housed communications and power supply electronics. The other, held between -20 and 50 degrees C, housed the command and signal processing components. The TV survey camera was mounted near the top of the tripod, and strain gauges, temperature sensors, and other engineering instruments were incorporated throughout the spacecraft. One photometric target was mounted near the end of a landing leg, and one on a short boom extending from the bottom of the structure. Other payload packages, which differed from mission to mission, were mounted on various parts of the structure depending on their function.

A Sun sensor, Canopus tracker and rate gyros on three axes provided attitude knowledge. Propulsion and attitude control were provided by cold-gas (nitrogen) attitude control jets during cruise phases, three throttlable vernier rocket engines during powered phases, including the landing, and the solid-propellant retrorocket engine during terminal descent. The retrorocket was a spherical steel case mounted in the bottom center of the spacecraft. The vernier engines used monomethyl hydrazine hydrate fuel and MON-10 (90% N2O2, 10% NO) oxidizer. Each thrust chamber could produce 130 N to 460 N of thrust on command, one engine could swivel for roll control. The fuel was stored in spherical tanks mounted to the tripod structure. For the landing sequence, an altitude marking radar initiated the firing of the main retrorocket for primary braking. After firing was complete, the retrorocket and its radar were jettisoned, and the doppler and altimeter radars were activated. These provided information to the autopilot which controlled the vernier propulsion system to touchdown.

No instrumentation was carried on this mission specifically for scientific experiments, but considerable scientific information was obtained. Surveyor 1 carried two television cameras - one mounted on the bottom of the frame for approach photography, which was not used, and the survey television camera. Over 100 engineering sensors were on board. Surveyor 1 had a mass of 995.2 kg at launch, and 294.3 kg at landing.

Surveyor 1 was launched on an Atlas/Centaur from Complex 36-A of the Eastern Test Range directly into a Lunar impact trajectory. After a midcourse correction at 06:45 UT on 31 May, the spacecraft reached the Moon about 63 hours after launch. At an altitude of 75.3 km and a velocity of 2612 m/s, the main retrorocket, signaled by the altitude marking radar, ignited for a 40 second burn, and was jettisoned at an altitude of roughly 11 km, having slowed the spacecraft to 110 m/s. Descent continued with the vernier engines under control of the altimeter and doppler radars. The engines were turned off at a height of 3.4 m above the Lunar surface, and the spacecraft fell freely from this height. Surveyor 1 landed on the Lunar surface on 2 June 1966 at 6:17:36 UT (1:17:36 am EST) at about 3 m/s. The landing, so precise that the three footpads touched the surface within 19 milliseconds of each other, confirmed that the Lunar surface could support the Apollo Lunar Module. The landing site was at 2.45 S, 316.79 E (selenographic), on a flat area inside a 100 km crater north of Flamsteed Crater in southwest Oceanus Procellarum.

Surveyor 1's first hour on the Moon was spent performing engineering tests. Photography sessions were then initiated throughout the remainder of the Lunar day. The television system transmitted pictures of the spacecraft footpad and surrounding Lunar terrain and surface materials. 10,338 photos were returned prior to nightfall on 14 June. The spacecraft also acquired data on the radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of the Lunar surface temperatures. Surveyor 1 was able to withstand the first Lunar night, and near high noon on its second Lunar day, on 7 July, photos again were returned. On 13 July at 7:30 UT (2:30 am EST), after a total of 11,240 pictures had been transmitted, Surveyor 1's mission was terminated due to a dramatic drop in battery voltage just after sunset. Engineering interrogations continued until 7 January 1967.

All mission objectives were accomplished.

Surveyor spacecraft in testing on a beach, NASA photo

1967 02:06:00 GMT
ESRO 2A was launched from Vandenburg, California, using a Scout 55 rocket, and carried 7 experiments to study solar and cosmic radiation. The third stage vehicle failed to ignite and the spacecraft did not achieve orbit.

1968 20:29:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 222 into orbit from Plesetsk for investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.

1971 22:23:00 GMT
NASA launched Mariner 9, the first spacecraft to orbit another planet (Mars).

Mariner 9 was launched 30 May 1971 on a 398 million km direct ascent trajectory to Mars. A planned midcourse maneuver was executed on 5 June. Mariner 9 arrived at Mars on 14 November 1971 after a 167 day flight. A 15 minute 23 second rocket burn put the spacecraft into Mars orbit, making Mariner 9 the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The insertion orbit had a periapsis of 1398 km and a period of 12 hr, 34 min. Two days later a 6 second rocket burn changed the orbital period to just under 12 hours with a periapsis of 1387 km. A correction trim maneuver was made on 30 December on the 94th orbit which raised the periapsis to 1650 km and changed the orbital period to 11:59:28 so that synchronous data transmissions could be made to the Goldstone 64 m Deep Space Network antenna.

The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mariner 8 was to map 70% of the Martian surface, and Mariner 9 was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and on the Martian surface. The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. For the survey portion of the mission, the planetary surface was to be mapped with the same resolution as planned for the original mission, although the resolution of pictures of the polar regions would be decreased due to the increased slant range. The variable features experiments were changed from studies of six given areas every 5 days to studies of smaller regions every 17 days.

Imaging of the surface of Mars by Mariner 9 was delayed by a dust storm which started on 22 September 1971 in the Noachis region. The storm quickly grew into one of the largest global storms ever observed on Mars. By the time the spacecraft arrived at Mars, no surface details could be seen except the summits of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis volcanoes. The storm abated through November and December, and normal mapping operations began. The spacecraft gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature and also the surface composition, temperature, gravity, and topography of Mars.

The Mariner 9 mission resulted in a global mapping of the surface of Mars, including the first detailed views of the Martian volcanoes, Valles Marineris, the polar caps, and the satellites Phobos and Deimos. It also provided information on global dust storms, the triaxial figure of Mars, and the rugged gravity field as well as evidence for surface aeolian activity. A total of 54 billion bits of scientific data were returned, including 7329 images covering the entire planet.

After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on 27 October 1972. Mariner 9 was left in an orbit which should not decay for at least 50 years, after which the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere.

Mariner 9, NASA photo (original 2995x2242 image at

1974 13:00:01 GMT
NASA launched Applications Technology Satellite 6 (ATS-6) into geosynchronous orbit for educational programming. ATS-6 was an experimental communications satellite, and also conducted a Cesium ion engine test.

1975 06:45:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 741, a Zenit-2M (area survey photo reconnaissance) satellite used for Earth resources studies as part of 'Gektor-Priroda' project.

1985 01:26:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1655 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, part of a 6-satellite Soviet military navigation system distributed in orbital planes spaced 30 degrees apart.

In the first launch of ESA's Ariane 2 booster, the third stage had a partial ignition followed by another ignition above nominal pressure leading to engine failure. The rocket was destroyed by range safety, resulting in the loss of Intelsat 5A F-14.

1986 06:49:00 GMT
USSR recovered Soyuz TM-1 after its successful unmanned test flight to 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.

1988 08:09:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1950 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome aboard a Tsyklon 3 rocket, a Soviet geodetic satellite that provided five ways for determining satellite position.

1991 08:04:03 GMT
USSR launched the Progress M-8 resupply vehicle from Baikonur to the Mir space station, which also released the Naduvaniy Gazovoy Ballon subsatellite.

Progress M-8, launched 30 May 1991, was an unmanned resupply vessel sent to the Mir space station. It docked with Mir on 1 Jun 1991 at 09:44:37 GMT, undocked on 15 Aug 1991 at 22:16:59 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 16 Aug 1991 at 06:56:32 GMT. Total free-flight time: 2.43 days. Total docked time: 75.52 days.

EVA Mir EO-21-4 (4h 20m) was performed at the Mir space station to install a multi-spectral scanner.

1998 10:00:00 GMT
China launched the Zhongwei 1 (China Star 1) communications satellite from Xichang into geostationary orbit.

Zhongwei 1, also known as Chinastar 1, was launched 30 May 1998 from Xichang, a communications satellite to serve China, India, Korea and Southeast Asia with 18 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders. It was operated by the China Orient Telecommunications Satellite Company, part of the Chinese telecommunications ministry. Zhongwei 1 and the Chang Zheng 3B (CZ-3B) final liquid hydrogen upper stage were placed in an initial supersynchronous 216 x 85,035 km x 24.4 deg transfer orbit for a geostationary slot at 87.6 degrees E longitude. Zhongwei 1 was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 87 deg E in 1998-1999. As of 6 September 2001, it was at 87.49 deg E drifting at 0.013 deg W per day.

1999 02:56:00 GMT
NASA astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry entered the payload bay of the space shuttle Discovery from the tunnel adapter hatch to begin EVA STS-96-1. During the space walk, they transferred equipment to the exterior of the ISS.

On 27 May 1999, NASA launched the space shuttle Discovery as STS 96 to visit the new International Space Station (ISS) for six days of docked activities. This flight was the first shuttle docking at the fledgling space outpost. Its configuration at the time consisted of the PMA-2 docking port, NASA's Unity node, the NASA-owned, Russian-built Zarya module, and the PMA-1 docking unit connecting Unity and Zarya. Discovery docked at the PMA-2 end of the International Space Station on 29 May 1999.

The major objective of the mission was the transfer of almost two tons of logistical supplies to the ISS. The supplies were used to not only continue the outfitting of the Unity and Zarya modules already joined together in orbit, but for use by a subsequent Shuttle assembly crew to set up the Russian Service Module for occupancy by a three man crew early in 2000.

The seven crew members also collected data from an experiment designed to test the amount of vibration imparted on shuttle-based payloads, and began to demonstrate the effect of shuttle technological upgrades, through the use of orbiter health monitoring devices designed to improve the quality of life aboard future shuttles while making their use more efficient.

The first major task for the shuttle astronauts was a spacewalk to outfit the Zarya and Unity Modules and the mating adapter to which they are attached. Astronauts Tamara Jernigan and Daniel Barry conducted a 7 hour, 55 minute spacewalk in support of International Space Station assembly on 30 May 1999. Their assignments included installing foot restraints, handrails and tool bags for use by future spacewalkers on the station. They also installed two cranes and an insulating cover, and then inspected an early communications system on the Unity Module: The ODS/EAL docking/airlock truss carried two TSA (Tool Stowage Assembly) packets with space walk tools. The Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC), built by Energia and DASA-Bremen, carried parts of the Strela crane and the US OTD crane, as well as the SHOSS box containing three bags of tools and equipment to store on ISS's exterior.

After the EVA, the crew focused on transferring nearly 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds) of equipment from the shuttle to the ISS for use by future station crews. They transferred equipment from the Spacehab Logistics Double Module in the shuttle's payload bay to the interior of the station. The crew also replaced battery recharge controller modules in the six batteries stored inside the Zarya Module. A power distribution unit and transceiver in the Unity Module was replaced, enabling controllers from Mission Control in Houston, Texas to send comands to the station via an Early Communications System.

Discovery undocked from the ISS on 3 June, leaving the station without a crew aboard, as planned.

On 5 June, the astronauts deployed a small satellite from the payload bay called STARSHINE, which was observed by international students on Earth as they calculated its precise orbit and the rate of its orbital decay over time.

STS 96 ended on 6 June 1999 when Discovery landed on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. It was the eleventh night landing in the shuttle program history as Discovery completed a 6.4-million kilometer (4-million mile) trek to resupply the ISS. Orbit altitude: 210 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees.

The flight crew for STS 96 was: Kent V. Rominger, Commander; Rick D. Husband, Pilot; Tamara E. Jernigan, Mission Specialist 1; Ellen Ochoa, Mission Specialist 2; Daniel T. Barry, Mission Specialist 3; Julie Payette, Mission Specialist 4; Valery Tokarev, Mission Specialist 5.

Died, August Friedrich Staats, German engineer, co-founded the German Society for Rocket Technology ('Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Raketentechnik' - DAFRA)

August Friedrich Staats (27 October 1913 - 30 May 2002) was born in Bremen, Germany. At the age of 21, his first patent was awarded, for a remote control system using electro-acoustic technology. He worked under Dr. E. A. Steinhoff at Peenemuende developing radio control, guidance, and telemetry systems during World War 2. He chose to remain in Germany after the war and became the lead engineer for the United Acetylene Factory in Hannover. He co-founded the German Society for Rocket Technology ('Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Raketentechnik' - DAFRA, later the German Rocket Society - Deutsche Raketengesellschaft - DRG, then - Hermann-Oberth-Gesellschaft - HOG) on 21 September 1952 as soon as the Allies removed the prohibition on German aerospace research. During his long tenure as President of the Society, the twelve founding members grew to an organization of 1300 in 14 countries by 1963, and the Society conducted pioneering sounding rocket experiments at Cuxhaven. Staats founded the magazine Astronautik and served as its Chief Editor. He also founded and led a series of International Spaceflight Congresses in Salzburg. In 1990, he stepped down to Vice-Presidency of the HOG, which merged into the current Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt - Lilienthal - Oberth eV (DGLR) in 1993. He received numerous honors, including the Gold Medal of Salzburg, the German State Service Cross First Class, an honorary doctorate from the University of Barcelona, and the Wernher von Braun Medal of the DGLR.

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