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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 10

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Born, Albumasar [Ahmad Aboe M Gafar al-Balkhi], Arabic astrologer, astronomer'shar_al-Balkhi

US President James K. Polk signed legislation pased by Congress that chartered "the nation's attic," the Smithsonian Institution.

Asaph Hall first observed a Martian moon, presumably Deimos, but could not confirm his observation because of bad (Earth) weather.

Died (age 48), Otto Lilienthal, German aircraft pioneer, experimented extensively with gliders, died from injuries during a glider test ("To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything.")

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #900 Rosalinde.

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1110 Jaroslawa.

Died, Robert Hutchings Goddard PhD, rocket pioneer, "it has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today, and the reality of tomorrow"

1960 20:38:00 GMT
NASA launched Discoverer 13 into orbit; it returned the first object successfully recovered from space when its return capsule was retrieved the following day.

NASA and the USAF launched X-15 mission # 143 in which Joe Engle achieved a maximum speed of 5713 kph (Mach 5.20), and reached an altitude of 82.601 km.

1966 19:26:00 GMT
NASA launched the Lunar Orbiter 1 photographic mapping mission to the Moon.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft, launched 10 August 1966, was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the Lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in an Earth parking orbit on 10 August 1966 at 19:31 UT and injected into a cislunar trajectory at 20:04 UT. The spacecraft experienced a temporary failure of the Canopus star tracker (probably due to stray sunlight) and overheating during its cruise to the Moon. The star tracker problem was resolved by navigating using the Moon as a reference, and the overheating was abated by orienting the spacecraft 36 degrees off-Sun to lower the temperature.

Lunar Orbiter 1 was injected into an elliptical near-equatorial Lunar orbit on 14 August, 92.1 hours after launch. The initial orbit was 189.1 km x 1866.8 km, had a period of 3 hours 37 minutes and an inclination of 12.2 degrees. On 21 August, perilune was dropped to 58 km, and on 25 August to 40.5 km. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 18-29 August 1966, and readout occurred through 14 September 1966. A total of 42 high resolution and 187 medium resolution frames were taken and transmitted to Earth, covering over 5 million square km of the Moon's surface, accomplishing about 75% of the intended mission, although a number of the earlier high-res photos showed severe smearing. It also took the first two pictures of the Earth ever from the distance of the Moon, the first being taken on 23 August 1966. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Orbit tracking showed a slight "pear-shape" to the Moon based on the gravity field, and no micrometeorite impacts were detected. The spacecraft was tracked until it impacted the Lunar surface on command at 7 degrees N latitude, 161 degrees E longitude (selenographic coordinates) on the Moon's far side on 29 October 1966 on its 577th orbit. The early end to the nominal one year mission was due to the small amount of remaining attitude control gas and other deteriorating conditions, and was executed to avoid transmission interference with Lunar Orbiter 2.

The Lunar Orbiter program consisted of 5 Lunar Orbiters which returned photographs 99% of the surface of the Moon (both the 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.

The Lunar Orbiter program was managed by NASA Langley Research Center and involved building and launching 5 spacecraft to the Moon at a total cost of $163 million. That amount is coincidentally nearly the same as the initial budget ($160 million) for the Hyper-X (X-43) program later conducted jointly by the Langley and Dryden Research Centers, whose original plan was to fly 5 hypersonic aircraft in the Earth's atmosphere. Hyper-X ended up costing $230 million, and only 3 flights were made during its seven year development program.

Lunar Orbiter 1, NASA photo

A daylight meteor grazed the atmosphere, seen from Utah to Canada and tracked by a US satellite during its 100 second passage, the only documented case of a meteor entering Earth's atmosphere and leaving it again.

The 1972 Great Daylight Fireball (US19720810), photographed by James M. Baker

H. E. Schuster discovered asteroid #3398.

NASA's Magellan RADAR mapping satellite went into orbit around Venus.

Magellan, launched 4 May 1989 aboard NASA's shuttle Atlantis, was a unique mission, being the first dedicated US mission to study the surface of Venus in detail, using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Because Magellan was intended to be a low cost mission, major components of the spacecraft were obtained from flight spares from other programs including Galileo, Viking, Voyager, Mariner, Skylab, Ulysses, and even the shuttle. Designed as a follow-up to the mapping portion of the Pioneer Venus mission, Magellan's purpose was to: (1) obtain near-global radar images of Venus' surface with a resolution equivalent to optical imaging of 1 km per line pair; (2) obtain a near-global topographic map with 50 km spatial and 100 m vertical resolution; (3) obtain near-global gravity field data with 700 km resolution and 2-3 milligals (1 gal = 1 cm/s**2) accuracy; and, (4) develop an understanding of the geological structure of the planet, including its density distribution and dynamics.

Magellan reached Venus and went into orbit on 10 August 1990. The initial phase of the mission (Cycle 1) began shortly after orbital insertion about Venus and lasted for eight months (15 September 1990 through 15 May 1991). During this cycle, Magellan collected radar images of about 84% of the planet's surface. Cycle 2 lasted from the end of cycle 1 until 15 January 1992, during which the spacecraft obtained images of the southern polar region and filled numerous gaps left in the cycle 1 information. Cycle 3 began on 24 January 1992 and lasted until 15 September 1992, during which the remaining gaps from cycle 1 were filled in as well as providing data which, in combination with earlier data, could be used to produce stereo images of the surface. Cycle 4 lasted from 15 September 1992 to May 1993 and consisted of gravity data acquisition from the elliptical orbit. An aerobraking maneuver, in which Magellan was dipped into the Venus atmosphere to shed orbital energy and bring the spacecraft into a more circular orbit, was performed from 24 May until 2 August 1993. At the end of aerobraking, the orbit had a periapsis of 180 km, an apoapsis of 540 km, and a period of 94 minutes. Cycle 5 was used to acquire gravity data from this orbit from 3 August 1993 until 29 August 1994, giving high-resolution gravity data for about 95% of the planet. In September 1994, the Windmill experiment took place, in which the solar panels were tilted at an angle so that atmospheric drag put a torque on the craft, which could be measured to give information about the atmospheric density at different altitudes.

Magellan began its final descent into the atmosphere of Venus on 11 October 1994. On 12 October 1994, radio contact with Magellan was lost, and the spacecraft presumably burned up in the atmosphere on 13 or 14 October 1994.

By the end of the mission, over 99% of the planet's surface had been mapped by RADAR with a resolution ten times better than that obtained by the earlier Soviet Venera 15 and 16 missions.

The final Magellan Status Reports can be accessed through

1992 23:08:07 GMT
The TOPEX/Poseidon satellite was launched from Kourou, French Guiana on an Ariane 42P to obtain global measurements of sea-surface heights using RADAR altimetry.

2001 16:10:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 105 (Discovery 30) for the International Space Station Flight 7A.1 flight during which the Expedition Two and Expedition Three crews were transferred.

STS 105 was launched 10 August 2001, and spent 12 days in orbit, with eight of those days docked to the International Space Station, from 12 August through 20 August. While at the orbital outpost, the STS-105 crew attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, transferred supplies and equipment to the station, completed two space walks and deployed a small spacecraft called Simplesat. Discovery delivered the Expedition Three crew, Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, for their extended stay aboard the space station. It returned to Earth with Expedition Two crewmembers Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms who had spent 147 days living on the station.

Mission Specialists Daniel Barry and Patrick Forrester spent a total of 11 hours, 45 minutes outside the ISS during two space walks. The first space walk involved installing the Early Ammonia Servicer and the first external experiment, the Materials International Space Station Experiment, onto the station's hull. The servicer contains spare ammonia that can be used in the space station's cooling systems if needed. MISSE was a NASA/Langley Research Center-managed cooperative endeavor to fly materials and other types of space exposure experiments on the space station. The objective was to develop early, low-cost, non-intrusive opportunities to conduct critical space exposure tests of space materials and components planned for use on future spacecraft. Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, the Materials Laboratory at the Air Force Research Laboratory and Boeing Phantom Works were participants with Langley in the project. The experiments were in four Passive Experiment Containers (PECs) initially developed and used for an experiment on Mir in 1996 during the Shuttle-Mir Program. PECs are suitcase-like containers for transporting experiments via the space shuttle to and from an orbiting spacecraft. Once on orbit and clamped to the host spacecraft, the PECs are opened and serve as racks to expose experiments to the space environment.

During the second space walk, Barry and Forrester strung two 13.7 meter (45 foot) heater cables and installed handrails down both sides of the Destiny Laboratory.

The Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), one of three supplied by the Italian Space Agency, made its second trip to the International Space Station in Discovery's payload bay. Aboard Leonardo were six Resupply Stowage Racks, four Resupply Stowage Platforms, and two new scientific experiment racks for the station's US laboratory Destiny. The two new science racks (EXPRESS Racks 4 and 5) added science capability to the station. EXPRESS stands for Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station. EXPRESS Rack 4 weighed 1,175 pounds (533 kg) and EXPRESS Rack 5 weighed 1,200 pounds (544 kg). The empty weight of each EXPRESS rack is about 785 pounds (356 kg). The Resuppy Stowage Racks and Resupply Stowage Platforms were filled with Cargo Transfer Bags that contained equipment and supplies for the station. The six Resuppply Stowage Racks contained almost 3,200 pounds (1451 kg) of cargo and the four Resupply Stowage Platforms contained about 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of cargo, not including the weight of the Cargo Transfer Bags, the foam packing around the cargo or the straps and fences that hold the bags in place. The total weight of cargo, racks and packing material aboard Leonardo was just over 11,000 pounds (4990 kg), with a total cargo weight of about 6,775 pounds (3073 kg).

Mission Specialist Pat Forrester used the shuttle's robot arm to move the MPLM from the shuttle to the Earth-facing docking port on the station's Unity module. Both crews worked together to haul tons of supplies and equipment from Leonardo to storage places within the station, then filled Leonardo with unneeded station equipment and trash for return to Earth. Forrester then used the robot arm to reberth the module in Discovery's payload bay for the trip home.

Other payloads on STS 105 were part of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility Shuttle Small Payloads Project. The SSPP system utilizes payload carrier systems such as the Hitchhiker, Getaway Specials and Space Experiment Modules to provide a low cost scientific research environment. SSPP payloads on STS-105 include the Hitchhiker payload Simplesat, the Cell Growth in Microgravity GAS Canister (G-708), the Microgravity Smoldering Combustion experimet (MSC), and the Hitchiker Experiment Advancing Technology Space Experiment Module-10 payload.

STS 105 ended 22 August 2001 when Discovery landed on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, following a one-orbit wave-off due to a rain shower that popped up off the end of the landing strip. Mission duration: 11 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes, 52 seconds. Orbit altitude: 122 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees.

The flight crew for STS 105 was: Scott J. Horowitz, Commander; Frederick W. "Rick" Sturckow, Pilot; Patrick G. Forrester, Mission Specialist 1; Daniel T. Barry, Mission Specialist 2; Expedition Three crew flew to the ISS (returned on STS 108): Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., ISS Commander; Vladimir N. Dezhurov, Soyuz Commander; Mikhail Tyurin, Flight Engineer; Expedition Two crew returned from the ISS (launched on STS 102): Yury V. Usachev, ISS Commander; James S. Voss, Flight Engineer; Susan J. Helms, Flight Engineer.

2014 18:16:00 GMT
NASA's ISEE-3/ICE probe passed the Moon about 15,600 km (9600 mi) from the surface and continued in heliocentric orbit, to return near Earth in about 17 years.

The Explorer-class heliocentric spacecraft, International Sun-Earth Explorer 3, was part of the mother/daughter/heliocentric mission (ISEE 1, 2, and 3). The purposes of the mission were: (1) to investigate solar-terrestrial relationships at the outermost boundaries of the Earth's magnetosphere; (2) to examine in detail the structure of the solar wind near the Earth and the shock wave that forms the interface between the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere; (3) to investigate motions of and mechanisms operating in the plasma sheets; and, (4) to continue the investigation of cosmic rays and solar flare emissions in the interplanetary region near 1 AU.

The three spacecraft carried a number of complementary instruments for making measurements of plasmas, energetic particles, waves, and fields. The mission thus extended the investigations of previous IMP spacecraft. The launch of three coordinated spacecraft in this mission permitted the separation of spatial and temporal effects. ISEE 3, launched 12 August 1978, had a spin axis normal to the ecliptic plane and a spin rate of about 20 rpm. It was initially placed into an elliptical halo orbit about the Lagrangian libration point (L1) 235 Earth radii on the sunward side of the Earth, where it continuously monitored changes in the near-Earth interplanetary medium. In conjunction with the mother and daughter spacecraft, which had eccentric geocentric orbits, this mission explored the coupling and energy transfer processes between the incident solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. In addition, the heliocentric ISEE 3 spacecraft also provided a near-Earth baseline for making cosmic-ray and other planetary measurements for comparison with corresponding measurements from deep-space probes. ISEE 3 was the first spacecraft to use the halo orbit.

In 1982, ISEE 3 began the magnetotail and comet encounter phases of its mission. A maneuver was conducted on 10 June 1982 to remove the spacecraft from the halo orbit around the L1 point and place it in a transfer orbit involving a series of passages between Earth and the L2 (magnetotail) Lagrangian libration point. After several passes through the Earth's magnetotail, with gravity assists from Lunar flybys in March, April, September and October of 1983, a final close Lunar flyby (119.4 km above the Moon's surface) on 22 December 1983 ejected the spacecraft out of the Earth-Moon system and into a heliocentric orbit ahead of the Earth, on a trajectory intercepting that of Comet Giacobini-Zinner. At this time, the spacecraft was renamed International Cometary Explorer (ICE). A total of fifteen propulsive maneuvers (four of which were planned in advance) and five Lunar flybys were needed to carry out the transfer from the halo orbit to an escape trajectory from the Earth-Moon system into a heliocentric orbit.

The primary scientific objective of ICE was to study the interaction between the solar wind and a cometary atmosphere. As planned, the spacecraft traversed the plasma tail of Comet Giacobini-Zinner on 11 September 1985, and made in situ measurements of particles, fields, and waves. It also transited between the Sun and Comet Halley in late March 1986, when other spacecraft (Giotto, Planet-A, MS-T5, VEGA) were also in the vicinity of Comet Halley on their early March comet rendezvous missions. ICE became the first spacecraft to directly investigate two comets. ICE data from both cometary encounters are included in the International Halley Watch archive at

Tracking and telemetry support were provided by the DSN (Deep Space Network) starting in January 1984. The ISEE-3/ICE bit rate was nominally 2048 bps during the early part of the mission, and 1024 bps during the Giacobini-Zinner comet encounter. The bit rate then successively dropped to 512 bps (on 9/12/85), 256 bps (on 5/1/87), 128 bps (on 1/24/89) and finally to 64 bps (on 12/27/91).

As of January 1990, ICE was in a 355 day heliocentric orbit with an aphelion of 1.03 AU, a perihelion of 0.93 AU and an inclination of 0.1 degree.

An update to the ICE mission was approved by NASA headquarters in 1991. It defined a Heliospheric mission for ICE consisting of investigations of coronal mass ejections in coordination with ground-based observations, continued cosmic ray studies, and special period observations such as when ICE and Ulysses were on the same solar radial line. By May 1995, ICE was being operated with only a low duty cycle, with some support being provided by the Ulysses project for data analysis. Termination of operations of ICE/ISEE3 was authorized 5 May 1997.

In 1999, NASA made brief contact with ICE to verify its carrier signal.

On 18 September 2008, NASA located ICE with the help of KinetX using the Deep Space Network after discovering it had not been powered off after the 1999 contact. A status check revealed that all but one of its 13 experiments were still functioning, and it still had enough propellant for 150 m/s (490 ft/s) of Δv (velocity change).

In early 2014, space enthusiasts started discussing reviving ICE when it approached the Earth in August. However, officials with the Goddard Space Flight Center said the Deep Space Network equipment required for transmitting signals to the spacecraft had been decommissioned in 1999, and was too expensive to replace.

On 15 May 2014, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project successfully raised $125,000 through crowdfunding to re-establish communications with the probe.

On 29 May 2014, the reboot team commanded the probe to switch into Engineering Mode to begin to broadcast telemetry. Project members, using the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex DSS-24 antenna, achieved synchronous communication on 26 June and obtained the four ranging points needed to refine the spacecraft's orbital parameters, data needed to calculate maneuvers required to bring the satellite out of heliocentric orbit. The reboot project successfully fired the thrusters on 2 July for the first time since 1987. They spun up the spacecraft to its nominal roll rate, in preparation for the upcoming trajectory correction maneuver in mid-July. However, a longer sequence of thrusters firings on 8 July failed, apparently due to a loss of the nitrogen gas used to pressurize the fuel tanks. The ISEE-3 Reboot Team announced that all attempts to change orbit using the ISEE-3 propulsion system had failed on 24 July. They began shutting down propulsion components to maximize the electrical power available for the science experiments.

In late July 2014, ISEE-3 Reboot Project announced the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission would gather data as the spacecraft flies by the Moon on August 10 and continues in heliocentric orbit. With five of the 13 instruments on the spacecraft still working, the science possibilities include listening for gamma ray bursts, where observations from additional locations in the solar system can be valuable. The team plans to acquire data from as much of ISEE-3's 300-day orbit as possible and the project is recruiting additional receiving sites around the globe to improve diurnal coverage. They may upload additional commands while the spacecraft is close to Earth, after which they will mostly be receiving data.

On 10 August 2014, ICE passed the Moon at a distance of approximately 15,600 km (9600 mi) from the surface and continued into heliocentric orbit. It will return to Earth's vicinity in about 17 years.

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