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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 28

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A total solar eclipse was first captured in a (daguerreotype) photograph, by Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski at the Royal Observatory in Konigsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia).,_1851

Gaspar Felix Tournachon, known as "Nadar," took the first aerial photograph, from a balloon.

Cyrus W. Field finally succeeded in laying the first functional trans-Atlantic telegraph cable under water between North America and Europe, 1,686 miles long.

The Metric Act of 1866 was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson, legalizing the use of the metric system for standardization of weights and measures in the United States, an act designed to switch the US to the metric system.

Born, Charles Dillon Perrine, American astronomer who lived in Argentina

Died, Frederik (or Friedrich) Kaiser, Dutch astronomer (Mars' rotational period, director of the Leiden Observatory from 1838 until his death)

Born, Charles Hard Townes, physicist, developed lasers (Nobel 1964 with Basov, Prokhorov "for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which has led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser-laser principle")

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1386 Storeria.

The first flight of a Goddard series L section C rocket flew to an altitude of 2055 feet, and landed 1000 feet from the tower.

The first Goddard series L section C rocket, launched 28 July 1937, was equipped with a movable tailpiece or gimbal steering, wire-wound tanks, and a barograph. It was 18 feet 5.5 inches long, with a 9 inch diameter, an empty weight of 95 lb 5 oz, and a loaded weight of 162 lb 5 oz. It carried 39 lb liquid oxygen, 28 lb gasoline, and reached an altitude 2055 ft in its 28 second powered flight. The parachute opened near the ground to check the descent speed. The rocket coasted one-eighth of its ascent, and landed 1000 ft from the tower.

The tests ran through 9 August 1938 (L16-L30). Section C rockets included light tank construction, movable-tailpiece (i.e. gimbal) steering, catapult launching, and further development of the liquid nitrogen tank pressure method. Lengths varied from 17 ft 4.25 in. to 18 ft 5.75 in. with a diameter of 9 in. Empty weight varied from 80 to 109 1b, loaded weight was generally about 170 lb or more. Lift of static tests varied from 228 lb to 477 lb, jet velocities from 3960 to 5340 ft/sec. The tests indicated extremely high temperatures for the jet: pebbles of the cement gas deflector were fused and thrown out, starting fires more than 50 ft from the tower.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1485 Isa.

1945 09:40:00 GMT
A US Army bomber accidentally crashed into the 79th floor of New York's Empire State Building, killing 14 people and injuring 26 others. The resulting fire was extinguished in 40 minutes, the only fire at such a height brought under control (as of 2017).

Empire State Building burning after being struck by a B29 bomber, 28 July 1945

US President Eisenhower announced plans to develop and launch small Earth orbiting satellites, stating project Vanguard would orbit a 22 lb satellite during the IGY.

A boilerplate spacecraft was launched in the second beach abort test leading to the Mercury Little Joe test series, instrumented to measure sound pressure level and vibration encountered on the capsule when firing the Grand Central abort rocket.

USSR's first attempted Vostok 1K manned spacecraft prototype flight from Baikonur ended when the rocket exploded 28.5 seconds into the flight. The dogs Chaika and Lisichka perished in the explosion of the rocket.

Vostok 1K s/n 1 was launched from Baikonur on 28 July 1960. At ignition, one of the combustion chambers in a strapon Block B or G booster burned through. The strapon separated from the core at 17 seconds into the flight, and the launch vehicle exploded at 28.5 seconds. The dogs Chaika and Lisichka perished in the explosion of the rocket.

Born, Scott Edward Parazynski MD (at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 66, STS 86, STS 95, STS 100, STS 120)

Astronaut Scott Parazynski MD, NASA photo

NASA invited 12 companies to submit prime contractor proposals for the Apollo spacecraft by 9 October 1961.

1962 09:21:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 7 (also called Sputnik 17) to study outer space, the upper layers of the atmosphere, and Earth.

Cosmos 7, launched 28 July 1962, was one of a series of Soviet Earth satellites whose purpose was to study outer space, the upper layers of the atmosphere, and Earth. Scientific data and measurements were relayed to earth by multichannel telemetry systems equipped with space borne memory units. Radiation measurements made by Cosmos were used to guarantee safety during the flights of the Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 spacecraft.

1964 16:50:00 GMT
NASA launched the Ranger 7 Lunar impact mission to return high resolution video images of the Lunar surface.

Ranger 7, launched 28 July 1964, was designed to achieve a Lunar impact trajectory, and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the Lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two self-contained chains, or channels, each with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality video pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft.

The spacecraft consisted of a hexagonal aluminum frame base 1.5 m across on which was mounted the propulsion and power units, topped by a truncated conical tower which held the TV cameras. Two solar panel wings, each 73.9 cm wide by 153.7 cm long, extended from opposite edges of the base with a full span of 4.6 m, and a pointable high gain dish antenna was hinge mounted at one of the corners of the base away from the solar panels. A cylindrical omnidirectional antenna was seated on top of the conical tower. The overall height of the spacecraft was 3.6 m.

Mid-course trajectory correction propulsion was provided by a 224-N thrust monopropellant hydrazine engine with 4 jet vane vector control. Orientation and attitude control about 3 axes was enabled by 12 nitrogen gas jets coupled to a system of 3 gyros, 4 primary Sun sensors, 2 secondary Sun sensors, and an Earth sensor. Power was supplied by 9792 silicon solar cells contained in the two solar panels, giving a total array area of 2.3 square meters and producing 200 W. Two 1200 Watt-hr silver zinc oxide batteries rated at 26.5 V with a capacity for 9 hours of operation provided power to each of the separate communication/TV camera chains. Two 1000 Watt-hr silver zinc oxide batteries stored power for spacecraft operations.

Communications were through the quasiomnidirectional low-gain antenna and the parabolic high-gain antenna. Transmitters aboard the spacecraft included a 60 W TV channel F at 959.52 MHz, a 60 W TV channel P at 960.05 MHz, and a 3 W transponder channel 8 at 960.58 MHz. The telecommunications equipment converted the composite video signal from the camera transmitters into an RF signal for subsequent transmission through the spacecraft high-gain antenna. Sufficient video bandwidth was provided to allow for rapid framing sequences of both narrow- and wide-angle television pictures.

The Atlas 250D and Agena B 6009 boosters performed nominally at launch inserting the Agena and Ranger into a 192 km altitude Earth parking orbit. Half an hour after launch, the second Agena engine burn injected the spacecraft into a Lunar intercept trajectory. After separation from the Agena, the solar panels were deployed, attitude control was activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omniantenna to the high-gain antenna. On 29 July, the planned mid-course maneuver was initiated at 10:27 UT, a short rocket burn. The only anomaly during flight was a brief loss of two-way lock on the spacecraft by the DSIF tracking station at Cape Kennedy following launch.

Ranger 7 reached the Moon on 31 July. The F-channel began its one minute warm up 18 minutes before impact. The first image was taken at 13:08:45 UT at an altitude of 2110 km. Transmission of 4,308 photographs of excellent quality occurred over the final 17 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the Lunar surface in direct motion along a hyperbolic trajectory, with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.57 degrees from the Lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 26.84 degrees to the Lunar equator. After 68.6 hours of flight, Ranger 7 impacted in an area between Mare Nubium and Oceanus Procellarum (subsequently named Mare Cognitum) at approximately 10.35 S latitude, 339.42 E longitude. (The impact site is listed as 10.63 S, 339.34 E in the initial "Ranger 7 Photographs of the Moon" report.) Impact occurred at 13:25:48.82 UT at a velocity of 2.62 km/s. Spacecraft performance was excellent.

See for Ranger 7 photos of the Moon.

Ranger 7 Lunar impact probe, NASA photo

1966 18:01:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A MuMet/HS/SB/RAS Technology/Meteor/Aeronomy mission # 163 in which John McKay reached a maximum speed of 5958 kph (Mach 5.19), and achieved a maximum altitude of 73.701 km.

1967 14:24:00 GMT
NASA launched the OGO 4 orbiting geophysical observatory from Cape Canaveral to study the reaction of the atmosphere to increased solar activity.

OGO 4, launched 28 July 1967, was a large observatory instrumented with experiments designed to study the interrelationships between the aurora and airglow emissions, energetic particle activity, geomagnetic field variation, ionospheric ionization and recombination, and atmospheric heating which take place during a period of increased solar activity. OGO 4 consisted of a main body, generally parallelepipedal in form, two rectangular solar panels each including a solar-oriented experiment package (SOEP), and two orbital plane experiment packages (OPEP). The main body was attitude controlled by use of horizon scanners and gas jets, and was designed to be pointed toward the Earth (Z axis). The axis connecting the two solar panels (X axis) was designed to oscillate so as to remain perpendicular to the Earth-Sun-spacecraft plane. The solar panels, activated by Sun sensors, could rotate about this X axis to obtain maximum radiation for the solar cells and, concurrently, orient the SOEP properly. The OPEPs were mounted on either end of an axis which was parallel to the Z axis and attached to the forward end of the main body. The OPEP sensors normally were maintained looking forward in the satellite's orbital plane. To maintain this orientation, the OPEP axis could rotate over 90 degrees, and, in addition, an angular difference of over 90 degrees was possible between the orientation of the upper and lower OPEP packages. The SOEP contained four experiments, and the OPEP contained five experiments. After the spacecraft achieved orbit and the experiments were deployed into an operating mode, an attitude control problem occurred. This condition was corrected by ground control procedures until complete failure of the tape recording systems occurred in mid-January 1969. At that time, due to the difficulty of maintaining attitude control without the tape recorders, the attitude control system was commanded off, and the spacecraft was placed into a spin-stabilized mode about the axis which was previously maintained vertically. The initial spin period was 202 seconds with the mean spin axis approximately perpendicular to the orbit plane, the spin period as of 12 March 1969 was 217 seconds. The precession period of the mean spin axis was about 5 days. In this mode, seven of the remaining experiments were turned off since no meaningful data could be observed by them. On 23 October 1969, the satellite was turned off. It was reactivated again in January 1970 for 2 months to obtain VLF observations.

1971 03:36:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-18 from Plesetsk for operation of a system of long range telephone telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to the stations of the Orbita network.

1973 11:10:51 GMT
NASA launched the Skylab 3 mission (73-050A) carrying the second crew to the Skylab space station.

Skylab CSM 2, also called Skylab 3, was launched 28 July 1973 to ferry a crew of three and their provisions to the Skylab complex, and return the crew to Earth. The crew was Alan Bean, commander; Jack Lousma, pilot; and Owen Garriott, science pilot. The spacecraft was almost identical to the Command/Service Module used for the Apollo manned Lunar landing missions. Modifications were made to accommodate long duration Skylab missions, and to allow the spacecraft to remain semi-dormant while docked to the Skylab cluster.

The space vehicle, consisting of the CSM payload on a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into a 231.3 x 154.7 km orbit. Rendezvous maneuvers were performed during the first five orbits as planned. During the rendezvous, the CSM reaction control system forward firing engine oxidizer valve leaked, and the quad was isolated. Station-keeping with the Skylab Orbital Workshop began approximately 8 hours after liftoff, with docking being performed about 30 minutes later.

Troubleshooting of the RCS leak continued afer docking. For the first time, an Apollo spacecraft was rolled out to Launch Complex 39 for a possible rescue mission, made possible by the ability for the station to have two Apollo CSMs docked at the same time. The crew eventually fixed the problem, and the rescue mission was never launched.

During the first EVA, on 6 August 1973, the crew installed the twin-pole sunshade, one of the two repairs for the micrometeoroid shield destroyed during Skylab's launch, which was supposed to keep the space station cool. The second sunshade, developed by MSFC, was deployed over the parasol, which was originally deployed through a porthole airlock during Skylab 2. Both the parasol and twin-pole sunshades were brought to the station by Skylab 2. A redesigned and refined thermal parasol had been launched with Skylab 3. However, its use would have required jettisoning the parasol deployed by crew members of Skylab 2, with the possibility of creating the same thermal problems that existed on the OWS prior to the parasol deployment. Following erection of the twin-pole sunshade, the cabin temperature stayed at a comfortable 293-297 K (20-24 C, 68-75 F).

Skylab 3 continued the comprehensive medical research program that extended the data on human physiological adaptation and readaptation to space flight collected on the previous Skylab 2 mission. In addition, Skylab 3 extended the astronauts stay in space from approximately one month to two months. Therefore, further effects of flight duration on physiological adaptation and readaptation could be, and were, examined.

A set of core medical investigations were performed on all three Skylab manned missions, the same basic investigations that were performed on Skylab 2. The Skylab 3 inflight tests were supplemented with extra tests based on what researchers learned from the Skylab 2 science results. For example, only leg volume measurements, preflight and postflight stereophotogrammetry, and in-flight maximum calf girth measurements were originally scheduled for all three Skylab missions. In-flight photographs from Skylab 2 revealed the "puffy face syndrome" which prompted the addition of in-flight torso and limb girth measurements to gather more data on the apparent headward fluid shift on Skylab 3. Other additional tests included arterial blood flow measurements by an occlusive cuff placed around the leg, facial photographs taken before flight and during flight to study the "puffy face syndrome", venous compliance, hemoglobin, urine specific gravity, and urine mass measurements. These inflight tests gave additional information about fluid distribution and fluid balance to get a better understanding of the fluid shift phenomena.

The Skylab 3 biological experiments studied the effects of microgravity on mice, fruit flies, single cells and cell culture media. Human lung cells were flown to examine the biochemical characteristics of cell cultures in the microgravity environment. The two animal experiments were entitled Chronobiology of Pocket Mice and Circadian Rhythm in Vinegar Gnats. Both experiments were unsuccessful due to a power failure 30 minutes after launch.

High school students from across the United States participated in the Skylab missions as the primary investigators of experiments that studied astronomy, physics, and fundamental biology. The student experiments performed on Skylab 3 included the study of libration clouds, x-rays from Jupiter, in-vitro immunology, spider web formation, cytoplasmic streaming, mass measurement, and neutron analysis.

The crew's health was assessed on Skylab by collecting data on dental health, environmental and crew microbiology, radiation, and toxicological aspects of the Skylab orbital workshop. Other assessments were made of astronaut maneuvering equipment and of the habitability of the crew quarters. Crew activities and maintenance experiments were examined on Skylab 2 through 4 to better understand the living and working aspects of life in space.

The Skylab 3 crew doubled the record for the length of time in space, completing 858 Earth orbits and 1,081 hours of solar and Earth experiments; three EVAs totalled 13 hours, 43 minutes. Skylab 3 ended on 25 September 1973 when the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 30 deg 47 min N 120 deg 29 min W.

An SR-71A set World Absolute and World Class Speed Records over a 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course of 2,193.167 mph (3,530 kph), the standing record (as of 2017) for manned jet aircraft.

NASA's Viking 1 Lander collected the first-ever samples from Mars with its robot arm.

Following its launch on 20 August 1975 and a 10 month cruise to Mars, the Viking 1 Orbiter began returning global images of Mars about 5 days before orbit insertion. It was inserted into Mars orbit on 19 June 1976 and trimmed to a 1513 x 33,000 km, 24.66 hr site certification orbit on 21 June. Imaging of candidate sites was begun and the landing site was selected based on these pictures. The lander separated from the orbiter on 20 July 08:51 UT and landed at Chryse Planitia at 11:56:06 UT. (The landing had been planned for the US Bicentennial on July 4, but was delayed until a suitable landing site was located.) The lander collected the first-ever samples taken from the surface Mars with its robot arm on 28 July. The orbiter primary mission ended at the beginning of solar conjunction on 5 November 1976. The extended mission commenced on 14 December 1976 after solar conjunction. Operations included close approaches to Phobos in February 1977. The periapsis was reduced to 300 km on 11 March 1977. Minor orbit adjustments were done occasionally over the course of the mission, primarily to change the walk rate - the rate at which the planetocentric longitude changed with each orbit, and the periapsis was raised to 357 km on 20 July 1979. On 7 August 1980, the Viking 1 Orbiter was running low on attitude control gas and its orbit was raised from 357 x 33943 km to 320 x 56000 km to prevent impact with Mars and possible contamination until the year 2019. Orbital operations were terminated on 17 August 1980 after 1485 orbits, and communications with the lander were terminated on 13 November 1982.

Perth Observatory discovered asteroids #3188 and #3422.

China launched SJ-1 from Jiuquan which failed to reach orbit because of a second stage failure. SJ-1 was similar in appearance to the first American Telstar satellite, and intended to conduct communications technology tests.

1983 22:49:00 GMT
The Telstar 3A communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 96 deg W 1983-1985; 105 deg W 1985; 96 deg W 1985-1994; 107 deg W 1994; 20 deg E 1995-1996. Operations ended 29 September 1996.

NASA released a transcript from the doomed Challenger launch, pilot Michael Smith could be heard saying, "Uh-oh!" as the spacecraft disintegrated.

1986 21:08:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1766 from Plesetsk to acquire operational oceanographic information in the interest of USSR economy, and to continue trials of new measurement apparatus and methods of remote sensing of the Earth's surface and atmosphere.

UPI quoted NASA's aim to establish a Lunar base early in the 21st Century and a flight to Mars 10 years after.

1997 01:15:00 GMT
Japan's Superbird C was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 144 deg E.

1999 09:37:00 GMT
During the 5h 22m EVA Mir EO-27-3, Mir cosmonauts Afanasyev and Avdeyev successfully erected an experimental 6-meter antenna. The antenna was jettisoned at the end of the experiment, "the first Georgian sputnik".

2000 22:42:00 GMT
Panamsat's PAS 9 was launched from Kiritimati by Sea Launch Odyssey on a Zenit-3SL to replace PAS 5, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 58 deg W.

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover took the off-world driving distance record previously set by USSR's Lunokhod 2 in 1973 on the Moon, surpassing 25 miles (40 km) travelled.

The next (thirty-first) recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet will occur.

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