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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 16

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Born, Giuseppe Piazzi, Italian monk, mathematician, astronomer (discovered Ceres in 1801, the first known, and largest, asteroid)

Born, Julius Plucker, German mathematician and physicist (analytical geometry, cathode rays)

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #371 Bohemia.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #437 Rhodia.

J. Helffrich discovered asteroid #702 Alauda.

Born, George E. Mueller, German-American manager, former NASA deputy administrator

Dr. Kurt Wahmke and two technicians were testing a 90% H2O2/Alcohol combination at Kummersdorf, Germany, when the chamber exploded, killing them, the first and only deaths of technicians in the history of German rocket development.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1334 Lundmarka.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1395 Aribeda and #1402 Eri.

The United States research team working in the "Manhattan Project" successfully detonated a plutonium based test nuclear weapon at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DoD) photo, an early stage in the 1945 TRINITY nuclear explosion's fireball, from

1959 16:37:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer S-1 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which went out of control after 5.5 seconds and was destroyed by range safety.

1962 22:09:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched the X-15A Notch/ASAS/Aero drag test mission # 61 in which Joe Walker attained a maximum speed of 5913 kph (Mach 5.57) and reached a maximum altitude of 32.675 km.

Five men began a what was planned as a thirty day engineering test of life support systems for a manned space station in The Boeing Company space chamber. The test was halted after only five days, however, because of a faulty reactor tank.

At Seattle, Washington, five men began a what was planned as a thirty day engineering test of life support systems for a manned space station in The Boeing Company space chamber on 16 July 1963. The system, designed and built for NASA's Office of Advanced Research and Technology, was the nation's first to include all life-support equipment for a multiman, long duration space mission, including environmental control, waste disposal, and crew hygiene and food techniques. In addition to the life support equipment, a number of crew tests simulated specific space flight problems. Five days after the test was started, however, the simulated mission was halted because of a faulty reactor tank.

1965 11:17:00 GMT
The first launch of the USSR Proton launch vehicle carried the Proton 1 astronomy satellite to orbit, which initially only transmitted telemetry but later functioned normally and provided physics data on ultra-high-energy cosmic particles for 45 days.

1968 22:23:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched the X-15A WTR/HS/SB/FAB/FP Test/Technology/Aeronomy mission # 196 in which Pete Knight reached a maximum speed of 5443 kph (Mach 4.79) and a maximum altitude of 67.513 km.

1969 13:32:00 GMT
NASA launched Apollo 11 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, crewed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the flight in which the first humans (Armstrong and Aldrin) landed on the Moon.

Apollo 11 (AS-506) was the first mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth: On 20 July 1969, two astronauts (Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong and "Eagle" Lunar Module (LM) pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.) landed in Mare Tranquilitatis (the Sea of Tranquility) on the Moon in the LM while the "Columbia" Command and Service Module (CSM), with CM pilot Michael Collins, continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 21 July and the astronauts returned to Earth on 24 July.

Apollo 11, the fifth manned Apollo mission, was launched into Earth orbit on 16 July 1969 from pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on a Saturn V. After 1.5 Earth orbits, the S-IVB stage was re-ignited at 16:16:16 UT for the 5 minute 48 second translunar injection burn, putting the spacecraft on course for the Moon. The CSM separated from the S-IVB stage containing the LM 33 minutes later, turned around and docked with the LM at 16:56:03 UT. About an hour and 15 minutes later, the S-IVB stage was injected into heliocentric orbit. On 17 July, a three second mid-course correction burn of the main engine was performed. During the translunar coast, at 4:40 pm EDT on 18 July, the crew began a 96 minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the Earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. Lunar orbit insertion was achieved on 19 July at 17:21:50 UT by a retrograde firing of the main engine for 357.5 seconds while the spacecraft was behind the Moon and out of contact with Earth, and a 17 second burn later circularized the orbit. During the second Lunar orbit, a live color telecast of the Lunar surface was made. At 13:50 UT on 20 July, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the LM for the final systems checkout. At 18:11:53, the LM and CSM separated, and after a visual inspection by Collins, the LM descent engine was fired for 30 seconds at 19:08 UT, putting the craft into a descent orbit with a closest approach 14.5 km above the Moon's surface. At 20:05, the LM descent engine was fired for 756.3 seconds, and the final descent to the Lunar surface began.

The first Apollo landing site, in the southern Sea of Tranquility about 20 km (12 mi) southwest of the crater Sabine D, was selected in part because it had been characterized as relatively flat and smooth by the automated Ranger 8 and Surveyor 5 landers, as well as by Lunar Orbiter mapping spacecraft, and therefore unlikely to present major landing or extra-vehicular activity (EVA) challenges.

Armstrong and Aldrin found they were "running long" - Eagle was 4 seconds further along its descent trajectory than planned, and would land miles west of the intended site. The LM navigation and guidance computer reported several "program alarms" as it guided the LM's descent which tore the crew's attention from the scene outside as the descent proceeded. A young controller named Steve Bales at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, was able to tell the flight director it was safe to continue the descent in spite of the alarms (for which he later received the Medal of Freedom). Once they were able to return their attention to the view outside, the astronauts saw that their computer was guiding them toward a landing site full of large rocks scattered around a large crater. Armstrong took manual control of the Lunar module, and guided it to a landing with less than 30 seconds worth of fuel left. The program alarms were "executive overflows" indicating the computer could not finish its work in the time allotted. The cause was later determined to be the LM rendezvous radar was left on during the descent, causing the computer to spend unplanned time servicing the unused radar.

The LM landed at 20:17:40 UT (4:17:40 pm EDT) in Mare Tranquilitatis (the Sea of Tranquility), with Armstrong reporting, "Houston, Tranquility Base here - the Eagle has landed." Armstrong stepped onto the Lunar surface at 02:56:15 UT on 21 July (10:56:15 pm July 20 EDT) stating, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Aldrin followed him onto the Lunar surface 19 minutes later. The astronauts unveiled a plaque mounted on a strut of the LM and read to a worldwide TV audience, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." After raising the American flag and talking to President Nixon by radiotelephone, the astronauts deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package (EASEP) and other instruments, took photographs, and collected 21.7 kg of Lunar rock and soil, traversing a total distance of about 250 meters. Despite some technical and weather difficulties, ghostly black and white images of the entire first Lunar EVA were received, primarily through the radio telescope station at the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and were immediately broadcast live to at least 600 million people on Earth. The EVA ended at 5:11:13 UT when Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the LM and closed the hatch.

The LM lifted off from the Moon at 17:54:01 UT on 21 July after 21 hours, 36 minutes on the Lunar surface. After docking with the CSM at 21:34:00 UT, the crew, with the Lunar samples and film, transferred to the CSM. The LM was jettisoned into Lunar orbit at 00:01:01 UT on 22 July. The crew then rested and prepared for the return trip to Earth. Transearth injection began at 04:54:42 UT on 22 July with a 2.5 minute firing of the CSM main engine. Following a midcourse correction at 21:01 UT, an 18 minute color television transmission was made, in which the astronauts demonstrated the weightlessness of food and water, and showed shots of the Earth and Moon. The CM separated from the SM at 16:21:13 UT on 24 July as the spacecraft neared Earth on its return. Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969 at 16:50:35 UT (12:50:35 pm EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 195 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. Splashdown took place at 13 deg 19 min N, 169 deg 9 min W, 400 miles SSW of Wake Island and 24 km (15 mi) from the recovery ship USS Hornet. Following decontamination procedures at the splashdown point, the astronauts were carried by helicopter to the Hornet where they entered a mobile quarantine facility to begin a period of observation under strict quarantine conditions. The CM was also recovered and removed to the quarantine facility. Sample containers and film were flown to Houston.

All primary mission objectives and all detailed test objectives of Apollo 11 were met, and all crew members remained in good health. The performance of the spacecraft was excellent throughout the mission. The primary mission goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and returning them to Earth was achieved. Armstrong was a civilian on his second spaceflight (he'd previously flown on Gemini 8), Aldrin was a USAF Colonel on his second spaceflight (Gemini 12), Collins was a USAF Lt. Colonel also on his second flight (Gemini 10). The backup crew for the mission was Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and William Anders. The Apollo 11 Command Module is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two Lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a Lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of the six landing missions walked on the Moon (Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt), the only humans to date (2015) to have set foot on another planetary body beyond Earth.

Apollo 11 after pitchover, NASA photo. Note the condensation cloud formed in air expanding aft of the second-stage/third-stage transition.

1971 01:41:00 GMT
USSR launched the Meteor 1-9 weather satellite from Plesetsk to acquire meteorological information needed for use by the weather service.

1973 17:10:00 GMT
NASA launched the ITOS E weather satellite from Vandenburg, California, an improved TIROS Operational System, but the satellite failed to achieve orbit because of a second stage failure.

ITOS-E was one in a series of improved TIROS-M type satellites launched with new meteorological sensors on board to expand the operational capability of the ITOS system. The primary objectives of the ITOS-E meteorologcial satellite were to provide global daytime and nighttime direct readout cloudcover data on a daily basis. The sun-synchronous spacecraft was also capable of supplying global atmospheric temperature soundings and very high resolution infrared cloudcover data for selected areas in either a direct readout or a tape recorder mode. A secondary objective was to obtain global solar proton flux data on a routine daily basis. The primary sensors consisted of a very high resolution radiometer (VHRR), a vertical temperature profile radiometer (VTPR), and a scanning radiometer (SR). The VHRR, VTPR, and SR were mounted on the satellite baseplate with their optical axes directed vertically Earthward. The nearly cubical spacecraft measured 1 by 1 by 1.2 m, and was equipped with three curved solar panels that were folded during launch, to be deployed after orbit was achieved. Each panel measured over 4.2 m in length when unfolded, and was covered with 3420 solar cells measuring 2 by 2 cm. The ITOS dynamics and attitude control system were to have maintained desired spacecraft orientation through gyroscopic principles incorporated into the satellite design. Earth orientation was to be maintained by taking advantage of the precession induced from a momentum flywheel so the satellite body precession rate of one revolution per orbit would provide the desired 'Earth-looking' attitude. Minor adjustments in attitude and orientation were to have been made by means of magnetic coils and by varying the speed of the momentum flywheel. The spacecraft was launched on 16 July 1973, but failed to achieve orbit because of a second stage booster failure.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2964.

1974 11:51:01 GMT
Germany's Aeros 2 spacecraft was launched into orbit from Vandenburg, California, for upper atmospheric research.

1982 17:59:00 GMT
NASA launched Landsat 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, designed as a major step forward in global remote sensing applications.

Landsat 4, launched 16 July 1982, was an experimental Earth resources monitoring system with the new powerful remote-sensing capabilities of the thematic mapper (TM), and provided a transition for both foreign and domestic users from the multispectral scanner (MSS) data to the higher resolution and data rate of the TM. It had a complete highly automated end-to-end data system, designed to be a new generation system, and a major step forward in global remote sensing applications. The Landsat 4 mission consisted of an orbiting satellite, the flight segment, with the necessary wideband data links and support systems, and a ground segment. The Landsat 4 flight segment consisted of two major systems: (1) the instrument module, containing the instruments together with the mission unique subsystems, such as the solar array and drive, the TDRS antenna, the wide-band module (WBM), and the global positioning system (GPS); and (2) the multimission modular spacecraft (MMS) that contained the modularized and standardized power, propulsion, attitude control, and communications and data handling subsystems. The satellite was designed with a nominal life of 3 years in orbit, and could be extended through in-orbit replacement capability when the Space Shuttle became operational. The spacecraft was placed in an orbit with a descending node equatorial crossing between 9:30 and 10:00 am local time. The spacecraft and attendant sensors were operated through the GSTDN stations before the Tracking And Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) was available. An identical back-up spacecraft, Landsat-D Prime (NSSDC ID Landsat-E) was placed in storage, and launched on 1 March 1984. On 1 October 1982, NOAA assumed responsibility for Landsat data production and archiving activities at the Department of Interior's EROS Data Center. On 31 January 1983, NOAA also took over the MSS operation and maintenance of the Landsat spacecraft and ground system resources from NASA. The RBV operation was under NOAA as of 1 October 1984.

1986 12:34:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz T-15 landed 55 km northeast of Arkalyk, returning from the Mir space station (Mir EO-1 mission).

1987 04:25:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1869 oceanographic radarsat from Plesetsk for acquisition of operational oceanographic information in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR, and international cooperation.

1990 00:40:00 GMT
The first launch of the new Chang Zheng 2E Chinese launch vehicle carried the experimental Pakistani Badr-A comsat and an HS-601 model to orbit from Xichang.

The first fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter; the bombardment continued through July 22.

1996 00:50:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched Navstar 2A-17 (USA 126), a GPS Block 2A satellite, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which was placed in Plane E Slot 3 of the Global Positioning System constellation.

1999 16:37:00 GMT
Russia launched the Progress M-42 logistics spacecraft from Baikonur to the Mir space station.

Progress M-42, launched 16 July 1999, delivered supplies to the crew of the Mir complex. It docked with the Kvant port at 17:53 GMT on 18 July, and remained docked to the station after the departure of the last operational crew in September 1999. Progress M-42 undocked from Mir on on 2 February 2000, to clear the port for Progress M1, at 0311:52 GMT, and was deorbited over the Pacific later the same day at 0610:40 UTC with an 8 minute burn.

2000 09:17:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched Navstar 48 (USA 151), a GPS Block 2R satellite, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which was placed in the Global Positioning System constellation in Plane B Slot 5.

2000 12:39:00 GMT
A Soyuz 11A511U booster launched from Baikonur carried ESA's Samba and Salsa magnetospheric research satellites to orbit.

The first two European Space Agency (ESA) Cluster II satellites, Samba (FM7) and Salsa (FM6) were launched 16 July 2000 into an initial 200 km, 64.8 deg circular orbit. The Fregat upper stage then burned once before ejecting the satellites into a 250 x 18072 km x 64.7 deg transfer orbit. Both satellites then used their Astrium (former MBB) S400 liquid engines in a series of four additional burns before reaching their final 16869 x 121098 km x 90.6 deg orbits. Each magnetosphere research satellite then deployed four 50-meter wire antennas to collect experimental data.

See also

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