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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 21

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Born, Jean-Felix Picard, French astronomer (first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy)

Sinope, Jupiter's ninth known moon, was discovered by Seth Barnes Nicholson at Lick Observatory.

H. E. Wood discovered asteroid #1096 Reunerta.

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1358 Gaika.

1961 12:20:36 GMT
With the launch of Mercury Redstone 4 "Liberty Bell 7", Gus Grissom became the second American in space. Although the capsule sank during the recovery effort, the suborbital flight was considered successful.

Mercury Redstone 4 (MR-4, commonly known as "Liberty Bell 7"), launched 21 July 1961, was the second flight of an American rocket with a human on board (Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom) and NASA's last suborbital manned flight. Its objectives were to: (1) familiarize man with a brief but complete space flight experience, including the lift-off, powered flight, weightless flight (approximately 5 minutes), re-entry, and landing; (2) evaluate man's ability to perform as a functional unit during space flight by demonstrating manual control of spacecraft attitude before, during, and after retrofire, and by use of voice communications during flight; (3) study man's physiological reactions during space flight; and, (4) qualify the explosively-actuated side egress hatch.

From lift-off to re-entry, operational sequences were similar to those of the first manned suborbital flight, and Grissom's flight experience was similar to Shepard's in that there was a five minute period of weightlessness. As with Shepard, no ill effects resulting from this condition were reported. Control tests of spacecraft attitude in manual mode were also successfully completed and demonstrated their ease of use. The main configuration differences from the MR-3 spacecraft was the addition of a large viewing window and an explosively actuated side hatch.

During the 15 minute, 37 second flight, the spacecraft attained a maximum velocity of 8,270 km/hour (5140 mph) and an altitude of 189 km (117 miles). The capsule landed 483 km (300 miles) down range from Cape Canaveral.

After splash-down, the explosive hatch activated prematurely while Grissom was waiting for helicopter pickup. Grissom immediately exited the capsule, and remained in the water while a helicopter attempted to lift the rapidly sinking spacecraft, though his suit was filling up with water through open oxygen inlet lines. The attempt to raise the spacecraft failed, Liberty Bell 7 thus became the first spacecraft to sink at sea. Grissom was lifted to another helicopter after spending 3-4 minutes in the water, and transported to the aircraft carrier USS Randolph.

Despite the functional failure of the explosive hatch and the loss of the spacecraft, MR-4 was deemed a successful mission. Subsequent investigation into the premature firing of the egress hatch resulted in more testing, but no premature firings occurred. A mechanical hatch was designed to replace the explosive hatch, but was never implemented due to weight constraints. The incident did result in a change of procedures which required the firing safety pin to remain in place until after the helicopter hook was attached and tension applied to the recovery cable.

Liberty Bell 7 came to rest some 4.8 km below the surface, 830 km northwest of Grand Turk Island. It was finally raised from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1999 after a number of expeditions. Two explorations of the area, in 1992 and 1993, were unsuccessful in locating the capsule. The next effort succeeded in locating the capsule on 2 May 1999, but the cable which linked the surface ship to the submersible (which would have towed the capsule to the surface) broke, resulting in the loss of the submersible, and temporarily dashing the hopes of those who intended to retrieve a piece of history. A final expedition, to recover both the submersible and the capsule, succeeded on 20 July 1999 in raising the capsule to the surface. Still attached to the capsule was the recovery line from the helicopter which tried to save it from sinking in 1961. Among the artifacts found inside were some of Grissom's gear, and some Mercury dimes which had been taken into space as souvenirs.

Mercury Redstone 4 after splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, NASA photo

NASA announced plans to build an advanced Saturn launch complex, Launch Complex 39, on 80,000 acres northwest of Cape Canaveral, Florida, including a building large enough for vertical assembly of a complete Saturn launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft.

1966 20:02:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A-2 Alt,ST,Abl TPS Test mission # 162 in which Pete Knight reached a maximum speed of 5742 kph (Mach 5.12) and achieved a maximum altitude of 58.613 km.

1966 21:07:05 GMT
NASA's Gemini 10 capsule splashed down in the western Atlantic Ocean 875 km east of Cape Kennedy, successfully returning astronauts Young and Collins to Earth.

Gemini 10 was the eighth manned Gemini Earth orbiting spacecraft, crewed by astronauts John Young and Michael Collins. Its primary purpose was to conduct rendezvous and docking tests with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle-10 (GATV-10). The mission plan also included a rendezvous with the Gemini 8 Agena target, two extravehicular activity (EVA) excursions, and performing 15 scientific, technological, and medical experiments. The scientific experiments were related to (1) zodiacal light, synoptic terrain, and synoptic weather photography, (2) micrometeorite collections, (3) UV astronomical camera, (4) ion wake measurements, and (5) meteoroid erosion.

Gemini 10 was launched 18 July 1966 from Complex 19 and inserted into a 159.9 x 268.9 km (86 x 145 nautical mile) elliptical orbit. At orbit insertion, Gemini 10 was very close to the nominal 1600 km (1000 mile) slant range behind GATV-10, which had been launched into a nearly circular orbit about 100 minutes earlier. Rendezvous with GATV-10 was achieved on the 4th revolution at 10:43 pm EST, and docking was achieved at 11:13:03 pm EST. A large out-of-plane error in the initial orbit required the Gemini to use 60% of its fuel for the rendezvous, over twice the planned amount. As a result, most of the mission plan was revised. To conserve fuel, Gemini 10 remained docked to GATV-10 for the next 39 hours, and used the GATV propulsion system for maneuvers; the planned docking practice runs were cancelled.

A 14-second burn of the GATV-10 primary propulsion system was used to raise the dual spacecraft apogee to 764 km. While the spacecraft were docked, a bending mode test was conducted to study spacecraft dynamics, and other experiments were performed. Another burn of GATV-10 at 3:58 pm EST on 19 July brought the spacecraft into the same orbit as GATV-8, which had been launched on 16 March for the Gemini 8 mission. At 4:44 pm EST, the Gemini cabin pressure was reduced to zero, and the hatch was opened. Collins stood up in his seat 3 minutes later and began photographing stellar UV radiation. Partway into the standup EVA, Young and Collins began to experience severe eye irritation from an unidentified source, and Young ordered termination of the EVA. Collins sat down and the hatch was closed at 5:33 pm EST, and a high oxygen flow rate was used to purge the environmental control system.

Gemini 10 separated from GATV-10 at 2:00 pm EST on 20 July. A series of manuevers using its own thrusters brought Gemini 10 within about 15 meters of GATV-8. At 6:01 pm EST (48:41 ground elapsed time), the cabin was evacuated and the hatch opened for Collins to begin his second EVA. Collins left the spacecraft 6 minutes later, attached to an umbilical cord, and travelled to the GATV-8. Despite difficulties due to lack of handholds on the target vehicle (Collins lost his grip the first time, and tumbled head over heels at end of the umbilical around Gemini), Collins removed the fairing and retrieved the micrometeoroid detection equipment (on the second try). During the EVA, he also lost his camera, and retrieved the micrometeorite experiment mounted on the Gemini 10 spacecraft, but the latter apparently floated out of the hatch and was lost when Collins reentered the capsule. The EVA was limited to 25 minutes of outside activity due to lack of fuel. Collins reentered the capsule at 6:32 pm EST and the hatch was closed at 6:40. The hatch was reopened again at 7:53 pm EST to jettison 12 items before reentry. After about three hours of station keeping, Gemini 10 moved away from GATV-8. At 8:59 pm EST, the crew performed an anomaly adjust maneuver to minimize reentry dispersions resulting from the retrofire maneuver.

Retrorocket ignition took place during the 43rd revolution on 21 July at 3:30:50 pm EST, and splashdown occurred at 4:07:05 pm EST in the western Atlantic at 26.74 N, 71.95 W, 875 km east of Cape Kennedy and 6.3 km from the target point. The crew was picked up by helicopter and taken to the recovery ship USS Guadalcanal at 4:34 pm EST, and the spacecraft was aboard at 5:01 pm. Total mission elapsed time was 70:46:39. Of the primary objectives, only the docking practice was not accomplished due to lack of fuel, although the fuel budget also resulted in small revisions in some of the other objectives. The first rendezvous and docking maneuvers were successfully accomplished. All experiments obtained data except for the Gemini 10 micrometeorite collector, which was lost by floating out of the spacecraft. The landmark contrast measurement experiment was deleted due to lack of fuel. Gemini 10 demonstrated the ability of an astronaut to travel to another spacecraft and back, and the use of powered, fueled satellite to provide propulsion for a docked spacecraft.

Died (according to legend), Profiri Yebenov, phantom cosmonaut, reportedly assisted the Apollo 11 astronauts in repair of the Lunar Module Eagle on the Lunar surface

A Moscow urban legend claims the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon on 21 July 1969 because of an engine malfunction. A naked Russian cosmonaut, Pofiri Yebenov, stranded on the Moon some time before, assisted them in repairing the Lunar Module so they could return safely to Earth. Cosmonaut Gregori Grechko went so far as to ask US moonwalker Buzz Aldrin if there was any truth to the story. An astounded Aldrin confirmed they had not encountered any human beings or other life on the Lunar surface. (Some say perhaps Aldrin would have "gotten the joke" had he known that Yebenov means 'f--ked' in Russian.)

1969 02:56:15 GMT
NASA Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module landing pad onto the Lunar surface, stating "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"; Armstrong and Aldrin then spent over 2 hours exploring the Lunar surface.

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.

Neil Armstrong taking humanity's first step onto another planetary body, the Moon
NASA photo ID S69-42583, picture taken by the Apollo Lunar surface camera

1969 15:51:00 GMT
USSR's Luna 15, intended to return samples from the Lunar surface to Earth, crashed on the Moon after 52 orbits.

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).

1973 19:30:59 GMT
USSR launched the Mars 4 spacecraft, intended to be a Mars orbiter mission, but which did not enter Martian orbit as planned when the retro-rockets failed to fire to slow the craft into orbit.

Mars 4, 5, 6, and 7 comprised an associated group of Soviet spacecraft launched towards Mars in July and August of 1973. Mars 4, launched 21 July 1973, was intended to be a Mars orbiter mission. It was presumably very similar in design and intended mission to the Mars 5 orbiter that was launched 4 days later. The orbiter had a fully fueled launch mass of 3440 kg. It was put into Earth orbit by a Proton SL-12/D-1-e booster and launched from its orbital platform roughly an hour and a half later on a Mars trajectory. A mid-course correction burn was made on 30 July 1973, and it reached Mars on 10 February 1974. Due to use of helium in preflight tests of the computer chips, which resulted in degradation of the chips during the voyage to Mars, the retro-rockets never fired to slow the craft into Mars orbit, and Mars 4 flew by the planet at a range of 2200 km. It returned one swath of pictures and some radio occultation data which constituted the first detection of the nightside ionosphere on Mars. It continued to return interplanetary data from solar orbit after the flyby. Its final heliocentric orbit is 1.02 x 1.63 AU, 2.2 degree inclination, with a 556 day period.

Mars 4 was equipped with a television imaging system comprised of two cameras. One, called Vega, was f/2.8 with a focal length of 52 mm, a 23 x 22.5 mm frame, and a 35.7 degree look angle. The other camera, Zufar, was f/4.5 with a 350 mm focal length, 23 x 22.5 mm frame, and a 5.67 degree look angle. The images were taken through red filters and could be facsimile scanned at 1000 x 1000 or 2000 x 2000 pixels and transmitted to Earth. The cameras provided pictures with resolutions of 100 m to 1 km. In addition, there was a single-line scanning device with a 30 degree field of view to provide panoramic images in the visible and near-infrared.

The spacecraft was also equipped with a Lyman-Alpha photometer to search for hydrogen in the upper atmosphere, a magnetometer, plasma ion traps and a narrow angle electrostatic plasma sensor to study the solar wind, an infrared radiometer (8-40 microns) to measure surface temperature, a radio telescope polarimeter (3.5 cm) to probe the subsurface dielectric constant, two polarimeters (0.32-0.70 microns) to characterize surface texture, and a spectrometer (0.3 - 0.8 microns) to study emissions in the upper atmosphere.

There were four photometers on board: one for 2 carbon dioxide bands to obtain altitude profiles, one at 0.35 - 0.7 microns for albedo and color studies, one in the water vapor band (1.38 microns) to study water in the atmosphere, and a UV photometer (0.26 and 0.28 microns) to measure ozone. The probe was equipped with a radio-occultation experiment to profile atmospheric density and a dual-frequency radio occultation experiment to profile ionospheric density. The spacecraft also carried French experiments, one called Zhemo to study the distribution and intensity of fluxes of solar protons and electrons, and one known as Stereo-2 to study solar radio emissions.

USSR Mars 4 orbiter, NASA image

1975 10:50:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 19 (Soyuz-ASTP), the Soviet half of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, landed in Kazakhstan, 87 km northeast of Arkalyk, 9.6 km from its aim point, after the unprecedented international docking of their spacecraft on 17 July.

On 15 Juy 1975, the US and the USSR launched an Apollo spacecraft (Apollo-ASTP) and a Soyuz spacecraft (Soyuz 19), respectively, as a joint effort called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), a post-Moon-race 'goodwill' flight to test a common docking system for space rescue. Soyuz 19, with its two man crew, had a flawless launch, and achieved an initial orbital of 220.8 by 185.07 km at the desired inclination of 51.80 degrees, with the period of the first orbit being 88.6 minutes. The Apollo was launched 7.5 hours later, with a three man crew who maneuvered their spacecraft into a proper configuration for docking with the Soyuz. The docking occurred on the third flight day, 17 July 1975. After docking, crew transfers took place, with the Apollo crew first visiting the Soyuz. Leonov was on the American side for 5 hours, 43 minutes, while Kubasov spent 4:57 in the command and docking modules. The combined Apollo-Soyuz crews conducted various mainly ceremonial activities, performed joint experiments, and presented radio and TV reports. After the joint experiments were completed, the spacecraft disengaged, and each continued its separate mission.

After being docked for nearly 44 hours, Apollo and Soyuz parted for the first time and were station-keeping at a range of 50 meters. The Apollo crew placed its craft between Soyuz and the Sun so that the diameter of the service module formed a disk which blocked out the Sun, creating an artificial solar eclipse so the Soyuz crew could take photographs of the solar corona. After this experiment Soyuz moved toward Apollo as the active ship for the second docking.

Three hours later Apollo and Soyuz undocked for the second and final time. The spacecraft were moved to a 40 meter station-keeping distance to perform an ultraviolet absorption experiment. With all the joint flight activities completed, the ships then went on their separate ways. Soyuz 19 landed safely in Kazakhstan on 21 July 1975.

See also

N. Chernykh discovered asteroids #2585 Irpedina and #3298.

1982 09:50:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-55 from Baikonur for operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio communications system in the USSR, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to stations in the Orbita network.

In Jackson, Michigan, a factory robot crushed a worker against a safety bar in the first documented case of a robot killing a human in the United States.

1988 23:12:00 GMT
An Ariane 3 launched from Kourou carried India's Insat 1C communications satellite and the Eutelsat I F5 communications satellite to space, which were initially positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 93 deg E and 10 deg E, respectively.

Died, Hans Rudolf Palaoro, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Vehicle Systems Engineering Branch, Structures and Mechanics Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

1994 10:55:00 GMT
China launched the Apstar A1 Asia-Pacific communications satellite from Xichang on a Chang Zheng 3 booster, which operated in geosynchronous orbit at 138 deg E.

During the 5h 35m EVA Mir EO-19-3, Mir cosmonauts Solovyov and Budarin installed the Miras spectrometer.

Died, Alan Shepard, Rear Admiral USN, NASA astronaut, the first US astronaut in space (Mercury "Freedom 7"), Apollo 14 spacecraft commander

Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (18 November 1923 - 21 July 1998) (Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.) was the first U.S. astronaut in space.

Shepard was one of the Mercury astronauts named by NASA in April 1959 to Project Mercury, and he holds the distinction of being the first American to journey into space. On 5 May 1961, in the Freedom 7 spacecraft, he was launched by a Redstone rocket on a ballistic trajectory suborbital flight which carried him to an altitude of 116 statute miles and to a landing point 302 statute miles down the Atlantic Missile Range.

Shepard was scheduled to pilot the Mercury-Atlas 10 Freedom 7-II, three day extended duration mission in October 1963. The MA-10 mission was cancelled on 13 June 1963. After the Mercury-Atlas 10 mission was cancelled in June 1963, Shepard was designated as the command pilot of the first manned Gemini mission. Frank Borman was picked as his co-pilot. Gus Grissom and John Young took over the mission when Shepard became ill and was removed from flight status.

Also in 1963, Shepard was designated Chief of the Astronaut Office with responsibility for monitoring the coordination, scheduling, and control of all activities involving NASA astronauts.

In early 1964, Shepard was diagnosed with Meniere's disease, a condition in which fluid pressure builds up in the inner ear. This syndrome causes the semicircular canals and motion detectors to become extremely sensitive. It results in disorientation, dizziness and nausea. This condition caused him to be removed from flight status for most of the 1960's. He was restored to full flight status in May 1969, following corrective surgery (using a newly developed method) for Meniere's disease.

At age 47, and the oldest astronaut in the program, Shepard made his second space flight as spacecraft commander on Apollo 14, 31 January - 9 February 1971. He was accompanied on man's third Lunar landing mission by Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa and Lunar Module pilot Edgar Mitchell. Maneuvering their Lunar module, "Antares," to a landing in the hilly upland Fra Mauro formation on the Moon, Shepard and Mitchell subsequently deployed and activated various scientific equipment and experiments and collected almost 100 pounds (45 kg) of Lunar samples for return to Earth. Shepard was also notable for being the only person to play golf on the Moon (using a converted soil sampler as his club).

2001 04:34:00 GMT
Astronauts Gernhardt and Reilly exited the Quest module for EVA STS-104-3, the first spacewalk starting there. Nitrogen Tank 3 was transferred from the Spacelab pallet to Quest's exterior, the astronauts then climbed the P6 tower for inspections.

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.

2001 23:54:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 104 (Atlantis 24) undocked from the ISS during International Space Station Flight 7A.
see above

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