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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 5

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A transit of Venus across the face of the Sun was observed by scientific expeditions all over the world.

Born, John Couch Adams, English mathematician and astronomer (predicted the existence and position of Neptune using only mathematics)

J Palisa discovered asteroid #248 Lameia.

J Helffrich discovered asteroids #699 Hela and #700 Auravictrix.

Ernst Alexanderson sent the first facsimile across the Atlantic Ocean, to his father in Sweden.

Johannes Winkler formed the first society for space travel in Breslau, Germany. The Society for Space Travel (Verein fuer Raumschiffahrt) is better known by its abbreviation 'VfR.'

Johannes Winkler formed the first society for space travel in Breslau, Germany, on 5 June 1927. Its first meeting was held in the parlor of an ale house. The Society for Space Travel (Verein fuer Raumschiffahrt) is better known by its abbreviation 'VfR.' From the three people that attended the first meeting, it grew to 500 members within a year, including most of the European space pioneers - Oberth, Hohmann, von Hoefft, von Pirquet, Rynin, and Esnault-Petrie.

A Bohrmann discovered asteroid #1455 Mitchella.

The United States Army contracted the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School to develop the ENIAC.

Born, Richard "Rick" Alan Searfoss (at Mount Clemons, Michigan, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 58, STS 76, STS 90)

Astronaut Rick Searfoss, NASA photo

NASA's Saturn I launch complex was completed. The huge launch complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, was dedicated in brief ceremony by NASA. The giant gantry, weighing 2,800 tons and 310 feet high, was the largest movable land structure in North America.

1966 15:19:00 GMT
Gemini 9 astronaut Gene Cernan became the third person to walk in space.

During the first launch attempt of the Gemini 9 mission, while the crew waited buttoned up in the spacecraft on the pad, their Agena docking target field blew up on the way to orbit on 17 May 1966. NASA then decided to use an Atlas to launch an Agena docking collar only. This was called the Augmented Target Docking Adapter, and was successfully launched on 1 June 1966, but telemetry indicated that the shroud had failed to jettison properly. Gemini 9 was to launch shortly thereafter, but a ground equipment failure resulted in a two day postponement.

Gemini 9A, launched 3 June 1966, was the seventh manned and third rendezvous mission of the Gemini series of Earth orbiting spacecraft. It carried astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Primary mission objectives were to demonstrate (1) rendezvous techniques and docking with a target vehicle to simulate manuevers to be carried out on future Apollo missions, (2) an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) spacewalk to test the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU), and (3) precision landing capability. Scientific objectives included obtaining zodiacal light and airglow horizon photographs. Two micrometeorite studies were to be carried out, and there were also one medical and two technological experiments.

Gemini 9A was launched on from Complex 19 at 8:39:33 am EST and inserted into a 158.8 x 266.9 km orbit. After three orbital maneuvers, rendezvous within 8 meters of the ATDA was achieved on the third revolution. It was confirmed that the launch shroud on the ATDA had failed to deploy and was blocking the docking port. The flight plan was then revised to include two equiperiod passive rerendezvous maneuvers in place of the docking. The first, using optical techniques without on-board radar, was completed at 3:15 pm EST after 6 hours 36 minutes ground elapsed time, and the second, a rendezvous from above simulating rendezvous of an Apollo Command Module with a Lunar Module after abort from the Moon, was completed at 6:21 am EST on 4 June, after 21 hours 42 minutes ground elapsed flight time. Final departure from the ATDA took place at 7:38 am EST.

The scheduled EVA was postponed due to crew fatigue, and the second flight day was devoted to experiments.

On 5 June at 10:02 am EST, the Gemini capsule was depressurized and the hatch above Cernan opened. Cernan was out of the spacecraft at 10:19, attached by an 8 meter long tether which was connected to Gemini's oxygen supply. He had no gas maneuvering unit as was used on Gemini 4. He retrieved the micrometeorite impact detector attached to the side of the capsule, and then moved about the spacecraft. He had great difficulty manuevering and maintaining orientation on the long tether. He took photographs of Gemini from the full length of the tether, and finally moved to the back of the capsule where the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU) was mounted. He was scheduled to don the AMU, disconnect from the Gemini oxygen supply (although he would still be attached to the spacecraft with a longer, thinner tether) and move to 45 meters from the capsule. The task of donning the AMU took "four to five times more work than anticipated", overwhelming Cernan's environmental control system, and causing his faceplate to fog up, limiting his visibility. It was also discovered that the AMU radio transmissions were garbled. These problems caused Stafford to recall Cernan to the spacecraft. He reentered the spacecraft at 12:05 pm, and the hatch was closed at 12:10. Cernan was the third person to walk in space, and his total time of 2 hours, 8 minutes was the longest spacewalk yet.

The rest of the third flight day was spent on experiments.

Retrofire occurred at the end of the 45th revolution on 6 June at 8:26:17 am EST. Splashdown was at 9:00:23 in the western Atlantic at 27.87 N, 75.00 W, 550 km east of Cape Kennedy and 0.7 km from the target point. The astronauts stayed inside the spacecraft and were brought aboard the recovery ship USS Wasp at 9:53 am. Total mission elapsed time was 72:20:50. Of the primary objectives, three rendezvous techniques were demonstrated, although docking could not be achieved due to the failure of the augmented target docking shroud to jettision. Testing of the AMU was not completed. The Agena micrometeorite experiment hardware was lost when the Agena target vehicle failed to achieve orbit. Other experiments functioned normally.

See for an "exploded view" diagram of the Gemini capsule, showing its internal structure and component layout.

1969 14:38:00 GMT
NASA launched OGO 6 (Orbiting Geophysical Observatory 6) into orbit.

OGO 6, launched 5 June 1969, was a large observatory instrumented with 26 experiments designed to study the various interrelationships between, and latitudinal distributions of, high-altitude atmospheric parameters during a period of increased solar activity. The main body of the spacecraft was attitude controlled by means of horizon scanners and gas jets so that its orientation was maintained constant with respect to the Earth and Sun. The solar panels rotated on a horizontal axis extending transversely through the main body of the spacecraft. The rotation of the panels was activated by Sun sensors, so that the panels received maximum sunlight. Seven experiments were mounted on the solar panels (the SOEP package). An additional axis, oriented vertically across the front of the main body, carried seven experiments (the OPEP package). Nominally, these sensors observed in a forward direction in the orbital plane of the satellite. The sensors could be rotated more than 90 degrees relative to the nominal observing position, and more than 90 degrees between the upper and lower OPEP groups mounted on either end of this axis. On 22 June 1969, the spacecraft potential dropped significantly during sunlight operation and remained so during subsequent sunlight operation. This unexplained shift affected seven experiments which made measurements dependent upon knowledge of the spacecraft plasma sheath. During October 1969, a string of solar cells failed, but the only effect of the decreased power was to cause two experiments to change their mode of operation. Also during October 1969, a combination of manual and automatic attitude control was initiated, which extended the control gas lifetime of the attitude control system. In August 1970, tape recorder (TR) number 1 operation degraded, so all recorded data were subsequently taken with TR number 2. By September 1970, power and equipment degradation left 14 experiments operating normally, 3 partially, and 9 off. From 14 October 1970, TR number 2 was used only on Wednesdays (world days) to conserve power and extend TR operation. In June 1971, the number of "on" experiments decreased from 13 to 7, and on 28 June 1971, the spacecraft was placed in a spin-stabilized mode about the yaw (Z) axis and turned off due to difficulties with spacecraft power. OGO 6 was turned on again from 10 October 1971, through March 1972, for operation of experiment 25 by The Radio Research Laboratory, Japan.

1980 14:19:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-2 carrying cosmonauts Aksyonov and Malyshev to Salyut 6, as a test flight of the new Soyuz T, to conduct testing and development of on-board systems in the improved Soyuz T series transport vehicle under piloted conditions.

1989 21:37:18 GMT
An Ariane 44L launched from Kourou carried Japan's Superbird 1 and Germany's DFS 1 communications satellites to geostationary orbits.

1991 09:24:51 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 40 (Columbia 11, 41st Shuttle mission) carrying the Spacelab Life Sciences-1 experiment package to orbit.

The launch of STS 40 was originally set for 22 May 1991. The mission was postponed less than 48 hours before launch when it became known that a leaking liquid hydrogen transducer in the orbiter main propulsion system which was removed and replaced during a leak test in 1990, had failed an analysis by the vendor. Engineers feared that one or more of the nine liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen transducers protruding into the fuel and oxidizer lines could break off and be ingested by the engine turbopumps, causing engine failure.

In addition, one of the orbiter's five general purpose computers failed completely, along with one of the multiplexer demultiplexers units that control the orbiter hydraulics ordnance and orbiter maneuvering system/reaction control system functions in the aft compartment.

A new general purpose computer and multiplexer demultiplexer were installed and tested. One liquid hydrogen and two liquid oxygen transducers were replaced upstream in the propellant flow system near the 17-inch disconnect area, which is protected by an internal screen. Three liquid oxygen transducers were replaced at the engine manifold area, while three liquid hydrogen transducers there were removed and the openings plugged. The launch was reset for 8 am EDT on 1 June, but postponed again after several attempts to calibrate inertial measurement unit 2 failed. The unit was replaced and retested, and launch was rescheduled for 5 June. STS 40 was then successfully launched 5 June 1991.

STS 40 was the fifth dedicated Spacelab mission, Spacelab Life Sciences-1, and first dedicated solely to life sciences, using the habitable module. The mission featured the most detailed and interrelated physiological measurements in space since the 1973-1974 Skylab missions. The subjects were humans, 30 rodents and thousands of tiny jellyfish. The primary SLS-1 experiments studied six body systems; of 18 investigations, ten involved humans, seven involved rodents, and one used jellyfish. The six body systems investigated were cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary (heart, lungs and blood vessels); renal/endocrine (kidneys and hormone-secreting organs and glands); blood (blood plasma); immune system (white blood cells); musculoskeletal (muscles and bones); and neurovestibular (brains and nerves, eyes and inner ear).

Other payloads carried by STS 40 were twelve Get Away Special (GAS) canisters installed on the GAS bridge in the cargo bay for experiments in materials science, plant biology and cosmic radiation; Middeck Zero-Gravity Dynamics Experiment (MODE); and seven Orbiter Experiments (OEX).

STS 40 ended on 14 June 1991 when Columbia landed on revolution 146 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,438 feet. Rollout time: 55 seconds. Launch weight: 251,970 pounds. Landing weight: 226,535 pounds. Orbit altitude: 157 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 39 degrees. Mission duration: nine days, two hours, 14 minutes, 20 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.8 million. The orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 21 June.

The flight crew for STS 40 was: Bryan D. O'Connor, Commander; Sidney M. Gutierrez, Pilot; James P. Bagian, Mission Specialist 1; Tamara E. Jernigan, Mission Specialist 2; M. Rhea Seddon, Mission Specialist 3; F. Drew Gaffney, Payload Specialist 1; Millie-Hughes Fulford, Payload Specialist 2.

A Bose-Einstein condensate was first created, a dilute gas of bosons cooled very close to absolute zero (0K, -273.15C) where a large fraction of the bosons occupy the lowest quantum state and macroscopic quantum phenomena become apparent.

1999 07:21:00 GMT
The STARSHINE satellite was ejected into orbit from a canister at the rear of STS 96 Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay. The small Starshine satellite, built by NRL, was to be observed by students as part of an educational exercise.

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.

2002 06:44:00 GMT
The Intelsat 905 communications satellite was launched from Kourou, and positioned in geostationary orbit at 26 deg W.

2002 16:23:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 111 (Endeavour) as International Space Station Flight UF-2 to complete a crew exchange and deliver the Mobile Base System.

STS 111 was launched 5 June 2002, the fourteenth shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. With the launch, astronaut Chang-Diaz became the second human to fly in space seven times, tying a mark set in April 2002 by Jerry Ross on the STS 110 mission.

STS 111 delivered the Expedition Five crew to the station and returned the Expedition Four crew to Earth. Space Shuttle Endeavour also delivered the Mobile Base System (MBS) to the ISS. The STS 111 crew unloaded supplies and science experiments from the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module as well, which made its third trip to the orbital outpost.

Three spacewalks were performed during STS 111's stay at the International Space Station, to continue on-orbit construction and to do some maintenance work. The spacewalkers were Mission Specialists Franklin Chang-Diaz and Philippe Perrin. During the first spacewalk, on Flight Day 5, they prepared the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System for installation onto the station's Mobile Transporter on Flight Day 6. They also set the stage for relocation of the P6 Truss during a future flight.

The focus of the second extravehicular activity (EVA) was the outfitting and permanent attachment of the MBS onto the station, on Flight Day 7. The primary task during the final spacewalk, on Flight Day 9, was replacement of a wrist roll joint on the station's robot arm.

All three spacewalks were based from the station's Quest Airlock.

STS 111 ended on 19 June 2002 when Endeavour landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, completing a successful 5.78 million mile mission. Mission duration: 13 days, 20 hours, 35 minutes. Orbit insertion altitude: 122 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.60 degrees.

The flight crew for STS 111 was: Ken Cockrell, Commander; Paul Lockhart, Pilot; Franklin Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist 1; Philippe Perrin (CNES), Mission Specialist 2; Valery Korzun, Expedition 5 Commander; Peggy Whitson, Expedition 5 Flight Engineer; Sergei Treschev, Expedition 5 Flight Engineer. STS 111 returned Expedition 4 Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch from the International Space Station, concluding a record 196-day stay in space. Walz and Bursch broke the US record for the longest single space flight, previously 188 days, set by astronaut Shannon Lucid in 1996.

2007 23:08:00 GMT
NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft made its second Venus flyby (third planetary encounter) at an altitude of approximately 337 km.

The Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission was designed to study the characteristics and environment of Mercury from orbit. Specifically, the scientific objectives of the mission were to characterize the chemical composition of Mercury's surface, the geologic history, the nature of the magnetic field, the size and state of the core, the volatile inventory at the poles, and the nature of Mercury's exosphere and magnetosphere over a nominal orbital mission of one Earth year.

MESSENGER launched into a parking orbit on 3 August 2004 on a Delta 7925H (a Delta II Heavy launch vehicle with nine strap-on solid-rocket boosters). The Delta booster second stage's second burn raised the orbit, then the PAM-D solid motor burned to put the probe on an escape trajectory into a 0.92 x 1.08 AU x 6.4 deg heliocentric orbit. The spacecraft was injected into solar orbit 57 minutes after launch. The solar panels were then deployed and the spacecraft began sending data on its status.

One year after launch, on 2 August 2005, MESSENGER flew by Earth at an altitude of 2347 km. On 12 December 2005 at 11:30 UT, MESSENGER fired its large thruster for 524 seconds, changing the spacecraft velocity by 316 m/s and putting it on course for its 24 October 2006 Venus flyby at an altitude of 2990 km. The second Venus flyby took place on 5 June 2007 at 23:08 UT (7:08 p.m. EDT) at an altitude of approximately 337 km. The first of three Mercury flybys, all at roughly 200 km altitude, occurred on 14 January 2008 at 19:04 :39 UT, and the second on 6 October 2008 at 08:40:22 UT. The third took place on 29 September 2009 at 21:54:58 UT at a distance of 228 km. There were also five deep space manuevers. Data collected during the Mercury flybys was used to help plan the scientific campaign during the orbital phase.

Mercury orbit insertion took place with a 15 minute burn starting at 00:45 UT on 18 March 2011 (8:45 p.m. 17 March EDT) requiring a delta-V of 0.862 km/s from the Aerojet 660N engine. Science observations began on April 4 at 20:40 UT (4:40 p.m. EDT). The nominal orbit had a periapsis of 200 km at 60 degrees N latitude, an apoapsis of 15,193 km, a period of 12 hours and an inclination of 80 degrees. The periapsis slowly rose due to solar perturbations to over 400 km at the end of 88 days (one Mercury year) at which point it was readjusted to a 200 km, 12 hour orbit via a two burn sequence.

Data was collected from orbit for one Earth year, the end of the primary mission was in March 2012. Extensions to the mission allowed the spacecraft to operate for an additional 3 years until the propellant necessary to maintain its orbit was exhausted. The MESSENGER spacecraft impacted the surface of Mercury as planned on 30 April 2015 at 19:26 UT (3:26 p.m. EDT).

Global stereo image coverage at 250 m/pixel resolution was completed. The mission has also yielded global composition maps, a 3-D model of Mercury's magnetosphere, topographic profiles of the northern hemisphere, gravity field, altitude profiles of elemental species, and a characterization of the volatiles in permanently shadowed craters at the poles.

The MESSENGER spacecraft was a squat box (1.27 m x 1.42 m x 1.85 m) with a semi-cylindrical thermal shade (roughly 2.5 meters tall and 2 meters wide) for protection from the Sun and two solar panel wings extending radially about 6 meters from tip to tip. A 3.6 meter magnetometer boom also extended from the craft. The total mass of the spacecraft was 1093 kg, 607.8 kg of which was propellant and helium. The structure was primarily graphite-cyanate-ester (GrCE) composite and consisted of two vertical panels which supported two large fuel tanks, and two vertical panels which supported the oxidizer tank and plumbing panel. The four vertical panels made up the center column and were bolted at their aft ends to an aluminum adapter. A single top deck panel mounted the LVA (large velocity adjust) thruster, small thrusters, helium and auxiliary fuel tanks, star trackers and battery.

Main propulsion was via the 645-N, 317-s bipropellant LVA thruster, four 22-N monopropellant thrusters providing spacecraft steering during main thruster burns, and ten 4-N monopropellant thrusters used for attitude control. There was also a reaction-wheel attitude control system. Knowledge for attitude control was provided by star tracking cameras, an inertial measurement unit, and six solar sensors. Power was provided by the solar panels, which extended beyond the sunshade and were rotatable to balance panel temperature and power generation, and provided a nominal 450 W in Mercury orbit. The panels were 70% optical solar reflectors and 30% GaAs/Ge cells. The power was stored in a common-pressure-vessel nickel-hydrogen battery, with 11 vessels and 2 cells per vessel.

Communications were in the X-band, with downlink through two fixed phased-array antenna clusters, and uplink and downlink through medium- and low-gain antennas on the forward and aft sides of the spacecraft. Passive thermal control, primarily a fixed opaque ceramic cloth sunshade, was utilized to maintain operating temperatures near the Sun. Radiators were built into the structure and the orbit was optimized to minimize infrared and visible light heating of the spacecraft from the surface of Mercury. Multilayer insulation, low conductivity couplings, and heaters were also used to maintain temperatures within operating limits.

Five science instruments were mounted externally on the bottom deck of the main body: the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS), Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer (GRNS), X-ray Spectrometer (XRS), Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS). The Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer (EPPS) was mounted on the side and top deck and the magnetometer (MAG) was at the end of the 3.6 m boom. Radio Science (RS) experiments used the existing communications system.

The highly successful orbital mission came to an end after more than four years in orbit around Mercury, as the spacecraft ran out of propellant and the force of solar gravity caused it to impact the surface of Mercury at 3:26 p.m. EDT on 30 April 2015.

More information about the spacecraft and its research results can be found on the MESSENGER Web site at John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

A transit of Venus across the face of the Sun (when viewed from Earth) began, ending at 4:49 AM on 6 June.

Died, Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer (Farenheit 451, Martian Chronicles, Illustrated Man)

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