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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 August 5

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Born, Johan Lulofs, Dutch physicist, philosopher, astronomer, promoted Copernicus' heliocentric world view by translating important documents to Dutch

A consortium led by Cyrus West Field completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. It operated for less than a month.

The spectrum of a comet was observed for the first time, by Giovanni Donati.

Born, Konrad Dannenberg, German guided missile propulsion expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Deputy Manager of NASA's Saturn program (1960), successfully developed the largest rocket ever built (Saturn V)

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #955 Alstede.

Born, Neil A. Armstrong (at Wapakoneta, Ohio, USA), X-15 pilot, NASA astronaut (Gemini 8, Apollo 11), member of first crew to dock in space, first person to step onto the Moon (deceased)

Neil Alden Armstrong (5 August 1930 - 25 August 2012) was the first human in known recorded history to walk on the surface of another planetary body, stepping onto the surface of the Moon at 0256 GMT on 21 July 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission. He was also a member of the crew of the first spaceship to dock in space (Gemini 8), and a test pilot with an extensive record before being selected as an astronaut in 1962.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, NASA photo

Born, Leonid Denisovich Kizim (at Krasny Liman, Donezk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), cosmonaut (Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Soyuz T-15/Mir), member of first crew to fly between two space stations in one mission (Soyuz T-15 between Mir, Salyut 7)

United Technologies fired a segmented solid propellant rocket engine which developed over 200,000 pounds of thrust, and contained the single largest piece of propellant made in the US to date.

A segmented solid propellent Titan 3C rocket engine was fired 5 August 1961 by United Technology Corporation at Sunnyvale, California, generating over 200,000 pounds of thrust in an 80 second firing. Developed under NASA contract for the DynaSoar program, the center section of the engine contained over 55,000 pounds of propellant, the largest single piece manufactured to that date in the United States.

The first quasar identification by radio was made during a Lunar occultation of radio source 3C273. A faint star-like object with a jet and unusual emission lines in its spectra was photographed at the position.

The first full duration ground test firing of the Saturn S-IC stage (the first stage of the Saturn V Moon rocket) was conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

The Saturn V's first stage, the S-IC stage, made a "perfect" full duration static firing by burning for the programmed 2.5 minutes at its full 33,360 kilonewton (7.5 million pound) thrust in a test conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on 5 August 1965. The test model demonstrated its steering capability on command from the blockhouse after 100 seconds had elapsed. The test consumed 2.133 million liters (537,000 gallons) of kerosene and liquid oxygen.

Saturn S-IC stage static test firing, NASA photo

1967 12:48:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's Lunar Orbiter 5 went into orbit around the Moon.

Lunar Orbiter 5, the last of the Lunar Orbiter series, launched 1 August 1967, was designed to take additional Apollo and Surveyor landing site photographs, and to take broad survey images of unphotographed parts of the Moon's far side. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data, and was used to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program. The Deep Space Net Tracking Station at Woomera, Australia, acquired the spacecraft about 50 minutes after liftoff. Signals indicated that all systems were performing normally and that temperatures were within acceptable limits. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory, and on 5 August 1967 was injected into an elliptical near polar Lunar orbit 194.5 km x 6023 km with an inclination of 85 degrees and a period of 8 hours 30 minutes. On 7 August, the perilune was lowered to 100 km, and on 9 August the orbit was lowered to 99 km x 1499 km with a 3 hour 11 minute period. The photographic portion of the mission ended on 18 August.

The spacecraft took its first photograph of the moon at 6 August 7:22 AM EDT. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 6-18 August 1967, and readout occurred until 27 August 1967. A total of 633 high resolution and 211 medium resolution frames at resolution down to 2 meters were acquired, bringing the cumulative photographic coverage by the 5 Lunar Orbiters to 99% of the Moon's surface. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. The spacecraft was tracked until it impacted the Lunar surface on command at 2.79 degrees S latitude, 83 degrees W longitude (selenographic coordinates) on 31 January 1968.

The main bus of the Lunar Orbiter was approximately a truncated cone, 1.65 meters tall and 1.5 meters in diameter at the base. The spacecraft was comprised of three decks supported by trusses and an arch. The equipment deck at the base of the craft held the battery, transponder, flight progammer, inertial reference unit (IRU), Canopus star tracker, command decoder, multiplex encoder, traveling wave tube amplifier (TWTA), and the photographic system. Four solar panels were mounted to extend out from this deck with a total span across of 3.72 meters. Also extending from the base of the spacecraft were a high gain antenna on a 1.32 meter boom, and a low gain antenna on a 2.08 meter boom. Above the equipment deck, the middle deck held the velocity control engine, propellant, oxidizer and pressurization tanks, Sun sensors, and micrometeoroid detectors. The third deck consisted of a heat shield to protect the spacecraft from firing the velocity control engine. The nozzle of the engine protruded through the center of the shield. Mounted on the perimeter of the top deck were four attitude control thrusters.

375 W of power was provided by the four solar arrays containing 10,856 n/p solar cells, which could directly run the spacecraft and also charge the 12 amp-hr nickel-cadmium battery. The batteries were used during the brief periods of occultation when no solar power was available. Propulsion for major maneuvers was provided by the gimballed velocity control engine, a hypergolic 100-pound-thrust Marquardt rocket motor. Three-axis stabilization and attitude control were provided by four one-lb nitrogen gas jets. Navigational knowledge was provided by five Sun sensors, a Canopus star sensor, and the IRU equipped with internal gyros. Communications were via a 10 W transmitter and the directional 1 meter diameter high gain antenna for transmission of photographs and a 0.5 W transmitter and omnidirectional low gain antenna for other communications. Both antennas operated in the S-band at 2295 MHz. Thermal control was maintained by a multilayer aluminized mylar and dacron thermal blanket which enshrouded the main bus, special paint, insulation, and small heaters.

The Lunar Orbiter program was managed by NASA Langley Research Center and consisted of building and launching 5 Lunar Orbiters which returned photography of 99% of the surface of the Moon (near and far side) with resolution down to 1 meter. Altogether, the Orbiters returned 2180 high resolution and 882 medium resolution frames. The micrometeoroid experiments recorded 22 impacts showing the average micrometeoroid flux near the Moon was about two orders of magnitude greater than in interplanetary space but slightly less than the near Earth environment. The radiation experiments confirmed that the design of Apollo hardware would protect the astronauts from average and greater-than-average short term exposure to solar particle events. The use of Lunar Orbiters for tracking to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program was successful, with three Lunar Orbiters (2, 3, and 5) being tracked simultaneously from August to October 1967. The Lunar Orbiters were all eventually commanded to crash on the Moon before their attitude control gas ran out so they would not present navigational or communications hazards to later Apollo flights.

1969 05:00:49 GMT
NASA's Mariner 7 flew by Mars at a distance of 3430 km.

Mariner 7 was launched on a direct-ascent trajectory to Mars from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 36A on an Atlas SLV-3C/Centaur (AC19, spacecraft 69-4) on 27 March 1969. On 8 April 1969 a midcourse correction was made by firing the hydrazine moter for 7.6 seconds. On 8 May Mariner 7 was put on gyro control to avoid attitude control problems which were affecting Mariner 6. On 31 July telemetry from Mariner 7 was suddenly lost and the spacecraft was commanded to switch to the low-gain antenna. It was later successfully switched back to the high-gain antenna. The anomaly is believed to have been caused by leaking gases, perhaps from a battery which later failed a few days before the Mars encounter.

Mariner 6 and 7 comprised a 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. 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.

At 09:32:33 UT on 2 August 1969 Mariner 7 began the far-encounter sequence involving imaging of Mars with the narrow angle camera. Over the next 57 hours, ending about 5 hours before closest approach, 93 images of Mars were taken and transmitted. The spacecraft was then reprogrammed as a result of analysis of Mariner 6 images. The new sequence called for the spacecraft to go further south than originally planned, take more near-encounter pictures, and collect more scientific data on the lighted side of Mars. Data from the dark side of Mars were to be transmitted directly back to Earth but there would be no room on the digital recorder for backup due to the added dayside data. At closest approach, 0500:49 UT on 5 August, Mariner 7 was 3430 km (2130 miles) above the Martian surface. Over this period, 33 near-encounter images were taken. About 19 minutes after the flyby, the spacecraft went behind Mars and emerged roughly 30 minutes later. 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.

The total data return for Mariners 6 and 7 was 800 million bits. Mariner 6 returned 49 far encounter and 26 near encounter images of Mars, and Mariner 7 returned 93 far and 33 near encounter images. Close-ups from the near encounter phases covered 20% of the surface. 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.

During EVA Apollo 15-6, astronaut Alfred Worden made the first deep space EVA, retrieving film cartridges from the Service Module.

1973 17:45:48 GMT
USSR launched the Mars 6 atmospheric probe, the first spacecraft to return data from Mars' atmosphere.

Mars 4, 5, 6, and 7 comprised an associated group of Soviet spacecraft launched towards Mars in July and August of 1973. The Mars 6 interplanetary station consisted of a flyby bus and an attached descent module. The descent module separated from the bus on reaching Mars and was designed to enter the Martian atmosphere and make in-situ studies of the Mars atmosphere and surface.

Mars 6 successfully lifted off 5 August 1973 into an intermediate Earth orbit on a Proton SL-12/D-1-e booster, then was launched into a Mars transfer trajectory. Total fueled launch mass of the lander and bus was 3260 kg. After one course correction burn on 13 August 1973, it reached Mars on 12 March 1974. The descent module separated from the bus at a distance of 48,000 km from Mars. The bus continued on into a heliocentric orbit after passing within 1600 km of Mars. The descent module entered the atmosphere at 09:05:53 UT at a speed of 5.6 km/s. The parachute opened at 09:08:32 UT after the module had slowed its speed to 600 m/s by aerobraking. During this time the craft was collecting data and transmitting it directly to the bus for immediate relay to Earth. Contact with the descent module was lost at 09:11:05 UT in "direct proximity to the surface", probably either when the retrorockets fired or when it hit the surface at an estimated 61 m/s. Mars 6 landed at 23.90 S, 19.42 W in the Margaritifer Sinus region of Mars. The landed mass was 635 kg. The descent module transmitted 224 seconds of data before transmissions ceased, the first data returned from the atmosphere of Mars. Unfortunately, much of the data were unreadable due to a flaw in a computer chip which led to degradation of the system during its journey to Mars.

The Mars 6 Descent Module carried a panoramic telephotometer to image the Martian surface around the lander, atmospheric temperature, pressure, density, and wind sensors, an accelerometer to measure atmospheric density during the descent, a mass spectrometer to estimate atmospheric composition, a radio altimeter, an activation analysis experiment to study soil composition, and mechanical properties soil sensors. The flyby module contained a telephotometer to image Mars, a Lyman alpha sensor to search for hydrogen in the upper atmosphere, a magnetometer, an ion trap and narrow angle electrostatic plasma sensor to study the solar wind and its interaction with Mars, solar cosmic ray sensors, micrometeorite sensors, and a French-supplied solar radiometer to measure solar long-wavelength radio emissions. It was also equipped to perform a radio occultation experiment to profile the atmosphere and ionosphere.

Data returned by the Mars 6 descent module allowed a profile of tropospheric structure from the base of the stratosphere at 25 km altitude at 150 K to the surface at 230 K and atmospheric density from 82 km to 12 km. A surface pressure of 6 mb and temperature of (230 K) -43 C were measured. Instruments also indicated "several times" more atmospheric water vapor than previously reported. The mass spectrometer data were stored on-board during the descent and scheduled to be transmitted after landing and were therefore lost. The current to the vacuum pump was transmitted as an engineering parameter, however, and a steep increase in current was found. It was hypothesized to indicate an inert gas which could not be removed by the pump, leading to an estimate of argon abundance in the atmosphere of 25% to 45%. (The actual value is now known to be about 1.6%.) The Mars 6 flyby bus performed a radio occultation experiment and the results, in concert with results from Mars 4 and 5 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.

USSR Mars 6 probe, photo courtesy of NASA

ESA's HEOS A2 probe re-entered the atmosphere.

HEOS 2, launched 31 January 1972, was a spin-stabilized spacecraft with a highly eccentric orbit whose apogee occurred at high latitude. Its primary scientific mission was the investigation of interplanetary space and the high-latitude magnetosphere and its boundary in the region around the northern neutral point. HEOS 2 provided new data on the sources and acceleration mechanisms of particles found in the trapped radiation belts and in the polar precipitation regions and auroral zones. It also monitored solar activity and cosmic radiation. The satellite carried a magnetometer and particle detectors which covered a broad range from thermal to cosmic-ray energies. The satellite had three antennas to study extreme low frequency (ELF) waves and carried a sensitive micrometeorite detector. The spacecraft functioned normally until it reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 5 August 1974.

H. L. Giclas discovered asteroid #2118 Flagstaff.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3402 Wisdom.

Space Services, Inc attempted to launch its Percheron low cost orbital launch vehicle from Matagorda Island, but the vehicle exploded on the launch pad due to liquid oxygen tank overpressurization.

Space Services, Inc of Houston, Texas, attempted to launch its Percheron low cost orbital launch vehicle from Matagorda Island on 5 August 1981. However, failure of a liquid oxygen valve led to over-pressurization of the oxidizer tank, collapse of the liquid oxygen to kerosene tank bulkhead; intermixing of the propellants, and an on-pad explosion, without a lift-off. The vehicle was built by GCH, Inc (Gary C. Hudson), and featured a modular design using liquid oxygen-kerosene stages 18 meters long and 1.2 meters in diameter, with an engine producing 27,300 kgf of thrust. Following failure of this first test, the satellite launch project sank for lack of further investors and customers.

Died, Bartholomeus J. "Bart" Bok, Dutch/American astronomer (Milky Way)

1983 09:20:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1487, a maneuverable Resurs high resolution photo surveillance satellite which returned a film capsule. It also performed Earth resource tasks, which were officially its primary duties.

1983 20:29:00 GMT
NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan) launched Sakura 2B from Tanegashima, for domestic satellite communications and development of commsat technology, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 136 deg E 1983-1989, 128 deg E 1989-1990.

1987 06:37:00 GMT
China launched the FSW-0 No. 9 (PRC 20) Fanhui Shi Weixing recoverable satellite on a Chang Zheng 2C booster from Jiuquan which carried microgravity experiments. The return capsule was recovered on 10 August after five days in space.

1988 07:28:00 GMT
China launched the FSW-1 No. 2 (PRC 23) recoverable satellite on a Chang Zheng 2C (Long March) booster from Jiuquan with a German crystal growth experiment in its recoverable capsule. The experiment's results were marred by a hard landing.

1995 11:10:00 GMT
South Korea's Mugunghwa 1 (Koreasat 1) communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida into geosynchronous orbit.

South Korea's Mugunghwa 1 (Koreasat 1) communications satellite was launched 5 August 1995 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a Delta 7925 which suffered a first stage solid rocket motor (SRM) failure. It carried 15 Ku-band transponders to provide TV coverage for South Korea and other Asian countries. The satellite had to be boosted into geosynchronous orbit by the satellite's thrusters following the Delta failure that left the satellite in low Earth orbit. The unplanned use of satellite propellant in the launch cut the usable satellite lifetime by approximately 50 percent. Mugunghwa 1 was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 116 deg E 1995-1999. As of 5 September 2001, it was at 47.22 deg E drifting 0.022 deg E per day.

1998 15:35:53 GMT
Russia launched Soyuz TM-26 from Baikonur for Mir Expedition EO-24.

Soyuz TM-26 was a Russian spacecraft which ferried cosmonauts and supplies to the Mir space station. It was launched on 5 August 1998 by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome as Mir Expedition EO-24. The main mission was to transport two specially trained cosmonauts, Anatoliy Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, to repair or salvage the troubled space station. Soyuz TM-26 docked with Mir on 7 August under manual control. Over the next six months, the crew undertook seven internal and external spacewalks to repair the crippled space station. They repaired the power cable and harness/connectors in the severely damaged SPEKTR module and restored much of the lost power. They also repaired and replaced the oxygen generators in Mir. The hole(s) in the SPEKTR module which caused total depressurization of the station could not be located during their "space walk" inside that module. Repairing or replacing the segments of the solar panels on SPEKTR and sealing the hole(s) was delayed until later missions.

Solovyov and Vinogradov, together with French astronaut Eyharts (launched aboard Soyuz TM-27), undocked from the forward port on Mir at 05:52 GMT on 19 February 1998, fired their deorbit engines at 08:16 GMT, and landed in Kazakstan at 50 deg 11 N, 67 deg 31 E the same day.

Scaled Composites/Mojave Aerospace flew White Knight Flight 2 during the SpaceShipOne X-Prize development program for flying qualities assessment and basic performance evaluation, with envelope expansion to 15,000 feet and 140 knots.

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