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Space History for June 8


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1625
Born, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, astronomer, engineer

Giovanni Domenico Cassini (8 June 1625 - 14 September 1712) was an Italian-French astronomer and engineer, born in Perinaldo, Genoa.

Attracted to the heavens in his youth, his first interest was in astrology rather than astronomy. He read widely on the subject of astrology, and was soon very knowledgeable about it. His extensive knowledge of astrology led to his first appointment as an astronomer. Later in his life, he focused almost exclusively on astronomy alone, and all but denounced astrology as he became more and more involved in the scientific revolution and ultra-rational thought of the day.

In 1644, the Marquis Cornelio Malvasia, a senator of Bologna with a great interest in astrology, invited Cassini to Bologna and offered him a position in the Panzano Observatory which he was constructing. Most of their time was spent calculating newer, better, and more accurate ephemerides for astrological purposes using the rapidly advancing astronomical methods and tools of the day. Cassini was an astronomer at the Panzano Observatory from 1648 to 1669, and a professor of astronomy at the University of Bologna.

In 1669 Cassini moved to France (where he became interchangeably known as Jean-Dominique Cassini), and through a grant from Louis XIV of France, helped to set up the Paris Observatory, which opened in 1671. Cassini became director of the observatory in 1671, and remained in the that position for the rest of his career, until his death in 1712. While in France, Cassini also served as the court astronomer and astrologer of Louis XIV of France ("The Sun King") for 41 years, serving the expected dual role, yet focusing the overwhelming majority of his time on astronomy rather than the astrology he had studied so much of in his youth.

Along with Hooke, Cassini is given credit for the discovery of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter (~1665). Cassini was the first to observe four of Saturn's moons; he also discovered the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings (1675). Around 1690, Cassini was the first to observe differential rotation within Jupiter's atmosphere.

In 1672, he sent his colleague Jean Richer to Cayenne, French Guiana, while he himself stayed in Paris. The two made simultaneous observations of Mars, and thus found its parallax to determine its distance, thereby measuring the true dimensions of the solar system for the first time.

Cassini was the first to make successful measurements of longitude by the method suggested by Galileo, using eclipses of the satellites of Jupiter as a clock.

Cassini was also employed by Pope Clement IX regarding fortifications, river management, and flooding of the Po. The Pope asked Cassini to take Holy Orders to work with him permanently, but Cassini turned him down to work on astronomy all the time.


http://messier.seds.org/xtra/Bios/cassini.html

1875
A Borrelly discovered asteroid #146 Lucina.

1887
A Borrelly discovered asteroid #268 Adorea.

1912
Born, Arthur Pilz, German rocket technician, member of the German Rocket Team in the USSR after World War II, rocket engine master mechanic in Glushko's design bureau 1947-1952
http://astronautix.com/p/pilzarthur.html

1923
S Belyavskij discovered asteroid #995 Sternberga.

1928 10:50:00 AEST (GMT +10:00:00)
The first successful transpacific flight, from the US to Australia, by two Americans and two Australians in a Fokker trimotor aircraft, landed in Brisbane, Austrailia, having crossed the Pacific from Oakland, California.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Kingsford_Smith#1928_Trans-Pacific_flight

1930
Born, Valeri Aleksandrovich Yazdovsky (at Yenyakievo, Ukraine), Russian spacecraft engineer, cosmonaut candidate (deceased)

Valeri Aleksandrovich Yazdovsky (8 June 1930 - 10 November 2012) was a Soviet cosmonaut candidate, selected in the Korolyov Group TsKBEM-1 on 27 May 1968. Originally a miner, he studied engineering and graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute in 1954. He was involved in the development of Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz space capsules. Yasdovsky was assigned as the flight engineer on Soyuz 13 but the prime crew was grounded he and his crewmate Commander Lev Vorobiyov had personal differences. He retired as a cosmonaut on 01 July 1982, then worked as an engineer at NPOE until his death.


http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/yazdovsky_valeri.htm

1937
Born, Bruce McCandless II (at Boston, Massachusetts, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 41B, STS 31)

Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, NASA photo
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/mccandless-b.html

1942
Born, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Skvortsov Sr. (at Tambov, Tambov Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet cosmonaut candidate (Air Force Group 3 - 1965), father of cosmonaut Aleksandr Skvortsov, Jr.
http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/skvortsov_aleksandr_sen.htm

1959
Construction of NASA's Saturn I Launch Complex 34 was started at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
http://afspacemuseum.org/ccafs/CX34/

1959 16:38:00 GMT
NASA flew the first test mission of the X-15, an unpowered flight piloted by Scott Crossfield with a maximum speed of 840 kph (Mach 0.79), dropped from NASA's B-52 carrier aircraft at an altitude of 11.445 km.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_X-15_flights

1964
Born, Elena Andrianovna Nikolaeva-Tereshkova, first child born to parents who had both been to space, grew up to be a doctor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Tereshkova#Personal_life

1965
Born, Stanley Glen Love PhD (at San Diego, California, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 122)

Astronaut Stanley G. Love PhD, NASA photo
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/love.html

1965 07:41:00 GMT
USSR launched Luna 6 toward the Moon, but missed by 159,612.8 km after the spacecraft's engine failed to shut down following a midcourse correction two days into the flight.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1965-044A

1966
Died (XB-70/chase plane crash), Joseph A. Walker, X-15 pilot

Joseph A. Walker (20 February 1921 - 8 June 1966) was a Chief Research Pilot at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center during the mid-1960s. Walker made the first NASA X-15 flight on 25 March 1960. He flew the research aircraft 24 times and achieved its fastest speed and highest altitude. He attained a speed of 4,104 mph (Mach 5.92) during a flight on 27 June 1962, and reached an altitude of 354,300 feet on 22 August 1963 (his last X-15 flight). He was the first man to pilot the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) that was used to develop piloting and operational techniques for Lunar landings. Walker was killed in a collision of his F-104 chase plane with the XB-70 bomber during testing. The accident led to the discovery of wingtip vortices, which were responsible for the collision.


https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/Biographies/Pilots/bd-dfrc-p019.html

1972
N Chernykh discovered asteroid #3230.

1975 02:38:00 GMT
USSR launched Venera 9, the first spacecraft to orbit Venus and to return images from Venus' surface.

USSR launched Venera 9 from Baikonur on 8 June 1975. The orbiter entered Venus orbit and was separated from the lander on 20 October 1975. The orbiter's mission was to act as a communications relay for the lander, and to explore cloud layers and atmospheric parameters with instruments including a French 3500 angstrom UV photometer, a 4000-7000 angstrom photo-polarimeter, a 1.5 to 3 micron infrared spectrometer, and an 8 - 30 micron infrared radiometer. The orbiter also carried a magnetometer and charged particle traps. Some reports indicated a camera system was also aboard. The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 meter sphere which held the lander.

Venera 9 landed on Venus with the Sun near zenith at 05:13 UT on 22 October 1975. A system of circulating fluid used to distribute the heat load, plus precooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 53 minutes after landing. During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by protective hemispheric shells, three parachutes, a disk-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion. The landing was about 2,200 km from the Venera 10 landing site. Preliminary results indicated:

   1. clouds 30-40 km thick with bases at 30-35 km altitude
   2. atmospheric constituents including HCl, HF, Br, and I
   3. surface pressure about 90 (Earth) atmospheres
   4. surface temperature 485 degrees C
   5. light levels comparable to Earth mid-latitudes on a cloudy summer day
   6. successful TV photography showing shadows, no apparent dust in the air, and a variety of 30-40 cm rocks which were not eroded

Venera 9 and 10 were the first probes to send back black and white pictures from the Venusian surface. They were supposed to make 360 degree panoramic shots, but on both landers one of two camera covers failed to come off, restricting their field of view to 180 degrees.



USSR Venera 9 Venus probe, photo courtesy of NASA
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1975-050A

1996 18:17:00 GMT
McDonnell-Douglas launched a DC-XA test mission which reached new altitude (3140 m) and duration (142 second flight) records after a 26-hour rapid turnaround demostration.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X#Flight_testing

1998 12:01:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 91 (Discovery) undocked from the Mir space station, bringing to a close Phase 1 of the International Space Station program.

The final shuttle-Mir mission, STS 91, launched 2 June 1998, recovered NASA astronaut Andy Thomas from the Mir station, and took Russian space chief and ex-cosmonaut Valeri Ryumin to Mir for an inspection tour of the aging station. It was also the first test of the super lightweight aluminium-lithium alloy external tank, designed to increase shuttle payload to the Mir or International Space Station orbits by 4,000 kg. The countdown proceeded smoothly except for a slight delay in operations to load the external tank with cryogenic propellant to evaluate a few technical issues. As planned, launch managers determined the exact orbital location of the Mir space station during the countdown's T-9 minute built in hold. The decision was then made to launch Discovery at 6:06 pm EST to achieve optimum Shuttle system performance, and to accommodate the Shuttle-Mir rendezvous activities. At 22:15 GMT, Discovery entered an initial 74 x 324 km x 51.6 deg orbit, with the OMS-2 burn three quarters of an hour later circulizing the chase orbit.

Discovery's first docking to Mir occurred 4 June at 12:58 pm EST, at an altitude of 208 miles. Hatches between the two vessels were opened at 2:34 pm the same day. At hatch opening, Andy Thomas officially became a member of Discovery's crew, completing 130 days of living and working on Mir. The transfer wrapped up a total of 907 days spent by seven US astronauts aboard the Russian space station as long-duration crew members. During the next four days, the Mir 25 and STS 91 crews transferred more than 1,100 pounds of water, and almost 4,700 pounds of cargo experiments and supplies were exchanged between the two spacecraft. Long-term US experiments aboard the Mir were moved into Discovery's middeck locker area and the SPACEHAB single module in the orbiter's payload bay, including the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and the tissue engineering co-culture (COCULT) investigations, as well as two crystal growth experiments. The crews also conducted Risk Mitigation Experiments (RMEs) and Human Life Sciences (HLS) investigations. When the hatches closed for undocking on 8 June at 9:07 am, and the spacecraft separated at 12:01 pm that day, the final Shuttle-Mir docking mission was concluded, and Phase 1 of the International Space Station (ISS) program came to an end.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) flew for the first time on this mission. The AMS, designed to look for dark and missing matter in the universe, was powered up on Flight Day 1. Data originally planned to be sent to ground stations through Discovery's KU-band communications system was recorded onboard because of a problem with the KU-band system that prevented it from sending high-rate communications, including television signals, to the ground, although the system was able to receive uplink transmissions. On 3 June, the crew was able to set up a bypass system that allowed AMS data to be downlinked via S-band/FM communications when the orbiter came within range of a ground station. Data that could not be recorded by ground stations was recorded onboard throughout the mission.

The KU-band system failure was determined to be located in a component that was not accessible to the crew. The failure prevented television transmission throughout the mission. Television broadcasts from Mir were prevented by a problem between a Russian ground station and the mission control center outside of Moscow, limiting communications to audio only on NASA television.

Other experiments conducted by the Shuttle crew during the mission included a checkout of the orbiter's robot arm to evaluate new electronics and software and the Orbiter Space Vision System for use during assembly missions for the ISS. Also onboard in the payload bay were eight Get Away-Special experiments, while combustion, crystal growth and radiation monitoring experiments were conducted in Discovery's middeck crew cabin area.

STS 91 ended on 12 June 1998 when Discovery landed on orbit 155 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 11,730 feet (3,576 meters). Rollout time: one minute, four seconds. Mission duration: nine days, 19 hours, 54 minutes, two seconds. Discovery logged 3.8 million statute miles during the flight with an orbit inclination of 51.6 degrees. It landed on the first opportunity at KSC, marking the fifteenth consecutive landing in Florida, and twenty-second in the last twenty three missions.

The flight crew for STS 91 was: Charles J. Precourt, Commander; Dominic L. Pudwill Gorie, Pilot; Wendy B. Lawrence, Mission Specialist; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist; Janet L. Kavandi, Mission Specialist; Valery Victorovitch Ryumin, Mission Specialist; Andrew S. W. Thomas returned from Mir (Mir-25, launched on STS 89).


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-91.html

2004
A transit of Venus (between Earth & Sun) was observed by astronomers, amateurs and the news organizations across the world, the first Venus transit after the invention of broadcast media.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_of_Venus,_2004


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