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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 July 2

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Died, Bartholomaeus Pitiscus, German mathematician (trigonometry)

Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin successfully demonstrated the world's first rigid airship, the LZ-1, at Lake Constance, near Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Born, Hans Albrecht Bethe, German-American physicist (stellar nucleosynthesis, Nobel 1967 "for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars")

The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was established by an act of Congress, renamed from the earlier earlier United States Army Air Service. The USAAC is now the United States Air Force (USAF).

Born, Iven C. Kincheloe (at Detroit, Michigan, USA), US Air Force test pilot (Man-In-Space-Soonest - 1958) (deceased)

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1357 Khama.

Aviatrix Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in her Lockheed Vega over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight at the equator.

C. Jackson discovered asteroids #1429 Pemba and #1456 Saldanha.

Born, Georgi Ivanov [Kakalov] (at Lovech, Bulgaria), cosmonaut (Soyuz 33 - Salyut 6 EP-5-1) "his original name was changed by Russian order because Kakalov means something obscene in Russian"

A UFO (unidentified flying object) speculated to be an extraterrestrial spacecraft crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, though the US Air Force has claimed it was a weather balloon. (ambiguous date)

Born, Linda Maxine Godwin PhD (at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 37, STS 59, STS 76, STS 108)

Astronaut Linda M. Godwin, NASA photo

Born, Wendy Barrien Lawrence (at Jacksonville, Florida, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 67, STS 86, STS 91, STS 114)

Astronaut Wendy B. Lawrence, NASA photo

1965 04:04:00 GMT
The Tiros 10 weather satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1965 06:28:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 70 from Kapustin Yar for investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.

1978 09:36:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1026 from Baikonur for investigation of primary cosmic radiation and meteoritic particles in near-Earth outer space.

Engine 2002 exploded violently in a major Shuttle SSME failure during a test run due to a hydrogen leak (main fuel valve rupture). The Main Propulsion Test Article (MPTA) sustained major structural damage due to overpressure of the heat shield support.

L. E. Gonzalez discovered asteroid #3495 Colchagua.

Lawnchair Larry, one of the few Darwin Award contenders who lived to tell the tale, used 45 helium filled balloons to make his lawnchair fly to a height of about 16,000 feet.

1982 14:21:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz T-6 returned to Earth from Salyut 7.

1985 11:23:13 GMT
ESA launched Giotto to study Comet P/Halley.

ESA's Giotto, launched 2 July 1985, was designed to study Comet P/Halley. The major objectives of the mission were to: (1) obtain color photographs of the nucleus; (2) determine the elemental and isotopic composition of volatile components in the cometary coma, particularly parent molecules; (3) characterize the physical and chemical processes that occur in the cometary atmosphere and ionosphere; (4) determine the elemental and isotopic composition of dust particles; (5) measure the total gas-production rate and dust flux and size/mass distribution and derive the dust-to-gas ratio; and, (6) investigate the macroscopic systems of plasma flows resulting from the cometary-solar wind interaction. The spacecraft encountered the comet on 13 March 1986, at a distance of 0.89 AU from the sun and 0.98 AU from the Earth and an angle of 107 degrees from the comet-sun line. During the encounter with Halley's comet, the spin axis was aligned with the relative velocity vector. The 1.5 m X-band dish antenna was inclined and despun in order to point at the Earth (44 degrees with respect to the velocity vector). The goal was to come within 500 km of Halley's comet at closest encounter; the actual closest approach was measured at 596 km.

The scientific payload was comprised of ten hardware experiments: a narrow-angle camera, three mass spectrometers for neutrals, ions and dust, various dust detectors, a photopolarimeter and a set of plasma experiments. All experiments performed well and returned a wealth of new scientific results. Fourteen seconds before closest approach, Giotto was hit by a `large' dust particle. The impact caused an angular momentum vector shift of 0.9 degrees in the spacecraft, which performed a nutation around the new axis with a period of 16 seconds and an amplitude of 0.9 degrees; thus, the maximum deviation from the desired attitude was 1.8 degrees. Scientific data were received intermittently for the next 32 minutes. Some experiment sensors suffered damage during this 32 minute interval. Other experiments (the camera baffle and deflecting mirror, the dust detector sensors on the front sheet of the bumper shield, and most experiment apertures) were exposed to dust particles regardless of the accident and also suffered damage. Many of the sensors survived the encounter with little or no damage. Questionable or partially damaged sensors included the camera (later proved to not be functional) and one of the plasma analyzers (RPA). Inoperable experiments included the neutral and ion mass spectrometers and one sensor each on the dust detector and the other plasma analyzer (JPA).

During the Giotto extended mission, the spacecraft flew by the Earth on 2 July 1990 at a distance of 16,300 km at 10:01:18 UTC. This was the first encounter of Earth by a spacecraft coming from deep space, during which observations were made of the Earth's magnetic field and energetic particles. Giotto obtained a gravitational assist from the flyby, and successfully encountered Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup on 10 July 1992. Its closest approach was 200 km at a relative velocity of 13.99 km/s. The heliocentric distance of the spacecraft was 1.01 AU, and the geocentric distance, 1.43 AU at the time of the encounter. The payload was switched on in the evening of 9 July. Eight experiments were operated and provided data. The Johnstone Plasma Analyser detected the first presence of cometary ions 600,000 km from the nucleus at 12 hours before the closest approach. The Dust Impact Detectors reported the first impact of a fairly large particle at 15:30:56. Bow shocks/waves and acceleration regions were also detected.

On 23 July 1992 Giotto operations were officially terminated after completion of final orbit adjustments and configuration of the spacecraft for its third hibernation. Only 1 to 7 kg of fuel is left on board, insufficient for any extensive future maneuvers. Giotto flew by the Earth on 1 July 1999 at a closest approach of about 219,000 km at approximately 02:40 UT (10:40 p.m. EDT, 30 June).

Giotto illustration, courtesy of NASA

Died, Werner Dobrick, rocket engineer, German expert in guided missiles during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after the war

1990 10:01:18 GMT
ESA's Giotto flew by the Earth at a distance of 16,300 km on its way to study Comet P/Halley, the first encounter of Earth by a craft returning from deep space.
see above

1996 07:48:00 GMT
NASA launched the TOMS-EP (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer-Earth Probe) from Vandenburg, California, for atmospheric ozone mapping.

The ISEE Reboot Project successfully fired the thrusters on NASA's ISEE3/ICE probe for the first time since 1987, and spun up the spacecraft to its nominal roll rate.

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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