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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 27

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H. Goldschmidt discovered asteroid #45 Eugenia.

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #237 Coelestina.

The first newspaper advertisement for airplanes was printed.

P. Parchomenko discovered asteroid #1166 Sakuntala.

Died, Eugene Augustin Lauste, developer (first sound-on-film recording)

Born, Joseph Percival Allen IV PhD (at Crawfordsville, Indiana, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 5, STS 51-A)

Astronaut Joseph P. Allen, NASA photo

Born, Sidney "Sid" McNeil Gutierrez (at Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 40, STS 59)

Astronaut Sid Gutierrez , NASA photo

M. Itzigsohn discovered asteroid #1588 Descamisada.

The world's first grid-connected nuclear power station began generating electricity (5 megawatts) while connected to the commercial distribution grid in Obninsk, near Moscow, Russia.

Born, Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (at Riyad, Saudi Arabia), NASA astronaut (STS 51-G), first Arab in space

Astronaut Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, NASA photo

The US Explorer 3 satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after 93 days in orbit.

Explorer 3 (1958 Gamma 1) was launched 26 March 1958 in conjunction with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) by the US Army (Ordinance) into an eccentric orbit. Its objective was a continuation of experiments started with Explorer 1. The payload consisted of a cosmic ray counter (a Geiger-Mueller tube), and a micrometeorite detector (erotion gauge). Explorer 3 was spin stabilized, and had an on-board tape recorder to provide a complete radiation history for each orbit. It was discovered soon after launch that the satellite was in a tumbling motion with a period of about 7 seconds. Explorer 3 decayed from orbit on 27 June 1958, after 93 days of operation.

US NACA Langley's Aircraft Research Division launched the first successful Mach 18 five-stage rocket vehicle at Wallops Island, Virginia.

1962 21:08:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched X-15A High alpha, Mach 6 Test mission #59 in which civilian pilot Joseph Walker set an unofficial world speed record of 6,605 kph (Mach 5.92), and flew to 37.704 km altitude.

1963 17:56:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A Alt/UVP/IR/HorScan Test/Ultraviolet Astronomy/Technology mission # 87 which Major Robert A. Rushworth flew to 86.868 km, with a max speed of 5512 kph (Mach 4.89), earning the third set of astronaut wings (USAF definition).

T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2121 Sevastopol.

1978 01:12:00 GMT
NASA launched Seasat-A into polar orbit, the first satellite to make global observations of the Earth's oceans.

The Ocean Dynamics Satellite (Seasat 1), launched 27 June 1978, was designed to provide measurements of sea surface winds, sea surface temperatures, wave heights, internal waves, atmospheric liquid water content, sea ice features, ocean features, ocean topography, and the marine geoid, the first satellite designed for remote sensing of the Earth's oceans with synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Seasat 1 provided 95% global coverage every 36 hours. The instrument payload consisted of (1) an X-band compressed pulse radar altimeter (ALT), (2) a coherent synthetic aperture radar (SAR), (3) a Seasat-A scatterometer system (SASS), (4) a scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR), and (5) a visible and infrared radiometer (VIRR). The accuracies obtained were distance between the spacecraft and the ocean surface to 10 cm, wind speeds to 2 m/s, and surface temperatures to 1 deg C. On 10 October 1978, Seasat 1 failed due to a massive short circuit in its electrical system. During most of its 105 functional days in orbit, Seasat 1 returned a unique and extensive set of observations of the Earth's oceans.

A suspicion exists that the satellite was intentionally shut off because the quality and nature of the results obtained alarmed the Pentagon. (Judging by the accuracies obtained, the data would provide an extremely detailed view of the nature and movement of any naval forces.)

For more information about Seasat 1, see "Seasat mission overview," Science, v. 204, pp. 1405-1424, 1979, and a special issue on the Seasat 1 sensors, IEEE J. of Oceanic Eng., v. OE-5, 1980.

1978 15:27:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 30 from Baikonur to the Salyut 6 station, under the Intercosmos program, carrying a second international crew consisting of P. I. Klimuk (USSR) and M. Hermaszewski (Poland), to conduct scientific investigations and experiments.

1979 15:51:59 GMT
The US NOAA 6 weather satellite was launched from Vandenburg, California.

1982 11:00:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 4 (Columbia 4, 4th Shuttle mission) as a Department of Defense flight, and also orbited the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) experiment.

The STS 4 launch on 27 June 1982 proceeded as scheduled with no delays. The two solid rocket booster casings were lost when their main parachutes failed and they impacted the Atlantic Ocean's water and sank. Some rainwater penetrated the protective coating of several tiles while the orbiter was on the pad. On orbit, the affected area was turned toward the Sun, which vaporized the water and prevented further tile damage from freezing water.

STS 4 was the final Space Transportation System research and development (R&D) flight. In addition to a classified Department of Defense payload, the cargo included the first Get Away Specials, which contained nine experiments from Utah State University; the first commercial experiment involving the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); the Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR); the Induced Environment Contamination Monitor (IECM), which was deployed, and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments. The crew took data for two medical experiments on themselves, operated the remote manipulator arm to swing IECM around the orbiter, and took photos of lightning activity in the Earth's atmosphere.

STS 4 ended when Columbia landed on revolution 113 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California, the first landing on the 15,000 foot long concrete runway. Rollout distance: 9,878 feet. Rollout time: 73 seconds. Launch weight: 241,664 pounds. Orbit altitude: 197 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, one hour, nine minutes, 31 seconds. Miles Traveled: 2.9 million. The orbiter was returned to Kennedy Space Center on 15 July 1982.

The flight crew for STS 4 was: Thomas K. Mattingly, Commander; Henry W. Hartsfield Jr., Pilot.

1983 09:12:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-9 from Baikonur, which transported V. A. Lyakhov, spacecraft commander, and A. P. Aleksandrov, flight engineer, to the Salyut 7 orbital station to conduct scientific and technical research and experiments.

1989 08:05:00 GMT
USSR launched the Resurs-F 2 landsat from Plesetsk for investigation of the natural resources of the Earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation.

1990 22:33:00 GMT
USSR launched the Meteor 2-19 weather satellite from Plesetsk to gather around-the-clock meteorological information.

1994 14:36:00 GMT
McDonnell Douglas launched a DC-X test mission which experienced an in-flight abort after a gaseous hydrogen explosion. The vehicle demonstrated its autoland capabilities, and reached an altitude of 790 meters during the 78 second flight.

1995 15:32:19 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 71 (Atlantis 14, 69th Shuttle mission, 100th US manned space flight) for the first Shuttle-Mir docking.

STS 71 was originally targeted for launch in late May, but slipped into June to accommodate Russian space program activities necessary for the first Space Shuttle/Mir Space Station docking, including a series of spacewalks to reconfigure the station for docking, and launch of a new Spektr module to Mir containing US research hardware. The launch set for 23 June was scrubbed when rainy weather and lightning prevented loading of the external tank earlier that day. The second try on 24 June was scrubbed at the T-9 minute mark, again due to persistent stormy weather in central Florida, coupled with a short (10 minute) launch window. The liftoff was re-set for 27 June 1995, and the final countdown proceeded smoothly.

STS 71 marked a number of historic achievements in human spaceflight history: the 100th US human space launch conducted from Cape Canaveral; the first US Space Shuttle-Russian Space Station Mir docking and joint on-orbit operations; the largest spacecraft ever in orbit; and the first on-orbit changeout of a Shuttle crew.

Docking occurred on 29 June at 9 a.m. EDT, using an R-Bar (Earth radius vector) approach, with Atlantis closing in on Mir from directly below. The R-bar approach allows natural forces to brake the orbiter's approach more than would occur along a standard approach from directly in front of the space station. An R-bar approach also minimizes the number of orbiter jet firings needed for the approach. The manual phase of docking began with Atlantis about half a mile below Mir, with Gibson at the controls on the aft flight deck. Stationkeeping was performed when the orbiter was about 250 feet from Mir, pending approval from Russian and US flight directors to proceed. Gibson then maneuvered the orbiter to a point at about 30 feet from Mir before beginning the final approach to the station. The closing rate was near the targeted 0.1 feet per second, and the closing velocity was approximately 0.107 feet per second at contact. The interface contact was nearly flawless, with less than one inch of lateral misalignment, and an angular misalignment of less than 0.5 degrees per axis. Docking occurred about 216 nautical miles above Lake Baykal region of the Russian Federation. The Orbiter Docking System (ODS) with an Androgynous Peripheral Docking System served as the actual connection point to a similar interface on the docking port on Mir's Krystall module. The ODS was located in Atlantis' forward payload bay, and performed flawlessly during the docking sequence.

When linked, Atlantis and Mir formed largest human spacecraft ever in orbit, with a total mass of almost one half million pounds (about 225 tons) orbiting some 218 nautical miles above the Earth. After hatches on each side opened, the STS 71 crew passed into Mir for a welcoming ceremony. On same day, the Mir 18 crew officially transferred responsibility for station to the Mir 19 crew, and two crews switched spacecraft.

For next five days, about 100 hours total, joint US-Russian operations were conducted, including biomedical investigations, and transfer of equipment to and from Mir. Fifteen separate biomedical and scientific investigations were conducted, using the Spacelab module installed in the aft portion of Atlantis' payload bay, and covering seven different disciplines: cardiovascular and pulmonary functions; human metabolism; neuroscience; hygiene, sanitation and radiation; behavioral performance and biology; fundamental biology; and microgravity research. The Mir 18 crew served as test subjects for the investigations. The three Mir 18 crew members also carried out an intensive program of exercise and other measures to prepare for re-entry into the gravity environment of Earth after more than three months in space.

Numerous medical samples, as well as disks and cassettes, were transferred to Atlantis from Mir, including more than 100 urine and saliva samples, about 30 blood samples, 20 surface samples, 12 air samples, several water samples and numerous breath samples taken from the Mir 18 crew members. Also moved into the orbiter was a broken Salyut-5 computer. Transferred to Mir were more than 1,000 pounds of water generated by the orbiter for waste system flushing and electrolysis; specially designed spacewalking tools for use by the Mir 19 crew during a spacewalk to repair a jammed solar array on the Spektr module; and oxygen and nitrogen from the Shuttle's environmental control system to raise the air pressure on the station, requested by the Russians to improve the Mir consumables margin.

The two spacecraft undocked on 4 July, following a farewell ceremony, with the Mir hatch closing at 3:32 pm EDT on 3 July, and the hatch on the Orbiter Docking System being shut 16 minutes later. Gibson compared the separation sequence to a "cosmic" ballet: Prior to the Mir-Atlantis undocking, the Mir 19 crew temporarily abandoned the station, flying 100 meters away in their Soyuz (TM-21) spacecraft so they could record images of Atlantis and Mir separating. As Atlantis began its flyaround at a distance of 210 meters, Soyuz redocked with the Kvant module, about a minute early. Just prior to the redocking, one of Mir's attitude control computers crashed, putting Mir in free drift, although this was not considered a serious problem. At 12:35 GMT, Atlantis completed its 360 degree flyaround and ignited its engines for the separation burn, while sending back spectacular TV images of the Mir complex.

After undocking from Mir, Atlantis spent several days on orbit, carrying out medical research work with the Spacelab-Mir module in the cargo bay.

The returning crew of eight equaled the largest crew (STS 61-A, October 1985) in Shuttle history. To ease their re-entry into the gravity environment after more than 100 days in space, Mir 18 crew members Thagard, Dezhurov and Strekalov lay supine in custom made recumbent seats installed prior to landing in the orbiter middeck.

Inflight problems included a glitch with General Purpose Computer 4 (GPC 4), which was declared failed when it did not synchronize with GPC 1. Subsequent troubleshooting indicated it was an isolated event, and GPC 4 operated satisfactorily for the remainder of mission.

STS 71 ended on 7 July 1995 when Atlantis landed on revolution 153 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,364 feet (2,549 meters). Rollout time: 51 seconds. Orbit altitude: 170 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: nine days, 19 hours, 22 minutes, 17 seconds. Miles Traveled: 4.1 million. The runway was switched from 33 to 15 about 20 minutes before touchdown due to concerns of Chief Astronaut Robert Cabana, flying a Shuttle Training Aircraft, about clouds blocking the runway landing aids from view. After landing, President Clinton phoned congratulations to the crew for their successful mission, and extended an invitation to visit the White House.

The flight crew for STS 71 was: Robert L. Gibson, Commander; Charles J. Precourt, Pilot; Ellen S. Baker, Mission Specialist; Bonnie J. Dunbar, Mission Specialist; Gregory J. Harbaugh, Mission Specialist; Anatoly Solovyev (returned in Soyuz TM-21); Nikolai Budarin (returned in Soyuz TM-21); Norman E. Thagard returned from Mir (launched on Soyuz TM-21); Vladimir Dezhurov returned from Mir (launched on Soyuz TM-21); Gennadiy Strekalov returned from Mir (launched on Soyuz TM-21).

NASA's NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) probe flew within 1200 km of main belt asteroid 253 Mathilde.

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