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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 26

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Born, Charles Joseph Messier, French astronomer (catalogued the famous "M objects" (deep sky objects, nebulae and star clusters), also sometimes called the "comet ferret")

Died, Joseph Michel Montgolfier, built the first practical hot air balloon in 1783 with his brother Jacques Etienne

The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph Michel Montgolfier (26 August 1740 - 26 June 1810) and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier (6 January 1745 - 2 August 1799), built the first practical hot-air balloon (1783).

Born, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, Scottish physicist (thermodynamics, Kelvin temperature scale)

Died, Edward Sabine, Irish astronomer, extensive pendulum measurements to determine Earth's shape, magnetic observatories to relate sunspot activity with terrestrial magnetism disturbances

Born, William Lear, American inventor (automobile radio, eight-track tape player, Lear Jet Corporation)

M. Wolf and L. Carnera discovered asteroid #488 Kreusa.

The first US commercial airplane sale was made by Glenn Curtiss, selling one of his airplanes to the Aeronautic Society of New York for $7,500.

Born, Maurice Wilkes, inventor (designed and built EDSAC, the first computer with an internally stored program)

Born, Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev (at Chelistshevo, Vologda Oblast, Russian SFSR), Russian cosmonaut (Voskhod 2)

Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev (26 June 1925 - 10 January 1970) was a Russian cosmonaut who flew on the Voskhod 2 mission. Belyayev was selected for the space program in 1960 after nearly fifteen years experience in the Soviet air force and navy. He was also selected to fly the Vostok 8 mission into Earth's van Allen radiation belt, but the mission was cancelled.

Comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke approached within 0.0394 AUs (3.66 million miles) of Earth.;cad=1#cad

The Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first practical helicopter, made its initial flight.

Focke-Wulf Fw 61, the first practical helicopter

L. Boyer discovered asteroid #2021 Poincare.

Walter Baade discovered asteroid #1566 Icarus inside the orbit of Mercury.

Born, William Arthur Pailes (at Hackensack, New Jersey, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 51-J)

Astronaut William A. Pailes, NASA photo

Born, Bernard Andrew Harris Jr. MD (at Temple, Texas, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 55, STS 63)

Astronaut Bernard Harris Jr. MD, NASA photo

The US Air Force X-17 development test program ended at Cape Canaveral. A total of 26 "production" flights occurred through March 1957 to study reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with the three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17.

1958 00:00:00 GMT
The US Navy launched Vanguard SLV 2 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which failed to reach orbit due to a second stage premature engine cutoff.

The first full-scale firing of the Apollo Service Module (SM) engine took place.

The first full-scale firing of the Apollo SM engine was conducted 26 June 1963 at the Arnold Engineering Development Center. At the start of the shutdown sequence, the engine thrust chamber valve remained open because of an electrical wiring error in the test facility. As a result, the engine ran at a reduced chamber pressure until the propellant in the fuel line was exhausted, and the engine's nozzle extension collapsed because of the excessive pressure differential across the nozzle skin.

1970 03:22:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-14 from Plesetsk for operation of a system of long range telephone and telegraph radiocommunications, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to the stations of the Orbita network.

1971 23:15:00 GMT
USSR launched N1 6L from Baikonur, which was destroyed in flight after a first stage control failure.

N1 serial 6L, launched 26 June 1971, was a substantially improved vehicle, incorporating filters in the propellant lines to prevent any foreign objects from getting into the pumps. The shape of the booster's tail was modified, and ventilation and refrigeration systems were added to keep the engine compartment cool. It was painted white overall to reduce temperatures while sitting on the pad. During ascent after liftoff, an unplanned axial rotation was introduced by the gas dynamics interaction of the thirty engines with the air in the slipstream. The launch vehicle developed a roll beyond the capability of the control system to compensate, and began to break up as it went through Max Q at T+48 seconds. The engines functioned well and did not shut down until the computer command was unblocked at T+50 seconds. No functional payload was carried, and the launch did not have a working launch escape system.

1972 14:52:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 496 to verify safety modifications to the Soyuz breathing ventilation valve, a Soyuz 7K-T redesign test. The successful flight ended 2 July, the capsule was recovered 9 July.

1973 01:22:00 GMT
Nine technicians were killed at the USSR Plesetsk LC-133 Voskhod complex during preparation of a Kosmos-3M booster intended to launch a Tselina sigint satellite when oxidizer and propellant were accidentally mixed together during fuelling.

A. Gilmore and P. Kilmartin discovered asteroid #3521.

NASA's Galileo satellite made observations of Ganymede as it passed during the probe's ninth orbit of Jupiter.

Space Shuttle Atlantis, with the Galileo spacecraft aboard, was launched from Kennedy Space Center on 18 October 1989. Galileo was deployed on the 6th orbit around the Earth, with the first stage IUS burn executed an hour later. The second stage IUS burn occurred 5 minutes later to place Galileo on an Earth escape velocity of 7.1 miles/sec. 7 hours 46 minutes after launch, the IUS went into a first stage spinoff to deploy the RTG and science booms. The second stage IUS spinoff at a rate of 2.9 revolutions/minute for the separation of the IUS from Galileo soon followed. At that point, telemetry data were transmitted and received by the DSN (Deep Space Network).

The Galileo mission consisted of two spacecraft: an orbiter and an atmospheric probe. The trajectory which the spacecraft followed was called a VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist), traveling first in toward the Sun for a gravity assist from Venus on 10 February 1990 before encountering the Earth two times on 8 December 1990 and two years later, on 8 December 1992. These encounters with Venus and the Earth allowed Galileo to gain enough velocity to get it out to Jupiter.

During the flybys of Venus and the Earth, Galileo scientists studied these two planets as well as the Moon, making some unprecedented observations. In addition, following each Earth flyby, Galileo made excursions as far out in the solar system as the asteroid belt, enabling scientists to make the first close-up studies of two asteroids, Gaspra (29 October 1991) and Ida (28 August 1993). Galileo scientists were also the only ones with a "direct view" of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragment impacts on Jupiter in July 1994. All of this was prior to the primary missions of sending an atmospheric probe into Jupiter's atmosphere and studying Jupiter, its satellites, and its magnetosphere for two years with the orbiter.

Interplanetary studies were also made sporadically by some of the other Galileo instruments, including the dust detector, magnetometer, and various plasma and particles detectors, during its six year journey to Jupiter.

The probe was released from the orbiter on 12 July 1995, 147 days prior to its entry into the Jovian atmosphere on 7 December 1995, the same day the main spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter.

The Galileo spacecraft's 14-year odyssey came to an end on Sunday 21 September 2003 when the spacecraft passed into Jupiter's shadow then disintegrated in the planet's dense atmosphere after 35 orbits around the planet. Its propellant was depleted, it was maneuvered to enter the Jovian atmosphere at 18:57 GMT (11:57 AM PDT). Entry was at 48.2 km/s from an orbit with a periapsis 9700 km below the 1-bar atmospheric layer. The spacecraft continued transmitting at least until it passed behind the limb of Jupiter at 1850:54 GMT, when it was 9283 km above the 1-bar level, surprising Galileo veterans who feared it might enter safe mode due to the high radiation environment. On its farewell dive, it had crossed the orbit of Callisto at around 1100 on 20 September, the orbit of Ganymede at around 0500 on 21 September, Europa's orbit at about 1145, Io's orbit at about 1500, Amalthea's orbit at 1756, and the orbits of Adrastea and Metis at 1825. Galileo was destroyed to prevent the possibility that its orbit would eventually be perturbed in such a way that it would crash on and biologically contaminate Europa, which was considered a possible place to search for life. Light travel time from Jupiter to Earth was 52 min 20 sec at the time of impact, and the final signal reached Earth at 1943:14 GMT.

See also for more images and information about the asteroid Gaspra encounter.

Died, John F. Yardley, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight (1974-1981), President of McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company (1981-1989)

2002 06:36:00 GMT
Russia launched Progress M-46 from Baikonur, which docked with the International Space Station on 29 June after carrying out tests of the Kurs rendezvous system on June 28.

2003 18:55:00 GMT
The Orbview 3 one-meter-resolution commercial imaging satellite was launched from Vandenburg, California on a Pegasus XL booster.

The ISEE3 Reboot Project achieved synchronous communication with NASA's ISEE3/ICE probe and obtained the four ranging points needed to refine the spacecraft's orbital parameters.

The Explorer-class heliocentric spacecraft, International Sun-Earth Explorer 3, was part of the mother/daughter/heliocentric mission (ISEE 1, 2, and 3). The purposes of the mission were: (1) to investigate solar-terrestrial relationships at the outermost boundaries of the Earth's magnetosphere; (2) to examine in detail the structure of the solar wind near the Earth and the shock wave that forms the interface between the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere; (3) to investigate motions of and mechanisms operating in the plasma sheets; and, (4) to continue the investigation of cosmic rays and solar flare emissions in the interplanetary region near 1 AU.

The three spacecraft carried a number of complementary instruments for making measurements of plasmas, energetic particles, waves, and fields. The mission thus extended the investigations of previous IMP spacecraft. The launch of three coordinated spacecraft in this mission permitted the separation of spatial and temporal effects. ISEE 3, launched 12 August 1978, had a spin axis normal to the ecliptic plane and a spin rate of about 20 rpm. It was initially placed into an elliptical halo orbit about the Lagrangian libration point (L1) 235 Earth radii on the sunward side of the Earth, where it continuously monitored changes in the near-Earth interplanetary medium. In conjunction with the mother and daughter spacecraft, which had eccentric geocentric orbits, this mission explored the coupling and energy transfer processes between the incident solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. In addition, the heliocentric ISEE 3 spacecraft also provided a near-Earth baseline for making cosmic-ray and other planetary measurements for comparison with corresponding measurements from deep-space probes. ISEE 3 was the first spacecraft to use the halo orbit.

In 1982, ISEE 3 began the magnetotail and comet encounter phases of its mission. A maneuver was conducted on 10 June 1982 to remove the spacecraft from the halo orbit around the L1 point and place it in a transfer orbit involving a series of passages between Earth and the L2 (magnetotail) Lagrangian libration point. After several passes through the Earth's magnetotail, with gravity assists from Lunar flybys in March, April, September and October of 1983, a final close Lunar flyby (119.4 km above the Moon's surface) on 22 December 1983 ejected the spacecraft out of the Earth-Moon system and into a heliocentric orbit ahead of the Earth, on a trajectory intercepting that of Comet Giacobini-Zinner. At this time, the spacecraft was renamed International Cometary Explorer (ICE). A total of fifteen propulsive maneuvers (four of which were planned in advance) and five Lunar flybys were needed to carry out the transfer from the halo orbit to an escape trajectory from the Earth-Moon system into a heliocentric orbit.

The primary scientific objective of ICE was to study the interaction between the solar wind and a cometary atmosphere. As planned, the spacecraft traversed the plasma tail of Comet Giacobini-Zinner on 11 September 1985, and made in situ measurements of particles, fields, and waves. It also transited between the Sun and Comet Halley in late March 1986, when other spacecraft (Giotto, Planet-A, MS-T5, VEGA) were also in the vicinity of Comet Halley on their early March comet rendezvous missions. ICE became the first spacecraft to directly investigate two comets. ICE data from both cometary encounters are included in the International Halley Watch archive at

Tracking and telemetry support were provided by the DSN (Deep Space Network) starting in January 1984. The ISEE-3/ICE bit rate was nominally 2048 bps during the early part of the mission, and 1024 bps during the Giacobini-Zinner comet encounter. The bit rate then successively dropped to 512 bps (on 9/12/85), 256 bps (on 5/1/87), 128 bps (on 1/24/89) and finally to 64 bps (on 12/27/91).

As of January 1990, ICE was in a 355 day heliocentric orbit with an aphelion of 1.03 AU, a perihelion of 0.93 AU and an inclination of 0.1 degree.

An update to the ICE mission was approved by NASA headquarters in 1991. It defined a Heliospheric mission for ICE consisting of investigations of coronal mass ejections in coordination with ground-based observations, continued cosmic ray studies, and special period observations such as when ICE and Ulysses were on the same solar radial line. By May 1995, ICE was being operated with only a low duty cycle, with some support being provided by the Ulysses project for data analysis. Termination of operations of ICE/ISEE3 was authorized 5 May 1997.

In 1999, NASA made brief contact with ICE to verify its carrier signal.

On 18 September 2008, NASA located ICE with the help of KinetX using the Deep Space Network after discovering it had not been powered off after the 1999 contact. A status check revealed that all but one of its 13 experiments were still functioning, and it still had enough propellant for 150 m/s (490 ft/s) of Δv (velocity change).

In early 2014, space enthusiasts started discussing reviving ICE when it approached the Earth in August. However, officials with the Goddard Space Flight Center said the Deep Space Network equipment required for transmitting signals to the spacecraft had been decommissioned in 1999, and was too expensive to replace.

On 15 May 2014, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project successfully raised $125,000 through crowdfunding to re-establish communications with the probe.

On 29 May 2014, the reboot team commanded the probe to switch into Engineering Mode to begin to broadcast telemetry. Project members, using the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex DSS-24 antenna, achieved synchronous communication on 26 June and obtained the four ranging points needed to refine the spacecraft's orbital parameters, data needed to calculate maneuvers required to bring the satellite out of heliocentric orbit. The reboot project successfully fired the thrusters on 2 July for the first time since 1987. They spun up the spacecraft to its nominal roll rate, in preparation for the upcoming trajectory correction maneuver in mid-July. However, a longer sequence of thrusters firings on 8 July failed, apparently due to a loss of the nitrogen gas used to pressurize the fuel tanks. The ISEE-3 Reboot Team announced that all attempts to change orbit using the ISEE-3 propulsion system had failed on 24 July. They began shutting down propulsion components to maximize the electrical power available for the science experiments.

In late July 2014, ISEE-3 Reboot Project announced the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission would gather data as the spacecraft flies by the Moon on August 10 and continues in heliocentric orbit. With five of the 13 instruments on the spacecraft still working, the science possibilities include listening for gamma ray bursts, where observations from additional locations in the solar system can be valuable. The team plans to acquire data from as much of ISEE-3's 300-day orbit as possible and the project is recruiting additional receiving sites around the globe to improve diurnal coverage. They may upload additional commands while the spacecraft is close to Earth, after which they will mostly be receiving data.

On 10 August 2014, ICE passed the Moon at a distance of approximately 15,600 km (9600 mi) from the surface and continued into heliocentric orbit. It will return to Earth's vicinity in about 17 years.

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