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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 June 1

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Born, Geminiano Montanari, Italian astronomer (recorded Algol as a variable star)

James Clark Ross discovered the position of the North Magnetic Pole on the Boothia Peninsula.

Urbain Le Verrier presented to the French Academy calculations indicating the position, but not the mass or orbit, of a planet beyond Uranus. He placed Neptune within one degree of where it was found.

Born, Anatoli Arkadyevich Blagonravov, Russian scientist, President of the Academy of Artillery Sciences 1946-1950, lead Soviet upper atmosphere exploration using sounding rockets, USSR member of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

Born, Sir Frank Whittle, Royal Air Force officer, inventor (turbine jet engine)

Robert Goddard began his liquid fueled rocket experiments at Clark University, Massachusetts.

Robert Goddard experimented with liquid oxygen and various liquid hydrocarbons as rocket fuel, including gasoline, liquid propane and ether, under a grant by Clark University, starting 1 June 1921. He concluded that although oxygen and hydrogen possessed the greatest heat energy per unit mass, liquid hydrogen was too difficult to handle. He found liquid oxygen and liquid methane offered greatest heat value of combinations which could be used without considerable difficulty. But, he said, "the most practical combination appears to be liquid oxygen and gasoline" where gasoline is liquid at room temperatures and pressures, and liquid oxygen was available as a by-product of extracting oxygen from the atmosphere.

Born, Georgi Timofeyevich Dobrovolski (at Odessa, Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz 11, capsule vented in space, killing its crew)

Georgi Timofeyevich Dobrovolski (1 June 1928 - 29 June 1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission, and had the unfortunate distinction of being part of the first acknowledged Soviet crew to die during a space flight: After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened, and the crew was found dead. It was discovered that a valve had opened just prior to leaving orbit that had allowed the capsule's atmosphere to vent away into space, suffocating the crew.

Robert Goddard developed a ramjet engine fuel pump, at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Germany launched a V2 from Peenemunde to test the early cut-off mechanism and engine control. The engine burned for 62 seconds, total flight time was 287 seconds. The missile impacted 3 km left of the intended trajectory.

Born, Gennadi Mikhailovich Manakov (at Yefimovka, Orenburg Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet Air Force colonel, cosmonaut (Mir 7, Mir 13, over 309 total days in space)

S Arend discovered asteroids #1592 Mathieu and #1593 Fagnes.

As a rocket test stand improvement, the first experimental use was made at NACA Lewis Labs of a "boot-strap" rocket-exhaust powered ejector, to permit testing at simulated high-altitude conditions without complicated and expensive exhausting facilities.

USSR began construction of manned spacecraft.

Initially, USSR had three competing manned projects: Korolev's OKB-1 proposed the Vostok ballistic capsule as quickest way to put a man in space. Myasishchev's OKB-23 proposed two designs, a faceted craft with a single tail, and a dual tail contoured version. Tsybin's OKB-256 proposed a seven man winged craft with variable wing dihedral. Contracts were awarded to all three OKBs on 1 June 1958 to proceed with construction of protoypes.

1962 09:38:00 GMT
USSR launched Zenit-2 11F61 S/N 3 which suffered a Block B strap-on engine stage shutdown 1.8 seconds after liftoff. The booster crashed 300 m from the pad, and did enough damage to put the launch complex out of operation for a month.

1962 18:51:00 GMT
NASA launched X-15A ASAS, 23 alpha, M-5 test mission # 55 in which USAF Maj Robert M White reached a maximum speed of 5914 kph (Mach 5.42) and an altitude of 40416 meters, with the steepest reentry descent and highest angle of attack (27 degrees) to date.

1963 02:50:00 GMT
USSR launched the DS-MT #1 astronomy satellite from Kapustin Yar, but the booster suffered a first stage failure four seconds after launch.

1966 15:00:02 GMT
NASA launched the Gemini 9 Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA).

The Gemini 9 Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) was launched from Cape Canaveral using an Atlas-Agena D rocket on 1 June 1966. The spacecraft was successfully injected into a near-circular 304 km orbit (apogee 161.5, perigee 158.5 nautical miles), but telemetry signals indicated that the launch shroud, which covered the docking adaptor, had separated but had not been jettisoned. One hour and 40 minutes later, the scheduled launch of Gemini 9A was postponed by a ground equipment failure which prevented the transfer of updating information from the Cape Kennedy mission control center to the spacecraft computer. The mission was recycled for launch on 3 June, following a prepared 48 hour recycle plan. When Gemini 9A was launched two days later, the ATDA failure was confirmed when the astronauts observed the launch shroud still on the ATDA blocking the docking port, looking, according to Tom Stafford, like an "angry alligator." Rendezvous within 8 meters of the ATDA was achieved by Gemini 9 on the third revolution. The shroud had not jettisoned because the lanyards had been installed improperly with the loose ends taped down, due to "insufficiently detailed" instructions. Plans to cut the fiberglass shroud loose were considered but discarded as too dangerous to the astronauts. The flight plan was then revised, and Gemini 9 completed two different equiperiod rendezvous maneuvers with the ATDA. The ATDA was left in a 290 x 300 km orbit.

The Augmented Target Docking Adapter had been prepared as a backup target in case of an Agena Target Vehicle failure. The ATDA was a short cylinder consisting of a target docking adapter cone mounted on front and containing a communications system, a guidance and control system, and a reaction control system. It also had running lights, but unlike the Gemini Agena Target Vehicles, the ATDA was not stabilized.

Gemini 9 ATDA in orbit, photographed from Gemini 9, NASA photo

NASA completed the download of pictures from the Lunar Obiter 4 probe in orbit around the Moon.

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 completed the Shuttle Phase A evaluations.

After over 200 man-years of NASA and contractor effort, the Agency reached the following conclusions at the end of Phase A:
    * The common orbiter/booster engine planned would have to have a lower thrust than originally proposed, with more used per booster, due to the need for the orbiter to have several engines instead of one or two in order to give it abort capabilities in the event of a single engine failure. It was recommended that a 180,000 kgf engine be developed for the shuttle instead of the 230,000 kgf previously planned.
    * Lifting body configurations were not suited for the launch vehicle application, due to the required complex internal arrangement of tanks and equipment within the curving hull, difficulty of fabricating the airframe and tanks, and poor subsonic lift/drag performance.
    * Variable geometry wings were not desirable, since they resulted in a heavier weight to body area ratio during re-entry, and thereby, more re-entry heating problems. They also required complex mechanical and pneumatic/hydraulic systems for operation, which meant more maintenance, more complexity, and extra failure modes. Their considerable advantages - a lower spacecraft weight fraction and the highest lift/drag in subsonic flight - did not offset these disadvantages.

As a result of these conclusions, NASA published its specification for the Phase B Integral Launch and Recovery Vehicle Shuttle System on 1 June 1970. The requirements in this specification were:
    * Two-stage-to-orbit, vertical takeoff, horizontal landing configuration
    * Initial operational capability by the end of 1977
    * 6,800 kg payload to a 500 km, 55 deg inclination orbit when launched from Cape Canaveral
    * 4.6 m x 18.3 m payload bay
    * Two orbiter alternates were to be proposed by the contractors, one with a 370 km cross-range (NASA requirement), one with a 2784 km cross range (USAF requirement). This implied a minimum L/D for the high cross-range vehicle of 1.8, and a total heat load 5 to 7 times greater than the low cross-range alternative.
    * Seven-day orbital mission capability.
    * Go-around capability on landing in case of a missed approach, which implied use of airbreathing engines. Phase A studies showed that use of gaseous hydrogen from the orbiter's tanks as fuel for such engines drastically reduced the orbiter weight compared to use of conventional JP-4 jet fuel housed in separate tanks.
    * Design to be capable of 25 to 70 launches a year, with a turnaround time of two weeks
    * G-forces limited to 3G on ascent
    * Two crew housed in a pressure cabin without spacesuits
    * 43 hour countdown time after assembly
    * Stage separation without the use of rocket devices
    * No in-flight refuelling allowed
    * Capable of landing under FAA Category 2 conditions on a 3,000 m runway
    * All systems fail-operational - e.g. they would remain operational after any single component failure, and remain fail-safe for crew survival even after two subsystem failures
    * Quick safeing of vehicle systems after landing
    * No propellant cross-feed allowed between booster and orbiter

(This information was originally drawn from Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System : The First 100 Missions, Third Edition, by Dennis R. Jenkins, Voyageur Press, 2001.)

1970 19:00:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 9 (called "Sokol" - "Falcon" in English) from Baikonur for acquisition of extensive observations on the effects of prolonged flight on both the crew and the spacecraft.

Soyuz 9, launched 1 June 1970 from Baikonur, was a manned flight endurance test crewed by veteran cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev, commander, and Vitali Sevastyanov, flight engineer. It paved the way for the Salyut space station missions, investigating the effects of long-term weightlessness on the crew, and evaluating the work that the cosmonauts could do in orbit, individually and as a team. The successful flight set a record for the longest manned flight to date, and tested the capacity of the hardware and the human crew. Mission objectives included gathering medical and biological research data on the long term exposure to space conditions, and observing (both visually and photographically) geological and geographical objects, weather formations, water surfaces, and snow and ice covers. Some results were inconclusive due to the slow Sun-oriented rotation of the spacecraft to conserve fuel, producing motion sickness in the cosmonauts. The crew conducted observations of celestial bodies, and practiced astronavigation by locking onto Vega or Canopus, then using a sextant to measure their relation to the Earth horizon. The mission marked a shift in emphasis away from spacefarers merely being able to exist in space for the duration of a long mission (such as the Apollo flights to the Moon) to being able to actually live in space: There was extensive live TV coverage during the flight, the cosmonauts spent time in two-way TV links with their families, watched the World Cup football game, played chess with ground control, and voted in a Soviet election. Numerous course correction exercises were performed, the orbital elements were refined to three decimal places by the crew, and biomedical functions were monitored and tested. The spacecraft soft landed in Kazakhstan on 19 June 1970, and the crew was picked up immediately. Adjusting to Earth gravity seemed to present a minor problem for the two cosmonauts upon their return, they experienced abnormal blood pressure and color perception and fatigue upon landing, but survived the long flight satisfactorily, recovering their strength within about ten days.

Perth Observatory discovered asteroid #2167 Erin.

H Debehogne discovered asteroids #2543 Machado and #3411.

1982 04:33:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1371 military communications satellite from Plesetsk to replace Cosmos 1140.

1990 21:48:00 GMT
The West German ROSAT extreme UV, X-ray telescope was launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral to perform an all-sky survey.

The USSR Spektr module dock was docked with the Mir space station.

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