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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 29

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Born, George Ellery Hale, American astronomer (spectroheliograph, magnetic fields in sunspots, four largest telescopes)

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #791 Ani.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #979 Ilsewa.

In the first astronomical observation from an airplane flight undertaken for the purpose, a solar eclipse was photographed over London, England.

A rocket was launched at Magdeburg, Germany which caught one of the launch rails as it cleared the tower, flew 300 meters horizontally, and skidded another 10 on the ground, relatively intact. Nebel received only 3200 marks for his work.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 was enacted, requiring all aliens in the US to register with the government. To date (2017), there have been no such registrations by extraterrestrials, in spite of assertions made in the Men In Black movie series.

Born, Charles Joseph "Charlie" Precourt (at Waltham, Massachusetts, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 55, STS 71, STS 84, STS 91)

Astronaut Charlie Precourt, NASA photo

1961 04:19:00 GMT
US Navy launched the Transit 4A navigation satellite with the first space nuclear power supply (SNAP-3A) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a flight also carrying the Injun 1 and Solrad 3 satellites, which failed to separate but still returned radiation data.

Born, George David Zamka (at Jersey City, New Jersey, USA), Colonel USMC, NASA astronaut (STS 120, STS 130)

Astronaut George Zamka, NASA photo

1962 18:41:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched X-15A Heating rates, notch Test mission # 60 in which John McKay achieved a maximum speed of 5279 kph (Mach 4.95) and a maximum altitude of 25.359 km.

1965 06:00:01 MST (GMT -7:00:00)
NASA launched the Apollo PA-2 Launch Escape System (LES) test from White Sands, New Mexico, a successful demonstration of the capability of the LES to abort from the launch pad and recover.

NASA launched Apollo mission PA-2 on 29 June 1965 as a test of the Launch Escape System (LES) simulating a pad abort, at White Sands Missle Range, New Mexico. All test objectives were met: The escape rocket lifted the spacecraft (boilerplate 23A) more than 1,524 m (5,000 ft) above the pad. The Earth Landing System functioned normally, lowering the vehicle back to Earth. The flight was similar to the first pad abort test on 7 November 1963, except for the addition of canards to the LES to orient the spacecraft blunt end forward after engine burnout, and a boost protective cover on the command module (CM). PA-2 was the fifth of six scheduled flights to prove out the LES.

1965 18:21:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched X-15A LaRC Scan,Radiom,BLN Test/Aeronomy mission # 138 in which Captain Joseph Henry Engle reached 85.527 km, earning his astronaut wings (USAF definition), and achieved a maximum speed of 5523 kph (Mach 4.94).

1967 18:27:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched the unsuccessful X-15A WTR/HS/ASAS Test/Technology mission # 184 which lost both APUs and all electrical power during the flight.

The X-15A WTR/HS/ASAS Test/Technology mission, flight # 184, launched 29 June 1967, suffered an electrical failure while climbing at 32.610 km, and lost engine power at 69 seconds. It landed at Mud Lake with no flaps, and Pete Knight was injured while exiting the aircraft. The X-15 achieved a maximum speed of 4619 kph (Mach 4.17), and a maximum altitude of 52.730 km.

1967 21:01:44 GMT
The US Navy and Army launched SECOR 9 (SEquential COllation of Range), a GPS predecessor, from Vandenburg, California, on a flight that also carried the Aurora 1 satellite used to study the aurora borealis.

1969 13:26:00 GMT
NASA launched Biosatellite 3 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Biosatellite 3 was launched 29 June 1969, and the biological capsule reentered on 7 July 1969. The intent had been to fly a 6 kg male pig-tailed monkey (Macaca nemestrina) named Bonnie in Earth orbit for 30 days. However, after only 8.8 days in orbit, the mission was terminated because of the subject's deteriorating health. High development costs were a strong incentive for maximizing the scientific return from the mission. Consequently, the scientific goals had become exceedingly ambitious over time, and a great many measurements were conducted on the single research subject flown. Although the mission was highly successful from a technical standpoint, the science results were apparently compromised.

Died (Soyuz 11 reentry accident), Georgi T. Dobrovolsky, Soviet cosmonaut, member of first crew to stay aboard a space station

Georgi Timofeyevich Dobrovolski (1 June 1928 - 29 June 1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 11 mission, and had the unfortunate distinction of being part of the first acknowledged Soviet crew to die during a space flight: After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened, and the crew was found dead. It was discovered that a valve had opened just prior to leaving orbit that had allowed the capsule's atmosphere to vent away into space, suffocating the crew.

Died (Soyuz 11 reentry accident), Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev, Soviet cosmonaut, member of first crew to stay aboard a space station

Died (Soyuz 11 reentry accident), Vladimir Volkov, Soviet cosmonaut, member of first crew to stay aboard a space station

Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov (23 November 1935, Moscow - 29 June 1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 11 missions.

He had the unfortunate distinction of being part of the second crew to die during a space flight, on Soyuz 11: After a normal re-entry, the capsule was opened and the crew was found dead. It was discovered that a valve had opened just prior to leaving orbit that had allowed the capsule's atmosphere to vent away into space, suffocating the crew.

1971 23:17:00 GMT
USSR cosmonauts Patsayev, Dobrovolsky, and Volkov, returning from 24 days in orbit (22 days at the Salyut 1 space station), died due to an air leak during the reentry procedure, prior to the successful automatic landing of Soyuz 11.

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.

1972 03:47:00 GMT
USSR launched Prognoz 2 into a 517x201,804 km orbit from Baikonur to study the processes of solar activity and of their influence on interplanetary space and the Earth's magnetosphere.

1978 21:51:00 GMT
The Comstar 3 US domestic telephone satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Americas at 87 deg W in 1978-1984; at 76 deg W in 1984-1986.

1980 04:40:42 GMT
USSR launched Progress 10 from Baikonur to the Salyut 6 space station.

Progress 10, launched 29 June 1980, was an unmanned supply vessel for the Salyut 6 orbital station. It docked with Salyut 6 on 1 Jul 1980 05:53:00 GMT, undocked on 17 Jul 1980 22:21:00 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 19 Jul 1980 01:47:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.19 days. Total docked time 16.69 days.

1982 21:46:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1383 navigation satellite from Plesetsk, for trials of experimental equipment for testing systems to determine the location of vessels and aircraft in distress, the first search and rescue satellite.

1991 14:00:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched the REX (Radiation Experiment) satellite from Vandenberg which tested communications components in a high radiation environment.

1995 09:00:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 71 (Atlantis) docked with the Russian Mir space station for the first time, creating the largest on-orbit spacecraft in human history.

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).

Died, Josef Martin Michel, rocket engineer, German guided missiles expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States at Fort Bliss, Texas after the war

2004 03:58:00 GMT
Russia's Apstar 5 (Telstar 18) communications satellite was launched from the Odyssey sea-launch platform near Kirimati. However, an upper stage failure of the Zenit 3SL booster left the satellite stranded in a useless orbit.

2004 07:45:00 GMT
A Dnepr booster was launched from Baikonur carrying 8 small satellites to orbit: Aprizesat 1 and 2 (LatinSat C, D, Argentina), Demeter (France), Saudicomsat 1 and 2 (Saudi Arabia), Unisat 3 (Italy), and Amsat Echo (USA).

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