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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 25

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Born (or 1573), Christoph Scheiner, German astronomer

Died, Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist, patented waterproof fabric

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.

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

Born, Paul Joseph Weitz (at Erie, Pennsylvania, USA), NASA astronaut (Skylab 2, STS 6), member of the first successful US space station mission

Astronaut Paul J. Weitz, NASA photo

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1641 Tana.

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #3761.

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

L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1714 Sy.

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1788 Kiess.

Born, Daniel Wheeler "Dan" Bursch (at Bristol, Pennsylvania, USA), Commander USN, NASA astronaut (STS 51, STS 68, STS 77, ISS 4)

Astronaut Daniel W. Bursch, NASA photo (6 March 2000)

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.

NASA MSC invited 11 firms to submit research and development proposals for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) for the manned Lunar landing mission.

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.

T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2345 Fucik.

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 to the side from a distance of about 450 km. The resulting image has a resolution of about 2 meters (6.6 feet) per pixel. It can be found at (2400 x 2400 pixels) See for 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 at (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

Louise Joy Brown, the first "test-tube baby" (conceived through in-vitro fertilization), was born at Oldham, England.

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).

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

1999 07:46:00 GMT
A Delta rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carried four Globalstar satellites (Globalstar M026, M028, M043, M048) into orbit.

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.

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)

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.

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