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Space History for July 25


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


1575
Born (or 1573), Christoph Scheiner, German astronomer, inventor (pantograph, terrestrial telescope)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Scheiner

1843
Died, Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist, patented waterproof fabric
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Macintosh

1909
Louis Bleriot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, flying from Calais to Dover in 36 minutes 30 seconds.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Bl%C3%A9riot#1909_Channel_crossing

1916
Born, Alfred Johannes Finzel, rocket engineer, German expert in guided missiles during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after the war
https://research.archives.gov/id/956194

1932
Born, Paul Joseph Weitz (at Erie, Pennsylvania, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (Skylab 2, STS 6; nearly 33d 1.25h total time in spaceflight), member of the first successful US space station mission (deceased)

Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, NASA photo S71-51307 (21 September 1971)
Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable July 2019)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_J._Weitz

1935
C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1641 Tana.

1936
G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #3761.

1950
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroids #1799 Koussevitzky, #1822 Waterman and #2842.

1951
L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1714 Sy.

1952
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1788 Kiess.

1957
Born, Daniel Wheeler "Dan" Bursch (at Bristol, Pennsylvania, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 51, STS 68, STS 77, ISS 4; nearly 226d 22.25h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Daniel W. Bursch, ISS Expedition Four flight engineer, NASA photo (6 March 2000)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_W._Bursch

1960
NASA Director of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein notified Harry J. Goett, Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, that NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan had approved the name "Apollo" for the advanced manned space flight program.
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4009/v1p1.htm#1960-b

1962
NASA MSC invited 11 firms to submit research and development proposals for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) for the manned Lunar landing mission.
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-4205/ch4-5.html

1968
H. Wroblewski discovered asteroid #1993 Guacolda.

1973 18:51:48 GMT
USSR launched the Mars 5 orbiter which reached Mars on 12 February 1974 and collected data for 22 orbits until a loss of pressurization in the transmitter housing ended the mission.

Mars 4, 5, 6, and 7 comprised an associated group of Soviet spacecraft launched towards Mars in July and August of 1973. Mars 5, launched 25 July 1973, was designed to orbit Mars and return information on the composition, structure, and properties of the Martian atmosphere and surface. The spacecraft was also designed to act as a communications link for the Mars 6 and 7 landers. The orbiter only operated a few days, and returned atmospheric data and images of a small portion of the Martian southern hemisphere.

Mars 5 was launched into Earth orbit by a Proton SL-12/D-1-e booster, and propelled from its orbital platform into a Mars transfer trajectory at 20:15 UT on 25 July 1973. Its fully fueled launch mass was 3440 kg. After a mid-course correction burn on 3 August, the spacecraft reached Mars on 12 February 1974 at 15:45 UT and was inserted into an elliptical 1755 km x 32,555 km, 24 hr, 53 min. orbit with an inclination of 35.3 degrees. Mars 5 collected data for 22 orbits until a loss of pressurization in the transmitter housing ended the mission. About 60 images were returned over a nine day period showing swaths of the area south of Valles Marineris, from 5 N, 330 W to 20 S, 130 W. Measurements by other instruments were made near periapsis along 7 adjacent arcs in this same region.

Mars 5 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. Images were taken through blue, red, and green filters in addition to a special orange filter, 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.

Data returned from orbit by the Mars 5 infrared radiometer showed a maximum surface temperature of 272 K (-1 C), 230 K near the terminator and 200 K at night. Thermal inertia of the soil was consistent with grain sizes of 0.1 to 0.5 mm, polarization data showed grain sizes smaller than 0.04 mm in aeolian deposits. Six altitude profiles were measured by the CO2 photometer. U, Th, and K composition similar to terrestrial mafic rocks were found. A dielectric constant from 2.5 to 4 was measured at depths of several tens of cm. A high water vapor content (100 precipitable microns) was found south of Tharsis region. An ozone layer was detected at 40 km altitude with about one-thousandth the concentration of Earth's. The exosphere temperature was measured at 295-355 K, 10 K lower temperatures were found from 200 to 87 km. A small magnetic field was postulated, about .0003 Earth's. Mars 5 also performed a radio occultation experiment and the results, in concert with results from Mars 4 and 6 occultation measurements, showed the existence of a nightside ionosphere with a maximum electron density of 4600 per cubic cm at an altitude of 110 km and a near surface atmospheric pressure of 6.7 mbar.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1973-049A

1974
T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2345 Fucik.

1976
NASA's Viking 1 Mars orbiter photographed a mesa in the Cydonia region resembling a humanoid face.

A 2 km (1.2 miles) long mesa in the Cydonia region of Mars, seen in one of the images taken by Viking 1 on 25 July 1976, situated at 40.75 degrees north latitude and 9.46 degrees west longitude, had the appearance of a humanoid face. When the image was originally acquired, Viking chief scientist Gerry Soffen dismissed the "Face on Mars" in image 035A72 as a "trick of light and shadow." However, a second image, 070A13, also shows the "face", and was acquired 35 Viking orbits later at a different sun-angle from the 035A72 image. This latter discovery was made independently by Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Molenaar, two computer engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. DiPietro and Molenaar discovered the two misfiled images, Viking frames 035A72 and 070A13, while searching through NASA archives.

In a press release issued on 31 July 1976, NASA provided a caption for the picture stating "The picture shows eroded mesa-like landforms. The huge rock formation in the center, which resembles a human head, is formed by shadows giving the illusion of eyes, nose and mouth. ..."

Since it was originally first imaged, the "face" has been near-universally accepted as an optical illusion. After analysis of the higher resolution Mars Global Surveyor data NASA stated that "a detailed analysis of multiple images of this feature reveals a natural looking Martian hill whose illusory face-like appearance depends on the viewing angle and angle of illumination."

On 8 April 2001 the Mars Global Surveyor was rolled 24.8 degrees to the left so that it was looking at the "face" 165 km (103 mi) to the side from a distance of about 450 km (280 mi). The resulting image has a resolution of about 2 meters (6.6 feet) per pixel. It can be found on www.msss.com sized at 2400 x 2400 pixels. The site also has other images and discussion.

An image of a three dimensional model of the "Face" constructed from data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Express satellites can be found on APoD (3721 x 2480 pixels).

In 1958, almost two decades prior to the first images of the Face from the Viking probes, the comic book artist Jack Kirby wrote a story entitled "The Face on Mars" for Harvey Comics (Race for the Moon Number 2, September 1958), in which a large face served as a monument to an extinct humanoid race from Mars.



The "Face on Mars" photo captured by Viking 1 on 25 July 1976, NASA photo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_%28region_of_Mars%29#.22Face_on_Mars.22
http://www.msss.com/education/facepage/pio.html

1978
Louise Joy Brown, the first "test-tube baby" (conceived through in-vitro fertilization), was born at Oldham, England.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Brown

1978
NASA's Viking 2 Orbiter was turned off after a leak vented its attitude control gas. By then, the Orbiter had returnedd almost 16,000 images in 706 orbits around Mars.

The Viking project consisted of launches of two separate spacecraft to Mars, Viking 1, launched on 20 August 1975, and Viking 2, launched on 9 September 1975. Each spacecraft consisted of an orbiter and a lander. After orbiting Mars and returning images used for landing site selection, the orbiter and lander detached and the lander entered the Martian atmosphere and soft-landed at the selected site. The orbiters continued imaging and other scientific operations from orbit while the landers deployed instruments on the surface. The fully fueled orbiter-lander pair had a mass of 3530 kg. After separation and landing, the lander had a mass of about 600 kg and the orbiter 900 kg. The lander was encased in a bioshield at launch to prevent contamination by terrestrial organisms.

Following launch and a 333 day cruise to Mars, the Viking 2 Orbiter began returning global images of Mars prior to orbit insertion. The orbiter was inserted into a 1500 x 33,000 km, 24.6 hr Mars orbit on 7 August 1976 and trimmed to a 27.3 hr site certification orbit with a periapsis of 1499 km and an inclination of 55.2 degrees on 9 August. Imaging of candidate sites was begun and the landing site was selected based on these pictures and the images returned by the Viking 1 Orbiter. The lander and its aeroshell separated from the orbiter on 3 September 19:39:59 UT. At the time of separation, the lander was orbiting at about 4 km/s. After separation rockets fired to begin lander deorbit. After a few hours, at about 300 km altitude, the lander was reoriented for entry. The aeroshell with its ablatable heat shield slowed the craft as it plunged through the atmosphere. During this time, entry science experiments were performed. At 6 km altitude at about 250 m/s the 16 m diameter lander parachutes were deployed. Seven seconds later the aeroshell was jettisoned, and 8 seconds after that the three lander legs were extended. In 45 seconds the parachute had slowed the lander to 60 m/s. At 1.5 km altitude, retro-rockets were ignited and fired until landing 40 seconds later at about 2.4 m/s. The landing rockets used an 18 nozzle design to spread the hydrogen and nitrogen exhaust over a wide area. It was determined that this would limit surface heating to no more than 1 degree C and that no more than 1 mm of the surface material would be stripped away.

The Viking 2 Lander touched down about 200 km west of the crater Mie in Utopia Planitia at 48.269 deg N latitude and 225.990 deg W longitude at a reference altitude of 4.23 km relative to a reference ellipsoid with an equatorial radius of 3397.2 km and a flatness of 0.0105 (48.039 deg N, 226.032 deg W planetographic) at 3 September 1976 22:58:20 UT (9:49:05 AM local Mars time). Approximately 22 kg of propellants were left at landing. Due to radar misidentification of a rock or highly reflective surface, the thrusters fired an extra time 0.4 seconds before landing, cracking the surface and raising dust. The lander settled down with one leg on a rock, tilted at 8.2 degrees. The cameras began taking images immediately after landing. The Viking 2 Lander operated on the surface for 1281 Mars days and was turned off on 11 April 1980 when its batteries failed.

The Viking 2 Orbiter's operating plan called for the structure connecting the orbiter and lander (the bioshield) to be ejected after separation, but because of problems with the separation the bioshield remained attached to the orbiter. The orbit inclination was raised to 75 degrees on 30 September 1976. The orbiter primary mission ended at the beginning of solar conjunction on 8 November 1976. The extended mission commenced on 14 December 1976 after solar conjunction. On 20 December 1976 the periapsis was lowered to 778 km and the orbit inclination raised to 80 degrees. Operations included close approaches to Deimos in October 1977. The periapsis was lowered to 300 km and the period changed to 24 hours on 23 October 1977. The orbiter developed a leak in its propulsion system that vented its attitude control gas. It was placed in a 302 x 33176 km orbit and turned off on 25 July 1978 after returning almost 16,000 images in 706 orbits around Mars.

The primary objectives of the Viking orbiters were to transport the landers to Mars, perform reconnaissance to locate and certify landing sites, act as a communications relays for the landers, and to perform their own scientific investigations. The orbiter, based on the earlier Mariner 9 spacecraft, was an octagon approximately 2.5 m across. The total launch mass was 2328 kg, of which 1445 kg were propellant and attitude control gas. The eight faces of the ring-like structure were 0.4572 m high and were alternately 1.397 and 0.508 m wide. The overall height was 3.29 m from the lander attachment points on the bottom to the launch vehicle attachment points on top. There were 16 modular compartments, 3 on each of the 4 long faces and one on each short face. Four solar panel wings extended from the axis of the orbiter, the distance from tip to tip of two oppositely extended solar panels was 9.75 m. Power was provided by eight 1.57 x 1.23 m solar panels, two on each wing, were made up of a total of 34,800 solar cells that produced 620 W of power at Mars. Power was also stored in 2 nickel-cadmium 30-amp-hr batteries.

The orbiter's main propulsion unit was mounted above the orbiter bus. Propulsion was furnished by a bipropellant (monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) liquid-fueled rocket engine which could be gimballed up to 9 degrees. The engine was capable of 1323 N thrust, translating to a delta-V of 1480 m/s. Attitude control was achieved by 12 small compressed-nitrogen jets. An acquisition Sun sensor, a cruise Sun sensor, a Canopus star tracker and an inertial reference unit consisting of 6 gyroscopes allowed three-axis stabilization. Two accelerometers were also on board. Communications were accomplished through a 20-W S-band (2.3 GHz) transmitter and 2 20-W TWTA's. An X-band (8.4 GHz) downlink was also added specifically for radio science and to conduct communications experiments. Uplink was via S-band (2.1 GHz). A 2-axis steerable high-gain parabolic dish antenna with a diameter of approximately 1.5 m was attached at one edge of the orbiter base, and a fixed low-gain antenna extended from the top of the bus. Two tape recorders were each capable of storing 1280 Mbits. A 381 MHz relay radio was also available. Temperature control was achieved by multilayer insulation, thermally activated louvers, and electrical heaters.

Scientific instruments for conducting imaging, atmospheric water vapor, and infrared thermal mapping were enclosed in a temperature controlled, pointable scan platform extending from the base of the orbiter. The scientific instrumentation had a total mass of approximately 72 kg. Radio science investigations were also done using the spacecraft transmitter. Command processing was done by two identical and independent data processors, each with a 4096-word memory for storing uplink command sequences and acquired data.

The lander consisted of a 6-sided aluminum base with alternate 1.09 m and 0.56 m long sides, supported on three extended legs attached to the shorter sides. The leg footpads formed the vertices of an equilateral triangle with 2.21 m sides when viewed from above, with the long sides of the base forming a straight line with the two adjoining footpads. Instrumentation was attached to the top of the base, elevated above the surface by the extended legs. Power was provided by two radioisotope thermal generator (RTG) units containing plutonium 238 affixed to opposite sides of the lander base and covered by wind screens. Each generator was 28 cm tall, 58 cm in diameter, had a mass of 13.6 kg and provided 30 W continuous power at 4.4 volts. Four wet-cell sealed nickel-cadmium 8-amp-hour, 28 volt rechargeable batteries were also onboard to handle peak power loads.

The lander's propulsion was provided for deorbit by a monopropellant hydrazine (N2H4) rocket with 12 nozzles arranged in four clusters of three that provided 32 N thrust, giving a delta-V of 180 m/s. These nozzles also acted as the control thrusters for translation and rotation of the lander. Terminal descent and landing was achieved by three (one affixed on each long side of the base, separated by 120 degress) monopropellant hydrazine engines. The engines had 18 nozzles to disperse the exhaust and minimize effects on the ground, were throttleable from 276 N to 2667 N. The hydrazine was purified to prevent contamination of the Martian surface. The lander carried 85 kg of propellant at launch, contained in two spherical titanium tanks mounted on opposite sides of the lander beneath the RTG windscreens, for a total launch mass of 657 kg. Control was achieved through the use of an inertial reference unit, four gyros, an aerodecelerator, a radar altimeter, a terminal descent and landing radar, and the control thrusters.

Lander communications were accomplished through a 20 W S-band transmitter and two 20 W TWTA's. A 2-axis steerable high-gain parabolic antenna was mounted on a boom near one edge of the lander base. An omnidirectional low-gain S-band antenna also extended from the base. Both these antennae allowed for communication directly with the Earth. A UHF (381 MHz) antenna provided a one-way relay to the orbiter using a 30 W relay radio. Data storage was on a 40 Mbit tape recorder, and the lander computer had a 6000 word memory for command instructions.

The lander carried instruments to achieve the primary scientific objectives of its mission: to study the biology, chemical composition (organic and inorganic), meteorology, seismology, magnetic properties, appearance, and physical properties of the Martian surface and atmosphere. Two 360-degree cylindrical scan cameras were mounted near one long side of the base. From the center of this side extended the sampler arm, with a collector head, temperature sensor, and magnet on the end. A meteorology boom, holding temperature, wind direction, and wind velocity sensors extended out and up from the top of one of the lander legs. A seismometer, magnet and camera test targets, and magnifying mirror are mounted opposite the cameras, near the high-gain antenna. An interior environmentally controlled compartment held the biology experiment and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. The X-ray flourescence spectrometer was also mounted within the structure. A pressure sensor was attached under the lander body. The scientific payload had a total mass of approximately 91 kg.

See also the Viking 2 Lander page.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraft/display.action?id=1975-083A

1984
During Salyut 7/VE-4/ EVA 1 in which the Salyut 7 crew conducted welding experiments, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the first woman to walk in space, having traveled to space with the Soyuz T-12 mission. Her spacewalk lasted 3.58 hours.

Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya (8 August 1948 - ) was the first woman to walk in space, on 25 July 1984, aboard the Soyuz T-12 (launched 17 July 1984). Her spacewalk lasted 3.58 hours. Savitskaya was also the second woman to go into space (aboard Soyuz T-7, launched 19 August 1982), and the first woman to go to space twice (1982 and 1984).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salyut_7
http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/savitskaya_svetlana.htm

1990 19:21:00 GMT
NASA launched CRRES (Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to investigate fields, plasmas, and energetic particles inside the Earth's magnetosphere.

The Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES) was launched 25 July 1990 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) for a nominal three year mission to investigate fields, plasmas, and energetic particles inside the Earth's magnetosphere. As part of the CRRES program, the SPACERAD (Space Radiation Effects) project, managed by the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, investigated the radiation environment of the inner and outer radiation belts and measured radiation effects on state-of-the-art microelectronics devices. Other magnetospheric, ionospheric, and cosmic ray experiments were also included onboard CRRES and supported by NASA or the Office of Naval Research. The chemical release project was managed by NASA/MSFC and utilized the release of chemicals from onboard cannisters at low altitudes near dawn and dusk perigee times, and at high altitudes near local midnight. The chemical releases were monitored with optical and radar instrumentation by ground based observers to measure the bulk properties and movement of the expanding clouds of photo-ionized plasma along field lines after the releases occurred. In order to study the magnetosphere at different local times during the mission, the satellite orbit was designed to precess with respect to the Earth-Sun line such that the local time at apogee decreased by 2.5 minutes/day from 08:00 (LT) just after launch and returned to this position in nineteen month cycles. CRRES had the shape of an octagonal prism with solar arrays on the top side. The prism was 1 m high and 3 m between opposite faces. Four of the eight compartments were for the chemical canisters and the other four housed the SPACERAD and other experiments. The spacecraft body was spun at 2.2 rpm about a spin axis in the ecliptic plane and kept pointed about 12 degrees ahead of the Sun's apparent motion in celestial coordinates. Pre-launch and in-flight operations were supported by the Space Test and Transportation Program Office of the US Air Force Space Division. Contact with the CRRES spacecraft was lost on 12 October 1991, presumed to be due to an onboard battery failure.



CRRES in orbit, NASA illustration
Source: NASA Science Mission Directorate | CRRES
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1990-065A

1999 07:46:00 GMT
A Delta rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carried four Globalstar satellites (Globalstar M026, M028, M043, M048) into orbit.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1999-041A

2000
A New York-bound Air France Concorde supersonic passenger jet crashed just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 5 on the ground after it ran over a piece of debris on the runway that fell from the plane before it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_4590

2001
Died (cancer, at San Diego, California, while waiting for a green card for permanent US residence), Yuri Viktorovich Prikhodko, Soviet cosmonaut (Buran test pilot, took part in an exchange-pilot program with the American government)
http://www.spacefacts.de/bios/cosmonauts/english/prikhodko_yuri.htm

2004 07:05:00 GMT
China launched the Tan Ce 2 ("Double Star" 2) satellite on a Chang Zheng-2C (CZ-2C, "Long March") booster from Taiyuan to study the Earth's magnetosphere.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=2004-029A


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