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Space History for July 13

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432 B.C.
The origin of the Metonic Cycle occurred: Meton of Athens noticed that 235 Lunar months make up almost exactly 19 solar years.

Died, James Bradley, third British Astronomer Royal

Died, August Kekule von Stradonitz, discovered the structure of the benzene ring, one of the most prominent chemists in Europe from the 1850s until his death

Born, Wilhelm Knack, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the USSR after World War II, worked on rocket engine development in Glushko's design bureau (1947-1952); worked in Manufacturing; Dept. 61/Shop 55.

Born, Gerd Wilhelm De Beek, engineer, German guided missile expert in World War II, US German Rocket Team member after the war, Head of Managment Services, Graphic Engineering and Model Studies Branch, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

Born, Aleksei Stanislavovich Yeliseyev (at Zhizdra, Kaluga Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz 5 (up)/4 (return), Soyuz 8, Soyuz 10), member of first crew to transfer between spacecraft

Born, George Driver "Pinky" Nelson PhD (at Charles City, Iowa, USA), astronaut (STS 41-C, STS 61-C, STS 26)

Astronaut George D. "Pinky" Nelson, NASA photo

J. A. Bruwer discovered asteroids #1658 Innes and #3284.

1966 07:30:00 GMT
After a total of 11,240 pictures had been transmitted from the Moon's surface, NASA's Surveyor 1 mission was terminated, due to a dramatic drop in battery voltage just after the second sunset it experienced on the Lunar surface.

Surveyor 1, launched 30 May 1966, was the first spacecraft in NASA's Surveyor program, and the first to make a soft landing on the Moon for the US. The mission was considered a complete success, and demonstrated the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the Lunar surface. The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, a series of seven robotic Lunar soft landing flights, were to support the coming crewed Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the Lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon. The specific primary objectives for Surveyor 1 were to: (1) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor spacecraft to perform successful midcourse and terminal maneuvers, and to achieve a soft landing on the Moon; (2) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor communications system and Deep Space Network to maintain communications with the spacecraft during its flight and after a soft landing; and (3) demonstrate the capability of the Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle to inject the Surveyor spacecraft on a Lunar intercept trajectory. Secondary objectives were to obtain engineering data on spacecraft subsystems used during cruise, descent and after landing. Tertiary objectives were to obtain postlanding TV pictures of a spacecraft footpad, the surface material immediately surrounding it and the Lunar topography, and to obtain data on radar reflectivity and bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and on spacecraft temperatures.

The Surveyor spacecraft structure was of a tripod of thin-walled aluminum tubing and interconnecting braces providing mounting surfaces and attachments for the power, communications, propulsion, flight control, and payload systems. A central mast extended about one meter above the apex of the tripod; in total, the spacecraft was about 3 meters tall. Three hinged landing legs, which folded to fit into a nose shroud for launch, were attached to the lower corners of the structure. The legs held shock absorbers, crushable, honeycomb aluminum blocks, the deployment locking mechanism, and terminated in footpads with crushable bottoms. The three footpads extended out 4.3 meters from the center of the Surveyor.

A 0.855 square meter array of 792 solar cells was mounted on a positioner on top of the mast and generated up to 85 Watts of power, which was stored in rechargeable silver-zinc batteries. Communications were achieved via a movable large planar array high gain antenna mounted near the top of the central mast to transmit television images, two omnidirectional conical antennas mounted on the ends of folding booms for uplink and downlink, two receivers and two transmitters. Thermal control was achieved by a combination of white paint, high IR-emittance thermal finish, and a polished aluminum underside. Two thermally controlled compartments, equipped with superinsulating blankets, conductive heat paths, thermal switches and small electric heaters, were mounted on the spacecraft structure. One compartment, held at 5 - 50 degrees C, housed communications and power supply electronics. The other, held between -20 and 50 degrees C, housed the command and signal processing components. The TV survey camera was mounted near the top of the tripod, and strain gauges, temperature sensors, and other engineering instruments were incorporated throughout the spacecraft. One photometric target was mounted near the end of a landing leg, and one on a short boom extending from the bottom of the structure. Other payload packages, which differed from mission to mission, were mounted on various parts of the structure depending on their function.

A Sun sensor, Canopus tracker and rate gyros on three axes provided attitude knowledge. Propulsion and attitude control were provided by cold-gas (nitrogen) attitude control jets during cruise phases, three throttlable vernier rocket engines during powered phases, including the landing, and the solid-propellant retrorocket engine during terminal descent. The retrorocket was a spherical steel case mounted in the bottom center of the spacecraft. The vernier engines used monomethyl hydrazine hydrate fuel and MON-10 (90% N2O2, 10% NO) oxidizer. Each thrust chamber could produce 130 N to 460 N of thrust on command, one engine could swivel for roll control. The fuel was stored in spherical tanks mounted to the tripod structure. For the landing sequence, an altitude marking radar initiated the firing of the main retrorocket for primary braking. After firing was complete, the retrorocket and its radar were jettisoned, and the doppler and altimeter radars were activated. These provided information to the autopilot which controlled the vernier propulsion system to touchdown.

No instrumentation was carried on this mission specifically for scientific experiments, but considerable scientific information was obtained. Surveyor 1 carried two television cameras - one mounted on the bottom of the frame for approach photography, which was not used, and the survey television camera. Over 100 engineering sensors were on board. Surveyor 1 had a mass of 995.2 kg at launch, and 294.3 kg at landing.

Surveyor 1 was launched on an Atlas/Centaur from Complex 36-A of the Eastern Test Range directly into a Lunar impact trajectory. After a midcourse correction at 06:45 UT on 31 May, the spacecraft reached the Moon about 63 hours after launch. At an altitude of 75.3 km and a velocity of 2612 m/s, the main retrorocket, signaled by the altitude marking radar, ignited for a 40 second burn, and was jettisoned at an altitude of roughly 11 km, having slowed the spacecraft to 110 m/s. Descent continued with the vernier engines under control of the altimeter and doppler radars. The engines were turned off at a height of 3.4 m above the Lunar surface, and the spacecraft fell freely from this height. Surveyor 1 landed on the Lunar surface on 2 June 1966 at 6:17:36 UT (1:17:36 am EST) at about 3 m/s. The landing, so precise that the three footpads touched the surface within 19 milliseconds of each other, confirmed that the Lunar surface could support the Apollo Lunar Module. The landing site was at 2.45 S, 316.79 E (selenographic), on a flat area inside a 100 km crater north of Flamsteed Crater in southwest Oceanus Procellarum.

Surveyor 1's first hour on the Moon was spent performing engineering tests. Photography sessions were then initiated throughout the remainder of the Lunar day. The television system transmitted pictures of the spacecraft footpad and surrounding Lunar terrain and surface materials. 10,338 photos were returned prior to nightfall on 14 June. The spacecraft also acquired data on the radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of the Lunar surface temperatures. Surveyor 1 was able to withstand the first Lunar night, and near high noon on its second Lunar day, on 7 July, photos again were returned. On 13 July at 7:30 UT (2:30 am EST), after a total of 11,240 pictures had been transmitted, Surveyor 1's mission was terminated due to a dramatic drop in battery voltage just after sunset. Engineering interrogations continued until 7 January 1967.

All mission objectives were accomplished.

1969 02:54:42 GMT
USSR launched Luna 15 to the Moon.

Luna 15, launched 13 July 1969, was initially placed in an intermediate Earth orbit after launch, then sent to the Moon. It was an unmanned soil return mission launched coincident with the Apollo 11 mission in a last ditch attempt to return Lunar soil to Earth before the United States. Officially, its objectives were testing of the on-board systems of the automatic station, and further scientific investigation of the Moon and circumlunar space. The spacecraft was capable of studying circumlunar space, the Lunar gravitational field, and the chemical composition of Lunar rocks. It was also capable of providing Lunar surface photography. After completing 86 communications sessions and 52 orbits of the Moon at various inclinations and altitudes, the spacecraft impacted the Lunar surface on 21 July 1969 in an attempted landing: The altitude data used in programming was inaccurate, or the guidance system was unable to cope with the effect of Lunar mascons (mass concentrations).

T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2112 Ulyanov.

The largest Lunar quake to date (2016) was reportedly recorded. (The Apollo seismometers were turned off in 1977, no other instruments are yet in place.)

Died, Patrick M. S. Blackett, British physicist (nuclear reaction, Nobel 1948 "for his development of the Wilson cloud chamber method, and his discoveries therewith in the fields of nuclear physics and cosmic radiation")

1995 09:41:51 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 70 (Discovery 21, 70th Shuttle mission) to carry TDRS-G to orbit, and to perform a variety of on-orbit scientific experiments within the Shuttle.

Its liftoff first targeted for 22 June 1995, STS 70 was launched 13 July 1995 after mission managers opted to exchange the STS 70 and STS 71 launch dates due to Russian space program scheduling delays affecting STS 71. Discovery and her payloads were being readied for liftoff no earlier than 8 June, with Atlantis to follow on STS 71 later in June until after the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend, when Northern Flicker Woodpeckers at Pad 39B poked about 200 holes in the foam insulation of Discovery's external tank. Attempts to repair damage at pad were unsuccessful, and the Shuttle stack returned to the VAB on 8 June with a new launch date set for 13 July. The holes ranged in size from large excavations of about four inches (10 centimeters) to single pecks and claw marks. The countdown on 13 July proceeded smoothly except for a brief 55 second hold at T-31 seconds required when engineers had to verify the signal from the range safety system was being properly received by the destruct device on the external tank. The interval between the landing of STS 71 on July 7 and the launch of STS 70 six days later marked the quickest turnaround to that date between Shuttle missions.

The primary objective of the mission was accomplished when Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-G was deployed from the orbiter payload bay about six hours after liftoff. Approximately one hour after deployment, the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster attached to TDRS-G completed the first of two scheduled burns to place TDRS-G in geosynchronous orbit. Once it completed on-orbit checkout, TDRS-G became an operational spare, completing the existing TDRS network of advanced tracking and communications satellites.

During the remainder of the mission, the five crew members completed a variety of experiments. Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) experiments studied the effects of microgravity on a wide range of physiological processes in plants, insects and small invertebrate animals. BRIC-4 examined how the hormone system and muscle formation of the tobacco hornworm is affected by microgravity; BRIC-5 tested whether cell division changes in daylily are due to microgravity or other causes. Also, the Bioreactor Development System (BDS), composed of devices developed at the Johnson Space Center, used colon cancer cells to test the bioreactor performance in microgravity; the experiment worked extremely well, yielding tissue cultures better than any seen previously.

National Institutes of Health-R-2 featured a suite of experiments examining how microgravity affects different aspects of rodent pre- and post-natal development.

The Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) experiment featured the Protein Crystallization Facility (PCF) on its eighth flight. Five of these flights have yielded space-grown protein crystals of superior X-ray quality. Human insulin crystals grown on the SPACEHAB 1 and 2 missions yielded the most detailed analysis ever made of this protein, which is a key medication used to treat diabetes. The pharmaceutical industry subsequently used the structural information to develop a new and improved time-release insulin formulation. On STS 70, crystals of the alpha interferon protein - used to treat human viral hepatitis B and C - were grown.

Other experiments on STS 70 included: Space Tissue Loss-B (STL-B), studying the effect of microgravity on embryogenesis; and Hand-Held, Earth-Oriented, Cooperative, Real-Time, User-Friendly, Location Targeting and Environmental System (HERCULES), a space-based geolocating system that features a video camera and an electronic still camera to document locations on Earth and tag every frame with latitude and longitude to within three nautical miles. The crew had difficulty aligning the HERCULES camera at first, but eventually obtained 95% of the planned photographic targets.

Microencapsulation in Space-B (MIS-B), making its second flight aboard the Shuttle, was designed to produce a better microencapsulated antibiotic, which has proven extremely effective in treating wound infections, as it releases the antibiotic at a precise and predictable rate to cure infection. The first flight of MIS-B yielded purer microcapsules than could be obtained on Earth, but only a small quantity was produced. Researchers hoped the second flight would yield a greater quantity of antibiotic.

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) required no onboard hardware; the military MSX satellite used the Shuttle during its mission as a tracking and calibration target. Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST) required the crew to photograph ship tracks as part of an effort to determine how pollutants generated by ships modify the reflective properties of clouds. Radiation Monitoring Equipment-III (RME-III) was a prototype dosimeter instrument which had been flying on the Shuttle since STS 31, and measured exposure to ionizing radiation on the Shuttle; data from RME-III was archived and used to update and refine models of the space radiation environment in low Earth orbit.

The objective of the Window Experiment (WINDEX), another military experiment, was to gain an understanding of the chemistry and dynamics of low Earth orbit by collecting a variety of data about such phenomena as Shuttle thruster plumes, water dumps and atmospheric nightglow.

Visual Function Tester-4 (VFT-4) was designed to gain a better understanding of whether astronauts' vision is affected by microgravity. The VFT-4 instrument measures eyesight at near- and close range to test theories on what happens to the human eye in space. Astronauts since the Gemini days in the early 1960s had noticed that it seemed to take longer to adjust and focus on near objects in space, and the STS 70 crew confirmed this observation.

The crew also spoke with ground radio operators as part of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), counting around 50 contacts a day for several days of flight.

No significant problems were experienced with the orbiter. STS 70 marked the first flight of the new Block I main engine featuring a new high pressure liquid oxidizer turbopump built by Pratt & Whitney. Engine 2036 flew in the number one position; the other two main engines were of the existing Phase II design.

STS 70 ended 22 July 1995 when Discovery landed on revolution 143 on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,465 feet (2,580 meters). Rollout time: 57 seconds. Orbit altitude: 160 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: Eight days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, five seconds. Miles traveled: 3.7 million. The first landing opportunities at KSC on 21 July were waved off due to fog and low visibility, as was the first opportunity on 22 July. STS 70 was Discovery's final flight prior to being shipped to California for periodic refurbishment and modification. OV-103 departed KSC for the Rockwell facility in Palmdale on 27 September, for return to KSC in July 1996.

Post-landing inspections of the STS 70 boosters showed a gas path in the right solid rocket motor nozzle internal joint number 3, extending from the motor chamber to, but not past, the primary O-ring. The STS 70 gas path was similar to what was seen in the same joint post-flight of the previous mission, STS-71. Gas paths or small air pockets are the result of nozzle fabrication involving backfilling of the joint with insulation material. Similar paths had been expected and observed following previous flights, but missions STS 71 and STS 70 marked first time a slight heat effect was noted on the primary O-ring.

The flight crew for STS 70 was: Terence T. Henricks, Commander; Kevin R. Kregel, Pilot; Nancy Jane Currie, Mission Specialist; Donald A. Thomas, Mission Specialist; Mary Ellen Weber, Mission Specialist.

2001 21:08:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 104 (Atlantis 24) docked at the ISS during International Space Station Flight 7A.

STS 104 was launched 12 July 2001. Main engine cutoff and external tank separation was at 0913 GMT. Atlantis was then in an orbit of 59 x 235 km x 51.6 deg. The OMS-2 burn at 0942 GMT increased velocity by 29 m/s, and raised the orbit to 157 x 235 km x 51.6 deg, and another burn at 1240 GMT raised it further to 232 x 305 km. Atlantis docked with the International Space Station at 0308 GMT on 14 July 2001.

Top priority for the mission was installation on the International Space Station of the Quest Airlock, to give station crewmembers the capability of conducting spacewalks from the orbiting laboratory using either Russian or US spacesuits. It consisted of an Equipment Lock for storage, and the Crew Lock, based on the Shuttle airlock. The Equipment Lock was berthed to the Unity module at one of the large-diameter CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism) hatches, and its "survival heaters" were activated. STS-104 then installed the six ton Airlock, consisting of two cylinders four meters diameter with a total length six meters, onto the Unity module. In a series of spacewalks, the astronauts moved the oxygen and nitrogen tanks onto the airlock exterior. The Airlock could be pressurized by the externally mounted high pressure oxygen-nitrogen tanks, and was to be the sole unit through which all future EVAs were to take place. Prior to its installation, all EVA entries and exits had been through a Russian module in ISS, with non-Russians having to wear Russian space suits.

Another payload was the "EarthKAM" of middle/high school interest. It was to allow pupils to command picture taking of chosen spots on Earth; they were expected to target 2,000 spots. The shuttle also carried out pulsed exhaust tests during maneuvers to enable better understanding of the formation of HF echoes from the shuttle exhaust. The echoes were obtained by ground based radars in an experiment called SIMPLEX (Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local EXhaust).

Mission Specialists Michael Gernhardt and James Reilly conducted three space walks while Atlantis was docked to the International Space Station, spending a total of 16 hours, 30 minutes outside. During the first space walk, Gernhardt and Reilly assisted in the installation of the airlock. During the second and third excursions, they focused on the external outfitting of the Quest Airlock with four High Pressure Gas Tanks, handrails and other vital equipment.

The STS 104 payload consisted of:
 * Bay 1-2: Orbiter Docking System/External Airlock, including 3 EMU spacesuits
 * Bay 4-5: Spacelab Pallet (Fwd) with O2-1/O2-2 oxygen tanks
 * Bay 6-7: Spacelab Pallet (Aft) with N2-1/N2-2 nitrogen tanks
 * Bay 8-12: Station Joint Airlock Adapter beam with IMAX Cargo Bay Camera
 * Sill: RMS arm

Orbit altitude: 240 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. STS 104 ended when Atlantis landed on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 24 July 2001. The landing was the 55th shuttle landing, and the 13th night landing, at KSC. Florida weather cooperated beautifully, with none of the rain showers that caused waveoff of two landing opportunities a day earlier.

The flight crew for STS 104 was: Steven W. Lindsey, Commander; Charles O. Hobaugh, Pilot; Michael L. Gernhardt, Mission Specialist 1; Janet L. Kavandi, Mission Specialist 2; James F. Reilly, Mission Specialist 3.

NASA's "return to flight" launch of Discovery (STS 114) was called off a few hours before its scheduled 3:51 pm EDT liftoff when an external fuel tank low-fuel engine cutoff sensor failed during routine pre-launch testing.

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