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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 16

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Died, Jacob Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician, the first person to develop the technique for solving separable differential equations, an early researcher in probability theory

N. R. Pogson discovered asteroid #46 Hestia.

US President James Buchanan and Britain's Queen Victoria exchanged messages inaugurating the first transatlantic telegraph line.

J. C. Watson discovered asteroid #133 Cyrene.

Born, Hugo Gernsback, science fiction writer

Hugo Gernsback (16 August 1884 – 19 August 1967) was responsible for science fiction becoming an independent literary form. Science fiction writing awards are now given as "Hugo" awards in his honor.

C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #249 Ilse.

Died, Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, chemist, inventor (Bunsen burner)

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #687 Tinette.

Died, J. Norman Lockyer, English astronomer and physicist, discovered helium in the Sun, founded Nature magazine

G. Shajn discovered asteroids #1057 Wanda and #1709 Ukraina.

Born, Stuart Allen "Smokey" Roosa (at Durango, Colorado, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (Apollo 14) (deceased)

Stuart Allen Roosa (16 August 1933 - 12 December 1994) was a NASA astronaut who was the command module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission. The mission lasted from 31 January to 9 February 1971 and was the third mission to land astronauts (Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell) on the Moon. While Shepard and Mitchell spent two days on the Lunar surface, Roosa conducted experiments from orbit in the command module "Kitty Hawk." Roosa died of viral pneumonia, a complication of pancreatitis.

Astronaut Smokey Roosa, NASA photo

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1692 Subbotina.

Born, Oleg Grigoryevich Kononenko (at Samarskoye, Rostov Oblast, Russian SFSR), Buran test pilot, Soviet cosmonaut candidate (Buran Group - 1978) (deceased)

Born, Valeri Viktorovich Ryumin (at Komsomolsk-na-Amurye, Khabarovsk Kray, Russian SFSR), cosmonaut (Soyuz 25, Salyut 6 EO-3, Salyut 6 EO-4, STS 91), 371.75 total days in space, married to cosmonaut Yelena Kondakova

The "Rockair" technique (a research rocket launched from an aircraft) was first successfully demonstrated by an ONR and University of Maryland team, launching a folded-fin aerial rocket (FFAR) to 180,000 feet from a Navy F2H2 off Wallops Island.

Died, Irving Langmuir, inventor (tungsten filament lamp, Nobel 1932 "for his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry")

Born, Peter "Jeff" K. Wisoff PhD (at Norfolk, Virginia, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 57, STS 68, STS 81, STS 92), married to astronaut Tammy Jernigan

Astronaut Jeff (Peter J. K.) Wisoff, NASA photo

Joseph Kittinger parachuted from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,330 m), setting three records that stood until Felix Baumgartner broke them 14 October 2012: high-altitude jump, free-fall, and fastest speed by a human without an aircraft.

A Saturn V F-1 rocket engine was fired at Edwards Air Force Base. The test was terminated after only one and one-half seconds, but the engine had already built up one million pounds of thrust.

1961 03:21:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer 12 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to collect radiation and solar wind data.

Explorer 12, launched 16 August 1961, was a spin-stabilized, solar powered spacecraft instrumented to measure cosmic-ray particles, trapped particles, solar wind protons, and magnetospheric and interplanetary magnetic fields. It was the first of the S 3 series of spacecraft, which also included Explorers 14, 15, and 26. 16-channel PFM/PM time-division multiplexed telemetry was used. The time required to sample the 16 channels (one frame period) was 0.324 seconds. Half of the channels were used to convey eight-level digital information, and the other channels were used for analog information. During ground processing of the telemetered data, the analog information was digitized with an accuracy of 1/100th of full scale. One analog channel was subcommutated in a 16-frame-long pattern and was used to telemeter spacecraft temperatures, power system voltages, currents, etc. A digital solar aspect sensor measured the spin period and phase, digitized to 0.041 seconds, and the angle between the spin axis and sun direction to about 3 degree intervals. The spacecraft functioned well until 6 December 1961 when it ceased transmitting data, apparently as a result of failures in the power system. Good data were recorded for approximately 90% of the active lifetime of the spacecraft. The initial spin rate was 28.0 rpm, and the spin axis direction was right ascension 48 deg, declination -28 deg. The direction was nearly constant with time, and the spin rate slowly increased with time to 34.3 rpm. Apogee direction varied from about 1200 h to 0600 h local time.

Explorer 12, NASA artwork

1968 11:31:00 GMT
The ESSA 7 weather satellite was launched from Vandenburg, California, for the US Environmental Science Service Administration.

ESSA 7, launched 16 August 1968, was a sun-synchronous meteorological satellite designed to take and record daytime Earth cloud pictures on a global basis for subsequent playback to a ground acquisition facility. The spacecraft was also capable of providing worldwide measurements of reflected solar and long-range radiation leaving the Earth. The spacecraft had essentially the same configuration as that of a TIROS spacecraft, i.e., an 18-sided right prism, 107 cm across opposite corners and 56 cm high, with a reinforced baseplate carrying most of the subsystems and a cover assembly (hat). Electric power was provided by approximately 10,000 1 by 2 cm solar cells mounted on the cover assembly and by 21 nickel-cadmium batteries. Two redundant Advanced Vidicon Camera System (AVCS) cameras were mounted on opposite sides of the spacecraft, with their optical axes perpendicular to the spin axis. Two sets of flat plate radiometers were also suspended on opposite sides of the satellite, beneath the edge of the baseplate. A pair of crossed-dipole command receiver antennas projected out and down from the baseplate. A monopole telemetry and tracking antenna extended out from the top of the cover assembly. The satellite spin rate was controlled by means of a Magnetic Attitude Spin Coil (MASC), with the spin axis maintained normal to the orbital plane (cartwheel orbit mode) to within plus or minus 1 degree. The MASC was a current-carrying coil mounted in the cover assembly. The internal magnetic field induced by the current interacted with the Earth's magnetic field to provide the torque necessary to maintain a desired spin rate of 9.225 rpm. One AVCS camera failed almost immediately after launch. The radiometer experiment failed on 23 June 1969, and the remaining camera system failed on 19 July 1969. The spacecraft was deactivated on 10 March 1970, after being left on for engineering purposes.

J. Gibson discovered asteroids #1837 Osita and #2309 Mr. Spock.

1971 18:39:00 GMT
France's Eole 1 experimental weather satellite was launched from Wallops Island, Virginia, on a Scout B rocket. In orbit, it received meteorological data from a balloon network.

Martin Marietta received the production contract for the Shuttle external fuel tanks, using facilities built for Saturn V first stage construction. By 1996, the contract would total $6.7 billion and cover production of 120 external tanks.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2605 Sahade.

K. Olofsson discovered asteroid #3573.

1984 09:50:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1590 landsat from Plesetsk, a maneuverable high resolution photo surveillance satellite which returned a film capsule, allegedly to investigate natural resources for the USSR economy, and international cooperation.

1984 14:48:00 GMT
The international AMPTE mission was launched to study access of solar-wind ions to the magnetosphere, convective-diffusive transport and energization of magnetospheric particles, and interactions of plasmas in space.

The international AMPTE (Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers) mission was launched 16 August 1984 to study access of solar-wind ions to the magnetosphere, convective-diffusive transport and energization of magnetospheric particles, and interactions of plasmas in space.

The German AMPTE-IRM (Ion Release Module) released barium and lithium ions into the magnetosphere for detection by all three subsatellites. It conducted scientific research on the Earth's magnetosphere and plasma physics, in particular active experimentation by releasing ion clouds of lithium or barium (total of 7) in and outside the magnetosphere, and creation of an artificial comet (1 barium cloud inside the magnetosheath). In situ diagnosis and experimentation was performed in conjunction with the simultaneously launched satellites CCE (United States) and UKS (United Kingdom).

The IRM spacecraft was spin-stabilized at 15 rpm. Its spin axis was initially in the ecliptic plane, but later it was adjusted with magnetic torqueing to be at right angles to the ecliptic. The power system was a 60 W solar array with redundant batteries. There was a redundant S-band telemetry and telecommand system. Telemetry rates could be chosen between 1 and 8 kbps. For injection into the final orbit, the IRM carried its own kick stage. In addition to the ion releases, the instruments on board the spacecraft monitored the ambient magnetosphere, but with the data acquisition confined to the passes that could be tracked in real time from Germany.


The British AMPTE-UKS (UK Subsatellite) was a magnetosphere research satellite which detected tracer ions released into the magnetosphere by the IRM.

The UKS served as a subsatellite of the IRM spacecraft. Its purpose was to help distinguish between spatial structure and temporal changes in the plasma phenomena initiated by ion releases from the IRM and in the natural magnetospheric environment. Measured quantities were similar to those of the IRM and include magnetic fields, positive ions, electrons, plasma waves, and modulations in ions and electrons. The spacecraft was spin-stabilized at 12 rpm and employed S-band communications. It carried a cold gas propulsion system and a VHF radar system for station keeping with the IRM normally at a distance of a few hundred kilometers.


The American AMPTE-CCE (Charge Composition Explorer) spacecraft was instrumented to detect those lithium and barium tracer ions from the IRM releases that were transported into the magnetosphere within the CCE orbit. The spacecraft was spin-stabilized at 10 rpm, with its spin axis in the equatorial plane, and offset from the Earth-Sun line by about 20 degrees. It could adjust attitude with both magnetic torquing and cold gas thrusters. The CCE used a 2.E8-bit tape recorder and redundant 2.5-W S-band transponders. The spacecraft battery was charged by a 140-W solar array. The CCE encountered command module/power supply problems beginning in 1989, and failed as of 12 July 1989.


Died, Albin Wittmann, US German Rocket Team engineer after World War II, Head of Electrical Systems Analsyis Branch, Quality Division, NASA MSFC (1960), US patent 3359132 19 Dec 1967 "Method of coating circuit paths on printed circuit boards with solder"

1990 09:55:00 GMT
USSR launched the Resurs F-8 landsat from Plesetsk for investigation of the natural resources of the Earth in the interests of various branches of the USSR national economy, solution of problems relating to ecology, and international cooperation.

2001 13:56:00 GMT
During EVA STS-105-1, Discovery astronauts Barry and Forrester transferred the Early Ammonia Servicer (EAS) from the payload bay ICC carrier to the ISS P6 truss, and attached two MISSE materials exposure experiments to the outside of the Quest airlock.

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.

2002 09:23:00 GMT
During EVA ISS EO-5-1, astronauts Korzun and Whitson attached six debris protection shields on the Zvezda module. The first attempt was called off because of a misconfigured spacesuit oxygen valve. Due to the late start, some tasks were deferred.

GOES 12 was decommissioned after twelve years of its projected five year life.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental (weather) Satellites were developed by NASA-Goddard, and transferred to the NOAA weather agency when operational. GOES M was launched by an Atlas 2A rocket on 23 July 2001 into a 164 x 505 km parking orbit, then into a super synchronous transfer orbit of 274 x 42275 km x 20 deg. The GOES M satellite was redesignated GOES 12 once it was operational in orbit. The spacecraft carried an infrared (IR) imager, a "sounder," and an X-ray imager. The IR imager was a Cassegrain telescope covering five wavelength channels, 0.55-0.75, 3.80-4.00, 6.50-7.00, 10.20-11.20, and 11.50-12.50 microns. It provided images covering 3,000 km x 3,000 km every 41 seconds by scanning the area in 16 square kilometer sections. The "sounder" provided vertical distribution data of temperature, moisture and ozone by passively monitoring 18 depth dependent wavelengths. (Long wave IR: 14.71, 14.37, 14.06, 13.64, 13.37, 12.66, and 12.02 microns. Medium wave IR: 11.03, 9.71, 7.43, 7.02, and 6.51 microns. Short wave IR: 4.57, 4.52, 4.45, 4.13, 3.98, and 3.74 microns. There was also a band at the visible wavelength 0.7 microns to provide pictures of cloud tops.) The sounder covered the 3,000 km x 3,000 km area in about 42 minutes. The other instrument package, the Space Environment Monitor (SEM), monitored the energetic electrons and protons in the magnetosphere and x-rays from the Sun, including an X-ray imager, to provide an X-ray (about 0.1-1.0 nm wavelength) picture of the solar disk. Earlier GOES satellites carried simple X-ray collimator detectors, but the new SXI was a full-fledged grazing incidence telescope similar to the SXT on Japan's Yohkoh satellite.

Following launch, GOES 12 was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 90° West, where it underwent on-orbit testing, and was then stored until it was needed to replace an operational satellite. It served as an on-orbit spare until 1 April 2003 (operational date), when it was called up to replace GOES 8, an older satellite which, while still operational, would have run out of fuel by the end of the year. Although GOES 11 was the next backup in line for activation, GOES 12 was used instead in order to test its Solar X-ray Imager. The Solar X-ray Imager failed in April 2006. GOES 12 was decommissioned on 16 August 2013.

See also for more information on the payloads.

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