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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 6

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Born, Regiomontanus (Johannes Muller von Konigsberg), "arguably the most important astronomer of the fifteenth century," prepared astronomical tables

The atmosphere of Venus was deduced by Mikhail Lomonosov on the basis of his observations during its transit conducted at the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Born, K. Ferdinand Braun, German physicist (radio, Nobel 1909 with G. Marconi "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy")

Died, Robert Stirling, Scottish inventor (closed-cycle regenerative gas engine)

The first air flight out of sight of land was made, from Scotland to Norway.

S Belyavskij discovered asteroid #1031 Arctica.

Born, Fitzhugh L. Fulton Jr, NASA project pilot on all early tests of the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) used to air launch the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise in the Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Dryden in 1977

The first test of Wallace Turnbull's variable-pitch propeller was performed.

G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1210 Morosovia.

Born, David "Dave" Randolph Scott (at San Antonio, Texas, USA), Col USAF, NASA astronaut (Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15)

Astronaut Dave Scott, NASA photo

Adeline Gray made the first parachute jump with a nylon parachute, at Hartford, Connecticut.

J Churms discovered asteroid #2025.

Born, Jay Clark Buckey Jr. MD (at New York City, New York, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 90)

Astronaut Jay Buckey Jr. MD, NASA photo

US President Eisenhower routed a message to Canadian Premier Diefenbaker via a reflection off the Moon to inaugurate the Prince Albert Radar Laboratory.

Under a "temporary" order, rocket launches at Cuxhaven, Germany were terminated.

The DRG (German Rocket Society) planned a new series of rocket launches in the mid-1960's, but found further launches throughout Germany banned after 6 June 1964 due to a new regulation prohibiting such launches over 100 m altitude. The rule was enacted when a student was killed at Braunlage in Lower Saxony during a rocket experiment by Gerhard Zucker.

1966 14:00:23 GMT
NASA Gemini 9 ended when astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean 550 km east of Cape Kennedy and 0.7 km from the target point.

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.

1971 04:55:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 11, the first mission carrying astronauts (cosmonauts) to board a space station, Salyut 1.

Soyuz 11 (callsign Yantar - "Amber"), launched 6 June 1971, was crewed by Commander Georgi Dobrovolski, Flight Engineer Vladislav Volkov, and Research Engineer Viktor Patsayev. During the first day of flight, maneuvers were made to effect a rendezvous with the unmanned Salyut 1 space station. The first orbital correction in the set of rendezvous maneuvers to head for Salyut 1 was made on the fourth revolution. When Soyuz 11 was 6 to 7 km from Salyut on 7 June, automatic devices took over, and in 24 minutes, closed the gap between the two ships to 9 m and reduced the relative speed difference to 0.2 m/sec. Control of the ships went from automatic back to manual at 100 m. Docking took 3 hr 19 min to complete, and involved making the connection mechanically rigid, engaging various electrical and hydraulic links, and establishing air-tight seals before locks could be opened. When the pressure was equalized between the ships, the locks were opened and all three members of the crew passed into Salyut, and remained there for 22 days. Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison. A small fire and difficult working conditions led to a decision to return the crew before the planned full mission duration of 30 days. On 29 June, the crew loaded the scientific specimens, films, tapes, and other gear into Soyuz 11, transferred manual control back from Salyut to Soyuz 11, and returned to their ferry craft. Undocking occurred at 1828 UT. Soyuz 11 flew in a co-orbit configuration for a while, and retrofired at 2235 UT. The work compartment and service module were routinely cast off prior to entering the Earth's atmosphere. Radio communications abruptly ended at the moment of separating the work compartment (about 2247 UT), before the normal ionospheric blackout. Automatic systems landed the craft safely at approximately 2317 UT. Total flight duration of the crew was 570.22 hours, and involved 383 orbits - 18 prior to docking, 362 docked, and 3 after undocking. On reaching the landing site and opening the hatch (early morning, USSR time), the helicopter rescue crew discovered all three men dead in their seats. The offical investigation results showed that the men died of pulmonary embolisms when the imperfect seal of the hatch between their command module and work compartment permitted the air supply to evacuate in the seconds after the two crafts separated. The actual problem was that a pressure equalization valve was jolted open at the jettison of the Soyuz Orbital Module: The service and descent modules were held together by explosive bolts designed to fire sequentially, but which fired simultaneously while over France. The valve, less than 1 mm in diameter, was not supposed to open until an altitude of 4 km was reached, to equalize pressure inside the capsule in the final moments before landing. It should have been impossible for the valve to open until the external barometric pressure had increased to a set level. The only crew instructions and training in relation to the valve were that it was to be closed by either the crew or the recovery forces in case of a landing in water. Located beneath the cosmonaut's couches, it proved impossible to locate and block the leak before atmosphere was lost, within 112 seconds, the capsule fully depressurised. The three man crew did not have space suits. The Soyuz was thereafter redesigned to accomodate only two crew, but in spacesuits. The actual Soyuz 11 Prime Crew was Leonov, Kubasov, and Kolodin. Dobrovolskiy, Volkov, Patsayev were their backups (and support crew to Soyuz 10). Kubasov was grounded by physicians few days before launch, and the backup crew ended up going instead.

The Soyuz 11 cosmonauts were given a large state funeral. US astronaut Tom Stafford was one of the pallbearers.

A Mrkos discovered asteroids #2199 Klet and #3339.

1979 23:28:00 GMT
USSR launched the Molniya 3-12 communications satellite for operation of long range telephone and telegraph radio communication systems and transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita network, and international cooperation.

1985 06:39:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-13 to Salyut 7 carrying flight commander V. A. Dzhanibekov and flight engineer V. P. Savinykh to carry out emergency repairs to the inert Salyut 7 station, and to conduct scientific and technical research and experiments.

1999 01:03:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 96 (Discovery) landed after the International Space Station (ISS) 2A.1 mission, the first docking of the Shuttle to 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.

A near-Earth asteroid, estimated as 10 meters in diameter, exploded in the atmosphere over the Mediterranean Sea. The explosion was estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

2012 04:49:00 GMT
A transit of Venus across the face of the Sun (when viewed from Earth) ended which had begun on 5 June at 22:09.,_2012

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