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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 23

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C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #114 Kassandra.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #405 Thia.

A. Kopff discovered asteroids #666 Desdemona and #667 Denise.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #683 Lanzia.

Died, Glenn Hammond Curtiss, aviation pioneer, airplane builder

VfR demonstrated its 'Kegelduese' liquid oxygen/gasoline rocket motor in a 90 second test for German officials in an attempt to secure financial support. It generated 7 kgf thrust and consumed 6 kg LOX and 1 kg gasoline (specific impulse 90 seconds).

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1246 Chaka.

Died, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazilian aviation pioneer

Alberto Santos-Dumont (20 July 1873 - 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian aviation pioneer. He built and flew many balloons and the first practical dirigible. Among his extensive other accomplishments, his powered heavier-than-air aircraft 14 Bis was demonstrated in Paris, with a public record-breaking flight, on 23 October 1906. This well-documented event, a flight of 60 metres (197 ft) at a height of 2-3m before a large crowd of witnesses, was the first flight verified by the Aero-Club De France of a powered heavier-than-air machine in Europe, and the first public demonstration in the world of an aircraft taking off from an ordinary airstrip with a non-detachable landing gear and on its own power (self-propelled) and in calm weather, officially resolving the problem of getting a machine that is "heavier than air" to take off the ground by its own means.

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1468 Zomba.

In its ninth powered flight, US Air Force Lt. Col. Frank K. Everest flew the Bell X-2 rocket powered research plane at a record speed of Mach 2.87 (just over 1,900 mph, 3,050 kph) at a 20.802 km altitude.

1962 00:00:00 GMT
Telstar 1 relayed the first live action trans-Atlantic television signal.

NASA launched the Telstar 1 satellite for AT&T on 10 July 1962, the first active communications satellite, the first satellite designed to transmit telephone and high-speed data communications, and the first privately owned satellite. Unlike all of the preceding communications satellites, Telstar's orbit was such that it could "see" Europe and the US simultaneously during one part of its orbit. During another part of its orbit it could see both Japan and the US. As a result, it provided real-time communications between the United States and those two areas - for a few minutes out of every hour.

Telstar 1 relayed its first television pictures (of a flag outside its ground station in Andover, Maine) on the day it was launched. Almost two weeks later, on 23 July, it relayed the first live transatlantic television signal, carried the first telephone call transmitted through space, and successfully transmitted faxes, data, and both live and taped television. John F. Kennedy, then President of the United States, gave a live transatlantic press conference via Telstar 1.

Telstar 1, which ushered in a new age of the benevolent use of technology, actually became a victim of the belligerent uses of technology during the Cold War: The day before Telstar was launched, the United States exploded a high altitude nuclear device (Starfish Prime) which super-energized the Earth's Van Allen Belt where Telstar took orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with further increases during subsequent high altitude blasts, overwhelmed Telstar's fragile transistors, and it went out of service on 21 February 1963.

Telstar 1, while primarily a communications satellite, also carried an experiment designed to measure the energetic proton and electron distribution in the Van Allen belts. Scientific information was transmitted by the spacecraft beacon, one of two onboard transmitters, via a PCM/FM/AM encoder. The telemetry sequence required about 1 minute to complete. The spacecraft operated normally from launch until November 1962, when the command channel began to behave erratically. The satellite was turned on continuously to circumvent this problem. On 23 November 1962, the command channel ceased to respond. On 20 December, the satellite was successfully reactivated, and intermittent data were obtained until 21 February 1963, when the transmitter failed.

NASA selected McDonnell Douglas and North American to conduct phase B studies of 12 man space stations that could be developed by the mid-1970s. The 11 month studies were to be a prelude to even larger space bases during the later 1970s and 1980s.

1970 23:23:00 GMT
Intelsat 3 F-8 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but a malfunction occurred during the apogee motor firing, placing it in an unusable orbit.

1972 18:06:00 GMT
NASA launched Landsat 1 (Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) A) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first Earth resource satellite.

Landsat 1 (formerly Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) A), launched 23 July 1972, was a modified version of the Nimbus 4 meteorological satellite. The near-polar orbiting spacecraft served as a stabilized, Earth oriented platform for obtaining information on agricultural and forestry resources, geology and mineral resources, hydrology and water resources, geography, cartography, environmental pollution, oceanography and marine resources, and meteorological phenomena. To accomplish these objectives, the spacecraft was equipped with (1) a three camera return beam vidicon (RBV) to obtain visible and near IR photographic images of the Earth, (2) a four channel multispectral scanner (MSS) to obtain radiometric images of the Earth, and (3) a data collection system (DCS) to collect information from remote, individually equipped ground stations and to relay the data to central acquisition stations. Landsat 1 carried two wide band video tape recorders (WBVTR) capable of storing up to 30 minutes of scanner or camera data to give the spacecraft's sensors a near-global coverage capability. An advanced attitude control system, consisting of horizon scanners, sun sensors, and a command antenna combined with a freon gas propulsion system, permitted the spacecraft's orientation to be maintained within plus or minus 0.7 degrees in all three axes. Spacecraft communications included a command subsystem operating at 154.2 and 2106.4 MHz and a PCM narrow band telemetry subsystem, operating at 2287.5 and 137.86 MHz, for spacecraft housekeeping, attitude, and sensor performance data. Video data from the three camera RBV system was transmitted in both real time and tape recorder modes at 2265.5 MHz, while information from the MSS was constrained to a 20-MHz radio frequency bandwidth at 2229.5 MHz. The spacecraft was turned off on 6 January 1978 when the cumulative precession of the orbital plane caused the spacecraft to see almost constant sunlight, which led to overheating.

1974 01:26:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 2-10 from Plesetsk for operation of long range telephone and telegraph radio communications, and transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita and participating international networks.

1976 15:49:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-35 from Baikonur for operation of the Soviet Union's telephone and telegraph radio communications, and transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita and participating international networks.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #2736 Ops.

1980 18:33:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 37 from Baikonur to the Salyut 6 orbital station, carrying the sixth international crew under the Intercosmos program, comprising V. V. Gorbatko (USSR) and Pham Tuan (Viet Nam), to conduct scientific research and experiments.

Air Canada Flight 143 became the legendary "Gimli Glider" when its pilots landed their Boeing 767 without fuel at Gimli, Manitoba, a crash landing resulting in no injuries to passengers or persons on the ground.

During the 5h 42m EVA Mir EO-9-5, Mir cosmonauts Anatoli Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalyov continued assembly of the Sofora girder.

1991 09:05:00 GMT
USSR launched Resurs F-12 from Plesetsk to investige the Earth's natural resources in the interests of various branches of the USSR national economy, and solution of problems relating to the environment and international cooperation.

ESA's Giotto operations were officially terminated, due to lack of propellant, after completion of final orbit adjustments and configuration of the spacecraft for its third hibernation.

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

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

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

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

1994 06:38:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 65 (Columbia 17, 63rd Shuttle mission) ended after carrying the International Microgravity Laboratory to orbit on its second flight (IML-2).

The STS 65 launch on 8 July 1994 proceeded on time following a smooth countdown. With this mission, Payload Specialist Chiaki Mukai became the first Japanese woman to fly in space; she also set a record for longest flight to date by a female astronaut. The flight marked the first time liftoff and reentry, as experienced from crew cabin, were captured on videotape. The crew took time during mission to honor the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11, noting that mission featured a spacecraft named Columbia as well.

STS 65 marked the second flight of the International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2), carrying more than twice the number of experiments and facilities as did IML-1. The crew split into two teams to perform around-the-clock research. More than 80 experiments, representing more than 200 scientists from six space agencies, were located in the Spacelab module in the payload bay, and one piece of equipment was stowed in the middeck lockers. Fifty of the experiments delved into life sciences, including bioprocessing, space biology, human physiology and radiation biology. Some of the equipment used for these investigations had flown on previous Spacelab flights, such as the European Space Agency's Biorack, making its third flight. The IML-2 Biorack housed 19 experiments featuring chemicals and biological samples such as bacteria, mammalian and human cells, isolated tissues and eggs, sea urchin larvae, fruit flies and plant seedlings. Over the course of the single mission, the specimens could evolve through several stages of life cycles, allowing study of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on living tissues.

The German Space Agency (DARA) provided the NIZEMI, a slowly rotating centrifuge that performed studies of how organisms react to different gravity levels. Samples studied included jellyfish and plants. For the first time, researchers were able to determine how such organisms react to forces of one-and-a-half times Earth's gravity.

Nearly 30 experiments in materials processing were conducted with nine different types of science facilities. DARA provided the TEMPUS, flying for the first time on IML-2, designed to allow the study of solidification of materials from a liquid state in a containerless environment. Solidification phenomena are of great interest to science, and are also used in many industrial processes. Science teams detected, for first time, a phase in a nickel-niobium sample that is masked by other forces on Earth.

Another facility, the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility developed by the European Space Agency, was flying for second time. Housed in two middeck lockers, it operated autonomously after having been activated on the first flight day. Some 5,000 video images were made of crystals grown during the flight.

The mission further advanced the concept of telescience, where researchers on the ground can monitor and control, in real time, experiments on board the orbiter. The flight set a new record of more than 25,000 payload commands issued from Spacelab Mission Operations Control at Huntsville, Alabama.

In addition to the IML-2 investigations, the following payloads also were flown: Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE); Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG); Military Application of Ship Tracks (MAST); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX); and Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), which does not require onboard equipment.

STS 65 ended on 23 July 1994 when Columbia landed on revolution 235 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 10,211 feet (3,112 meters). Rollout time: 68 seconds. Orbit altitude: 160 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: 14 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes, zero seconds, the longest Shuttle flight to date. Miles traveled: 6.1 million. The landing opportunity on July 22 was waved off due to possibility of rain showers in area. STS-65 was Columbia's last mission before scheduled modification and refurbishment at Rockwell's Palmdale plant. OV-102 departed for California atop the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on 8 Oct 1994 for return to KSC in 1995 with STS-73 as the next scheduled flight.

The flight crew for STS 65 was: Robert D. Cabana, Commander; James D. Halsell, Pilot; Richard J. Hieb, Payload Commander; Carl E. Walz, Mission specialist 2; Leroy Chiao, Mission Specialist 3; Donald A. Thomas, Mission Specialist 4; Chiaki Naito-Mukai, Payload Specialist 1.

Comet Hale-Bopp was almost simultaneously discovered by Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona.

2001 07:23:00 GMT
NASA launched the NOAA GOES 12 weather satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, into geostationary orbit.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental (weather) Satellites were developed by NASA-Goddard, and transferred to the NOAA weather agency when operational. GOES M was launched by an Atlas 2A rocket on 23 July 2001 into a 164 x 505 km parking orbit, then into a super synchronous transfer orbit of 274 x 42275 km x 20 deg. The GOES M satellite was redesignated GOES 12 once it was operational in orbit. The spacecraft carried an infrared (IR) imager, a "sounder," and an X-ray imager. The IR imager was a Cassegrain telescope covering five wavelength channels, 0.55-0.75, 3.80-4.00, 6.50-7.00, 10.20-11.20, and 11.50-12.50 microns. It provided images covering 3,000 km x 3,000 km every 41 seconds by scanning the area in 16 square kilometer sections. The "sounder" provided vertical distribution data of temperature, moisture and ozone by passively monitoring 18 depth dependent wavelengths. (Long wave IR: 14.71, 14.37, 14.06, 13.64, 13.37, 12.66, and 12.02 microns. Medium wave IR: 11.03, 9.71, 7.43, 7.02, and 6.51 microns. Short wave IR: 4.57, 4.52, 4.45, 4.13, 3.98, and 3.74 microns. There was also a band at the visible wavelength 0.7 microns to provide pictures of cloud tops.) The sounder covered the 3,000 km x 3,000 km area in about 42 minutes. The other instrument package, the Space Environment Monitor (SEM), monitored the energetic electrons and protons in the magnetosphere and x-rays from the Sun, including an X-ray imager, to provide an X-ray (about 0.1-1.0 nm wavelength) picture of the solar disk. Earlier GOES satellites carried simple X-ray collimator detectors, but the new SXI was a full-fledged grazing incidence telescope similar to the SXT on Japan's Yohkoh satellite.

Following launch, GOES 12 was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 90° West, where it underwent on-orbit testing, and was then stored until it was needed to replace an operational satellite. It served as an on-orbit spare until 1 April 2003 (operational date), when it was called up to replace GOES 8, an older satellite which, while still operational, would have run out of fuel by the end of the year. Although GOES 11 was the next backup in line for activation, GOES 12 was used instead in order to test its Solar X-ray Imager. The Solar X-ray Imager failed in April 2006. GOES 12 was decommissioned on 16 August 2013.

See also for more information on the payloads.

Died (pancreatic cancer), Sally Ride, PhD, the first American woman in space (STS 7, STS 41G)

Sally Kristen Ride, PhD (26 May 1951 - 23 July 2012) was the first American woman in space, and the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space (age 32). Dr. Ride's first trip into space was aboard NASA's space shuttle Challenger (STS 7, 18-24 June 1983). Her second (and last) space flight was the eight-day Challenger (STS 41-G) mission (October, 1984). Dr. Ride died of pancreatic cancer.

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