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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 7

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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
Visit to find out more!

Died, Cornelis Douwes, Dutch mathematician, astronomer, developed a method of double altitudes by which latitude could be found without a noon observation

C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #92 Undina.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #537 Pauly.

Born, Armand Spitz, developer of small educational planetariums

Born, Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction writer often called the "dean of science fiction writers", an influential and controversial author of the genre in his time

Robert Goddard received US Patent 1,102,653, the first covering the concept of using multiple rocket stages to achieve high velocities.

E. Hertzsprung discovered asteroid #1702 Kalahari.

1959 14:25:09 GMT
Venus occulted the star Regulus. The rare event (which will next occur on 1 October 2044) was used to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere.

Born, Kevin A. Ford (at Portland, Indiana, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 128, ISS 33/34; over 157d 13h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Kevin A. Ford, NASA photo JSC2009-E-061592 (11 February 2009)
Source: Wikipedia ( killed 25 Feb 2021)

1978 11:26:16 GMT
USSR launched Progress 2 from Baikonur, an unmanned supply vessel, for delivery of fuel, consumable materials and equipment to the Salyut 6 station.

Progress 2 was launched 7 July 1978 to deliver fuel, consumable materials and equipment to the Salyut 6 station. It docked with Salyut 6 on 9 Jul 1978 12:58:59 GMT, undocked on 2 Aug 1978 04:57:44 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 4 Aug 1978 01:31:07 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.92 days. Total docked time 23.67 days.

Solar Challenger crossed the English Channel, the first solar-powered aircraft to do so.

1988 08:05:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1957 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.

1988 17:38:04 GMT
USSR launched the unsuccessful Phobos 1 probe from Baikonur toward Mars and its moons. The mission later failed when telemetry was lost due to an erroneous command being uploaded to the spacecraft.

Phobos 1, launched 7 July 1988, carried two landers and was planned to enter Mars orbit. It operated nominally until an expected communications session on 2 September did not occur. The failure of controllers to regain contact with the spacecraft was traced to an error in the software uploaded on 29/30 August which had deactivated the attitude thrusters. This resulted in a loss of lock on the Sun, resulting in the spacecraft orienting the solar arrays away from the Sun, thus depleting the batteries. Phobos 1 consequently was stranded in a heliocentric orbit.

Phobos 1, and its companion Phobos 2, were the next generation in the Venera-type planetary missions, succeeding those last used during the Vega 1 and 2 missions to comet P/Halley. The objectives of the missions were to: (1) conduct studies of the interplanetary environment; (2) perform observations of the Sun; (3) characterize the plasma environment in the Martian vicinity; (4) conduct surface and atmospheric studies of Mars; and, (5) study the surface composition of the Martian satellite Phobos. The main section of the spacecraft consisted of a pressurized toroidal electronics section surrounding a modular cylindrical experiment section. Below these were mounted four spherical tanks containing hydrazine for attitude control and, after the main propulsion module was to be jettisoned, orbit adjustment. A total of 28 thrusters (twenty-four 50 N thrusters and four 10 N thrusters) were mounted on the spherical tanks, with additional thrusters mounted on the spacecraft body and solar panels. Attitude was maintained through the use of a three-axis control system with pointing maintained with Sun and star sensors.

The Phobos probes carried two types of landers: a stationary Long-Term Automated Lander, and a Hopping Lander (Hopper) designed to be mobile through use of a hopping mechanism.

USSR Phobos spacecraft
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

1992 09:20:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched Navstar 2A-05 (USA 83) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a GPS Block 2A satellite component of the Global Positioning System, which was placed in Plane F Slot 2.

1995 10:54:34 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 71 (Atlantis 14, 69th Shuttle mission, 100th US manned space flight) ended, having performed 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).

1995 13:02:00 GMT
McDonnell-Douglas launched a DC-X test flight from White Sands, last of the second series, demonstrating the turnaround maneuver, reaching an altitude of 2.5 km (8200 ft) in the 124 second flight. The aeroshell cracked in the 4 m/s (9 mph) hard landing.

1995 16:23:34 GMT
An Ariane 4 launched from Kourou carried the French Helios 1A surveillance satellite, the French CERISE amateur radio satellite, and Spain's UPM/LBSAT 1 experimental communications and microgravity experiment satellite to orbit.

1996 08:36:45 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 78 (Columbia 20, 78th Shuttle mission) landed after carrying the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS) experiment platform on the longest Shuttle flight to date at the time (more than 16 days, 21.75 hours).

The STS 78 launch on 20 June 1996 proceeded on time. An in-cabin camera provided the first video images from the flight deck, beginning with crew ingress and continuing through main engine cutoff. Post-launch assessment of the spent solid rocket boosters revealed a hot gas path in the motor field joints to, but not past, the capture feature O-ring. This marked the first occurrence of combustion product penetration into the J-joint of the redesigned solid rocket motor (RSRM). Flight safety was not compromised, and motor performance met design specification requirements. The probable cause was attributed to a new, more environmentally friendly adhesive and cleaning fluid. No significant in-flight problems were experienced with the orbiter.

Five space agencies (NASA/USA; ESA/Europe; CNES/France; CSA/Canada; and ASI/Italy) and research scientists from 10 countries worked together on the primary payload of STS 78, the Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS). More than 40 experiments flown were grouped into two areas: life sciences, which included human physiology and space biology, and microgravity science, which included basic fluid physics investigations, advanced semiconductor and metal alloy materials processing, and medical research in protein crystal growth.

LMS investigations were conducted via the most extensive use of telescience to date. Investigators were located at four remote European and four remote US locations, similar to what is planned for the International Space Station. The mission also made extensive use of video imaging to help crew members perform inflight maintenance procedures on experiment hardware.

Previous life science investigations had delved into what physiological changes take place in the microgravity environment; integrated LMS experiments explored why these changes occur, including the most extensive studies ever conducted on bone and muscle loss in space. STS 78 marked the first time researchers collected muscle tissue biopsy samples both before and after the flight. Crew members also were scheduled to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans almost immediately after landing. Findings from comparison of the biopsy samples, along with various musculoskeletal tests conducted during mission, could lead to effective countermeasures to reduce inflight muscle atrophy.

Other life science investigations were the first ever comprehensive study of sleep cycles, 24 hour circadian rhythms, and task performance in microgravity. A Shuttle orbiting Earth passes through sixteen sunrises and sunsets in a single 24 hour period, which could disrupt normal body rhythms. During two 72 hour time blocks, crew members completed questionnaires and measured such functions as eye movement and muscle activity during sleep. In the Performance Assessment Work Station, crew members performed a series of drills involving math problems and other mental tests to measure microgravity effects on cognitive, or thinking, skills.

Microgravity science investigations included the Advanced Gradient Heating Facility, in which samples of pure aluminum containing zirconia particles were solidified, which could lead to less expensive ways to make mixtures of metals and ceramics, particularly useful to the metal casting industry. The Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility was first designed to use three methods for growing protein crystals. The Electrohydrodynamics of Liquid Bridges experiment focused on changes that occur in a fluid bridge suspended between two electrodes. The research could find applications in industrial processes where control of a liquid column or spray is used, including inkjet printing.

The crew performed in-flight fixes to problem hardware on the Bubble, Drop and Particle Unit (BDPU), designed to study fluid physics.

The orbiter played a key part in a test leading to raising the Hubble Space Telescope to a higher orbit during the second servicing mission. Columbia's vernier Reaction Control System jets were gently pulsed to boost the orbiter's altitude without jarring payloads. The exercise was investigated for use by Discovery during STS 82, when it was used in February 1997 to raise the HST's orbit without impacting its solar arrays.

STS 78 ended on 7 July 1996 when Columbia landed on revolution 272 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, closing the longest Shuttle flight to date, on the first opportunity at KSC. Rollout distance: 9,339 feet (2,847 meters). Rollout time: 45 seconds. Orbit altitude: 173 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 39 degrees. Mission duration: 16 days, 21 hours, 47 minutes, 45 seconds. Miles traveled: 7 million. The flight also featured the first live downlink video during the orbiter's descent. After landing, Henricks and Kregel participated in an Olympic Torch ceremony at the KSC Visitor Center.

The flight crew for STS 78 was: Terence T. Henricks, Commander; Kevin R. Kregel, Pilot; Susan J. Helms, Flight Engineer; Richard M. Linnehan, DVM, Mission Specialist; Charles E. Brady, Jr., MD, Mission Specialist; Jean-Jacques Favier, PhD (CNES), Payload Specialist; Robert Brent Thirsk, MD (CSA), Payload Specialist.

1998 03:15:00 GMT
In the first satellite launch from a submarine, a converted Russian R-29RM three stage liquid propellant submarine launched ballistic missile carried the Israeli Shtil instrument package and the German Tubsat-N and Tubsat-N1 nanosatellites to orbit.

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