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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 31

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C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroids #122 Gerda and #123 Brunhild.

Gerhard Zucker's mail rocket explosion at Harris led to his deportation back to Germany when the British found him to be a "threat to the income of the post office and the security of the country."

Gerhard Zucker announced a demonstration firing of his rocket over 1600 m of water between the town of Harris and the Isle of Scarp. Government officials watched as the rocket exploded on 31 July 1934, blowing the burning payload of (fraudulent) postal covers all over the beach. The British found Zucker to be a 'threat to the income of the post office and the security of the country.' He was deported to Germany, where he was immediately arrested by the Germans on suspicion of espionage or collaboration with Britain.

See also

C. Jackson discovered asteroids #1362 Griqua and #2865.

Robert Goddard launched a series L section A rocket that achieved an altitude of 200 feet above the 80 foot launch tower in a flight that lasted 5 seconds. The rocket landed 300 feet from the tower.

1964 13:25:49 GMT
NASA's Ranger 7 impacted the Lunar surface, having returned the first close-up pictures of the Moon during the final 17 minutes of its flight.

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.

Last Ranger 7 images taken before impact on the Moon, cut off because the spacecraft impacted the surface before completing the transmission, NASA images

Died, Georgi Maksimovich Shubnikov, Chief of Construction Directorate of Baikonur (1955-1965)

1969 05:19:07 GMT
NASA's Mariner 6 passed Mars at a distance of 3431 km from the surface.

Mariner 6 was launched 24 February 1969 as part of the Mariner 6 and 7 dual spacecraft mission to Mars, the sixth and seventh missions in the Mariner series of spacecraft used for planetary exploration in the flyby mode. The primary objectives of the missions were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys to establish the basis for future investigations, particularly those relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life, and to demonstrate and develop technologies required for future Mars missions and other long-duration missions far from the Sun. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter 5 days later. Each spacecraft carried a wide- and narrow-angle television camera, an infrared spectroscope, an infrared radiometer, and an ultraviolet spectroscope. The spacecraft were oriented entirely to planetary data acquisition, and no data were obtained during the trip to Mars or beyond Mars.

On 29 July, 50 hours before closest approach, the scan platform was pointed to Mars and the scientific instruments turned on. Imaging of Mars began 2 hours later. For the next 41 hours, 49 approach images (plus a 50th fractional image) of Mars were taken through the narrow-angle camera. At 05:03 UT on 31 July the near-encounter phase began, including collection of 26 close-up images. Due to a cooling system failure, channel 1 of the IR spectrometer did not cool sufficiently to allow measurements from 6 to 14 micrometers so no infrared data were obtained over this range. Closest approach occurred at 05:19:07 UT at a distance of 3431 km from the Martian surface. Eleven minutes later Mariner 6 passed behind Mars and reappeared after 25 minutes. X-band occultation data were taken during the entrance and exit phases. Science and imaging data were played back and transmitted over the next few days. The spacecraft was then returned to cruise mode which included engineering and communications tests, star photography TV tests, and UV scans of the Milky Way and an area containing comet 1969-B. Periodic tracking of the spacecraft in its heliocentric orbit was also done.

Mariner 6 returned 49 far encounter and 26 near encounter images of Mars. Close-ups from the near encounter phases covered 20% of the surface between the two spacecraft. The spacecraft instruments measured UV and IR emissions and radio refractivity of the Martian atmosphere. Images showed the surface of Mars to be very different from that of the Moon, in some contrast to the results from Mariner 4. The south polar cap was identified as being composed predominantly of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric surface pressure was estimated at between 6 and 7 mb. Radio science refined estimates of the mass, radius and shape of Mars.

As a historical note, 10 days before the scheduled launch of Mariner 6 while it was mounted on top of the Atlas/Centaur booster, a faulty switch opened the main valves on the Atlas stage. This released the pressure which supported the Atlas structure, and as the booster deflated it began to crumple. Two ground crewman started pressurizing pumps, saving the structure from further collapse. The Mariner 6 spacecraft was removed, put on another Atlas/Centaur, and launched on schedule. The two ground crewman, who had acted at risk of the 12-story rocket collapsing on them, were awarded Exceptional Bravery Medals from NASA.

1971 13:04:00 GMT
NASA Apollo 15 astronauts Scott and Irwin began the first of their three moonwalks, including the first use of the Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV): Dave Scott became the first to drive a "car" on the Moon.

Apollo 15 was the fourth mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth: On 30 July 1971, Apollo 15 Commander David R. Scott and LM pilot James B. Irwin landed in the Hadley Rille/Apennines region of the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM), with CM pilot Alfred M. Worden, 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 2 August, and the astronauts returned to Earth on 7 August.

Apollo 15 was launched on 26 July 1971 on Saturn V SA-510 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The spacecraft was inserted into Earth orbit 11 minutes 44 seconds after liftoff, at 13:45:44 UT, and translunar injection took place at 16:30:03 UT. The CSM separated from the S-IVB stage at 16:56:24 UT, and docked with the LM at 17:07:49 UT, televised using an onboard color camera.

The S-IVB stage was released and sent into a Lunar impact trajectory, impact occurring on 29 July at 20:58:42.9 UT at 1.51 S, 11.81 W with a velocity of 2.58 km/s at a 62 degree angle from the horizontal, 188 kilometers northeast of the Apollo 14 landing site and 355 kilometers northeast of the Apollo 12 site. The impact was detected by both the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 seismometers, left on the moon in November 1969 and February 1971.

A short was discovered in the service propulsion system, and contingency procedures were developed for using the engine. A mid-course correction was performed on 27 July at 18:14:22 UT and another on 29 July at 15:05:15. During the translunar cruise, it was discovered that the LM range/range-rate exterior glass cover had broken and a small water leak had developed in the CM requiring repair and clean up, in part to avoid breathing in the glass shards. The Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) door was jettisoned at 15:40 UT on 29 July, and Lunar orbit insertion took place at 20:05:47 UT. The descent orbit maneuver was executed at 00:13:49 UT on 30 July.

Scott and Irwin entered the LM and the LM-CSM undocking maneuver was initiated at 17:48 UT, but undocking did not take place. Worden found a loose umbilical plug and reconnected it, allowing the LM to separate from the CSM at 18:13:30 UT. The LM fired its descent engine at 22:04:09 UT and landed at 22:16:29 UT on 30 July 1971 in the Mare Imbrium region at the foot of the Apennine mountain range at 26.1 N, 3.6 E, 600 meters north-northwest of the proposed target. The CSM remained in a slightly elliptical orbit from which Worden performed scientific experiments.

About two hours after landing, following cabin depressurization, Scott performed a 33 minute 7 second standup EVA in the upper hatch of the LM, during which he described and photographed the landing site.

The first crew EVA on the Lunar surface began at 13:04 UT 31 July. The crew collected and stowed a contingency sample, unpacked the ALSEP and other experiments, and prepared the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) for operations. Some problems were encountered in the deployment and checkout of the LRV, used for the first time, but they were quickly resolved. The first EVA traverse was to the Apennine mountain front, after which the ALSEP was deployed and activated, and one probe of a Heat Flow experiment was emplaced. A second probe was not emplaced until EVA-2 because of drilling difficulties. The first EVA lasted 6 hours 32 minutes 42 seconds.

The second EVA began at 11:49 UT 1 August. The astronauts made a maintenance check on the LRV, then began the second planned traverse of the mission. On completion of the traverse, Scott and Irwin completed the placement of heat flow experiment probes, collected a core sample, and deployed the American flag. They then stowed the sample container and the film in the LM, completing a second EVA of 7 hours 12 minutes 14 seconds.

The third EVA began at 8:52 UT 2 August, included another traverse, and ended 4 hours 49 minutes 50 seconds later. After the final EVA, Scott performed a televised demonstration of a hammer and feather falling at the same rate in the Lunar vacuum.

The total Apollo 15 Lunar surface EVA time was 18 hours 34 minutes 46 seconds. During the three moonwalks, Scott and Irwin covered 27.9 km, collected 76.8 kg (170 pounds) of rock and soil samples, took photographs, and set up the ALSEP and performed other scientific experiments. This was the first mission to employ the LRV, used to explore regions within 5 km of the LM landing site.

While the Lunar Module was on the Moon, Worden completed 34 Lunar orbits in the CSM, operating SIM experiments and cameras to obtain data concerning the Lunar surface and environment. The SIM equipment included a panoramic camera, gamma ray spectrometer, mapping camera, laser altimeter, and a mass spectrometer. X-ray spectrometer data indicated a richer abundance of aluminum in the highlands, especially on the far side, but greater concentrations of magnesium in the maria.

The LM ascent stage lifted off from the Moon at 17:11:22 UT on 2 August, televised for the first time, after 66 hours, 55 minutes on the Lunar surface. After the LM docked with the CSM at 19:09:47 UT, the Lunar samples, film, and other equipment were transferred from the LM to the CSM. The LM was jettisoned at 01:04:14 UT on 3 August, after a one orbit delay to ensure LM and CSM hatches were completely sealed. The LM impacted the Moon on 3 August 03:03:37.0 UT at 26.36 N, 0.25 E, 93 km west of the Apollo 15 ALSEP site, with an estimated impact velocity of 1.7 km/s at an angle of ~3.2 degrees from horizontal. Its impact was recorded by the Apollo 12, Apollo 14, and Apollo 15 seismometers, left on the Moon during each of those missions.

Experiments were performed from orbit over the next day. After Apollo 15 executed an orbit-shaping maneuver, the scientific subsatellite was spring-launched from the SM SIM bay at 20:13:19 UT on 4 August into a 102.0 x 141.3 km Lunar orbit. The satellite measured interplanetary and Earth magnetic fields near the Moon, and carried charged-particle sensors and equipment to detect variations in Lunar gravity caused by mascons (mass concentrations).

Transearth injection began on the next orbit with a 2 minute, 21 second main engine burn at 21:22:45 UT. On 5 August, Worden carried out the first deep space EVA when he exited the CM and made three trips to the SIM bay at the rear of the SM to retrieve film cannisters and check the equipment. Total EVA time was 38 minutes, 12 seconds.

The CM separated from the SM at 20:18:00 UT on 7 August. During descent, one of the three main parachutes failed to open fully, resulting in a descent velocity of 35 km/hr (21.8 mph), 4.5 km/hr (2.8 mph) faster than planned, causing a hard but safe landing. Apollo 15 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 7 August 1971 at 20:45:53 UT (4:45:53 PM EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 295 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds (12 days 7 hours 12 minutes). The splashdown point was 26 deg 7 min N, 158 deg, 8 min W, 330 miles north of Honolulu, Hawaii and 9.8 km (6.1 mi) from the recovery ship USS Okinawa. The astronauts were carried to the ship by helicopter, and the CM was retrieved and placed on board.

Performance of the spacecraft, the first of the Apollo J-series missions (long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than on previous flights), was excellent for most aspects of the mission. The primary mission goals of exploration of the Hadley-Appenine region, deployment of the ALSEP and other scientific experiments, collection of Lunar samples, surface photography, and photography and other scientific experiments from orbit, and engineering evaluation of new Apollo equipment, particularly the rover, were achieved. Scott, 39, was an Air Force Colonel on his third spaceflight (he'd flown previously on Gemini 8 and Apollo 9), Worden, 39, was an Air Force Major on his first spaceflight, and Irwin, 41, was an Air Force Lt. Colonel also on his first spaceflight.

The Apollo 15 command module "Endeavor" is on display at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.

See also the pages for the Apollo 15 Lunar Module /ALSEP and the Apollo 15 SIVB

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 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 (2014) to have set foot on another solar system body.

Apollo 15 Lunar Module/ALSEP on the Moon, NASA photo

NASA released the famous Face on Mars photo, taken by Viking 1.

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

N. Chernykh discovered asteroids #2402 Satpaev and #2416 Sharonov.

1979 04:04:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-44 from Plesetsk for operation of the long range telephone and telegraph radio communications system in the USSR, and for transmission of television programs to stations in the Orbita network.

1980 15:15:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 36 landed with the crew of Gorbatko and Tuan aboard, returning from the Salyut 6 space station.

1992 09:56:48 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 46 (Atlantis 12, 49th Shuttle mission) to carry the TSS-1 Tethered Satellite System to space, and to deploy EURECA, the European Retrievable Carrier.

STS 46 was launched 31 July 1992, its liftoff delayed 48 seconds at T-5 minutes to allow the orbiter computers to verify the orbiter auxiliary power units were ready to start.

The primary objectives of STS 46 were deployment of the European Space Agency's European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA), and operation of the joint NASA/Italian Space Agency Tethered Satellite System (TSS). The mission was extended one day to complete the science objectives. EURECA was deployed one day later than scheduled because of a problem with its data handling system. After deployment, the spacecraft's thrusters were fired to boost EURECA to its planned operating altitude of about 310 statute miles (499 kilometers). However, thruster firing was initially cut to six minutes instead of the planned 24 minutes because of unexpected attitude data from EURECA. The problem was resolved, and EURECA was boosted to its operational orbit on the sixth day of the mission. The EURECA payload would later be retrieved by STS 57 in 1993.

The TSS deployment was also delayed one day because of EURECA. During TSS deployment, the satellite reached a maximum distance of only 840 feet (256 meters) from the orbiter instead of the planned 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) because of a jammed tether line. After numerous attempts over several days to free the tether, TSS operations were curtailed, and the satellite was stowed for return to Earth.

Secondary payloads were: Evaluation of Oxygen Integration with Materials/Thermal Management Processes (EOIM-III/TEMP 2A-3); Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload (CONCAP II and CONCAP III); IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC); Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Materials Exposure (LDCE); Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS); Pituitary Growth Hormone Cell Function (PHCF); and Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI).

STS 46 ended 8 August 1992 when Atlantis landed on revolution 127 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 10,860 feet (3,310 meters). Rollout time: 66 seconds. Launch weight: 256,031 pounds. Landing weight: 208,806 pounds. Orbit altitude: 230 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, three seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million. STS 46 was the last flight of OV-104 before its scheduled checkout and modification period, which was later extended to include modifications for docking with the Russian Mir space station; OV-104 was shipped to the Rockwell plant in California in October.

The flight crew for STS 46 was: Loren J. Shriver, Commander; Andrew M. Allen, Pilot; Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Mission Specialist 1; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist 2; Claude Nicollier, Mission Specialist 3; Marsha S. Ivins, Mission Specialist 4; Franco Malerba, Payload Specialist 1

1996 19:15:00 GMT
McDonnell-Douglas launched the last DC-XA mission from White Sands, New Mexico, which reached altitude of 1.250 km during the 140 second flight. Landing strut 2 failed to extend, the vehicle tipped over, the LOX tank burned and the vehicle was destroyed.

1996 20:00:06 GMT
Russia launched Progress M-32, an unmanned resupply vessel, from Baikonur to the Mir space station, the first successful launch of a Soyuz-U rocket after two failures.

Russia launched Progress M-32, an unmanned resupply vessel, to the Mir space station on 31 July 1996. It was the first successful launch of a Soyuz-U booster after two successive failures. Progress M-32 docked with Mir at the forward docking port on 2 Aug 1996 22:03:40 GMT, undocked on 18 Aug 1996 09:33:45 GMT in order to free up the docking port. By 29 August 1994 Mir was in a 375 x 390 km x 51.6 deg orbit, while the Progress M-32 cargo ship was flying separately in a 375 x 392 km x 51.6 deg orbit. Progress M-32 redocked with Mir on 3 Sep 1996 09:35:00 GMT at the rear port of the Kvant module, and finally undocked from Mir on 20 Nov 1996 19:51:20 GMT. It was destroyed in reentry on 20 Nov 1996 22:42:25 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.20 days. Total docked time 93.91 days.

1999 09:52:02 GMT
NASA impacted the Lunar Prospector Orbiter on the Moon in an attempt to raise a dust plume.

The Lunar Prospector, launched 7 January 1998, was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and possible deposits of polar ice, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of Lunar outgassing events. Data from the 19 month mission allowed construction of a detailed map of the surface composition of the Moon, and improved the understanding of the origin, evolution, current state, and resources of the Moon. The spacecraft carried 6 experiments: a Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS), a Neutron Spectrometer (NS), a Magnetometer (MAG), an Electron Reflectometer (ER), an Alpha Particle Spectrometer (APS), and a Doppler Gravity Experiment (DGE). The instruments are omnidirectional and require no sequencing. The normal observation sequence was to record and downlink data continuously. The mission ended on 31 July 1999 at 9:52:02 UT (5:52:02 EDT) when Lunar Prospector was deliberately targeted to impact in a permanently shadowed area of a crater near the Lunar south pole. It was hoped that the impact would liberate water vapor from the suspected ice deposits in the crater and that the plume would be detectable from Earth, however, no plume was observed.

2001 08:00:00 GMT
Russia launched the Koronas-F solar observatory from Plesetsk.

Coronas-F (Koronas-F, AUS-SM-KF) was a Russian solar observatory launched on a Tsiklon 3 rocket from Plesetsk 31 July 2001. The sun-synchronous orbit had a period of 94.7 minutes, apogee 540 km, perigee 499 km, and inclination 82.5 degrees. The 2260 kg (fueled mass) spacecraft was to be pointing toward Sun within 10 arc-minutes to conduct a variety of observations: it carried X-ray monitors to locate sources within 1 arc-sec, radio receivers to measure flux and polarization, and particle counters.

* The DIFOS instrument was to monitor fluctuations in light intensity in six optical bands (350, 500, 650, 850, 1,100, and 1,500 nanometer) at a precision of one part in a million, to reveal a spectrum of normal mode seismic oscillations in the Sun.

* The SORS instrument was to monitor solar radio bursts of II, III, and IV types, in the range 0.1-30 MHz, with 0.5 microvolt sensitivity and through 400 frequency channels, with a full spectrum enabled in three seconds.

* The ZENIT instrument was a coronograph to monitor the corona out to six solar radii in the 750-850 nm band, at a resolution of 1 arc-min. A full scan was done in less than a minute.

* The SUFR instrument was a UV radiometer in the 0.1-130 nm band to capture the full disk emission from the Sun, in the dynamic range 0.1-30 erg/sq-cm/sec.

* The VUSS instrument was designed to monitor the intensity of full-disk, 121.6 nm Lyman-Alpha line in a band of 5 nm width, with a dynamic range of 0.1-30 erg/sq-cm/sec.

* The DIAGENESS instrument was to scan the Sun's active regions and flares at five arc-sec resolution in the bands 29.601-33.915, 49.807-53.721, 61.126-67.335 nm at a temporal resolution of 0.1-10 seconds. It was also to monitor the full disk X-ray emissions in the bands 2-8 keV, and 10-160 keV at a temporal resolution of about one second.

* The RESIK instrument was a bent crystal X-ray spectrometer to monitor the bands 11.23-12.93, 12.74-14.42, 14.36-16.30, 16.53-20.29, 21.54- 24.45, 24.80-30.43, 33.69-38.79, 38.21-43.26, and 49.60-60.86 nm. The first seven bands pertain, respectively, to emissions from Ar, Mg, Si, S, Ca, Fe, K, Ni, and the last was a continuum.

* The IRIS experiment aimed to monitor hard X-ray flares in the 2.0-200 keV energy range at temporal resolution of 0.01-2.5 seconds, with a sensitivity of 10 nanoergs/sq-cm/sec. The sensitivity in the 2-15 keV was high enough to capture microflares and precursors in a number of small width channels.

* The HELIKON instrument was to capture high energy X-rays and Gamma rays in the range 10 keV-8 MeV. It carried two detectors, one pointing to the Sun and the other in the anti-solar direction to monitor the energy range in 128 channels, and with 4,096 channels to cover the lower range of 10 keV-1.0 MeV.

* The SKL instrument had three components. The SONG was to measure solar Gamma rays in the 0.03-100 MeV band through a total of 250 channels, the neutrons in the range 3.0-100 MeV through five channels, and electrons in the 11-108 MeV range through six channels. The second component, MKL was to capture protons in the range 1-300 MeV, electrons in the 0.5-12 MeV, protons at >10 MeV, and electrons at >1.3 MeV. The third component, SKI-3 was to ascertain the chemical composition in the Z=1-10 group in the 1.5-20 MeV ions. It had a channel for 1.5-19 MeV protons.

* The RES-K instrument was a X-ray spectroheliograph to provide high-resolution images of the solar disk using the emission lines of FeXXIV and FeXXV in the 18.5 -18.7 nm, and the MgXII line in the 84.1-84.3 nm range. Images in the emission lines covering 1800-2050 nm and 2850-3350 nm were to also be obtained by scanning the range in widths of 0.3 nm. The images were to be at a spatial resolution of six arc-sec. Each full-disk image was to be produced in about six seconds.

* The RPS instrument was an X-ray spectrometer covering the 3-30 keV band in steps of 1.5 keV. The range includes the Fe55 line at 5.9 keV. The detector width was 0.5 sq-cm.

* The SPR-N instrument was a X-ray polarimeter to measure nonthermal/synchrotron emissions in solar flares in the energy ranges 20-40, 40-60, and 60-100 keV range at a sensitivity of one microerg/sq-cm/sec.

More details may be obtained from

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