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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 23

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Born, Stanisław Lubieniecki, Polish astronomer, historian, writer (Theatrum Cometicum - Theater of Comets (1666-68) is an illustrated anthology of 415 comets from the biblical epoch until 1665)

Died, Charles Augustin de Coulomb, important in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, invented the torsion balance; the SI unit of electric charge (the coulomb) is named after him

Charles Augustin de Coulomb (14 June 1736 - 23 August 1806) was a French physicist, born in Angouleme, France. He chose the profession of military engineer, spent three years, to the decided injury of his health, at Fort Bourbon, Martinique, and was employed on his return at La Rochelle, the Isle of Aix and Cherbourg.

In 1781 he was stationed permanently at Paris, but on the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 he resigned his appointment as intendant des eaux et fontaines, and retired to a small estate which he possessed at Blois. He was recalled to Paris for a time in order to take part in the new determination of weights and measures, which had been decreed by the Revolutionary government. He was one of the first members of the National Institute; and he was appointed inspector of public instruction in 1802. However, his health was already very feeble, and four years later he died at Paris.

Coulomb is distinguished in the history of mechanics and of electricity and magnetism. In 1779 he published an important investigation of the laws of friction (Theorie des machines simples, en ayant egard au frottement de leurs parties et a la roideur des cordages), which was followed twenty years later by a memoir on viscosity.

In 1785 he presented his Recherches theoriques et experimentales sur la force de torsion et sur l'elasticite des fils de metal. This memoir contained a description of different forms of his torsion balance, an instrument used by him with great success for the experimental investigation of the distribution of charge on surfaces and of the laws of electrical and magnetic force, of the mathematical theory of which he may also be regarded as the founder.

The unit of charge, the coulomb, is named after him.

Born, Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist, astronomer, advanced the scientific education of women in the 19th century

C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #124 Alkeste.

The first wireless message transmitted from a ship to the shore in the US was received, in San Francisco, California.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #334 Chicago.

L. Carnera discovered asteroid #477 Italia.

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1486 Marilyn.

M. Itzigsohn discovered asteroid #1684 Iguassu.

Born, Klaus-Dietrich Flade, (at Buedesheim, Germany), cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-14/Mir/Soyuz TM-13, 7.9 days in space)

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2974.

Indiana University discovered asteroid #5536.

Born, David A. Wolf MD, (at Indianapolis Indiana, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 58, NASA-Mir 6, STS 112, STS 127, over 168 total days in space)

Astronaut David A. Wolf, STS-127 mission specialist, NASA photo (7 Oct. 2008)

The X-17 4203-5 re-entry vehicle test flight, the world's first five stage solid fuel rocket, was launched to a speed of mach 15 and 142 km from Wallops Island, Virgina by the NACA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division.

1961 10:04:00 GMT
NASA launched Ranger 1, intended to fly to the Moon, which did not leave Earth orbit because of an upper stage misfire.

NASA Ranger 1, launched 23 August 1961 from the Atlantic Missile Range on an Atlas-Agena B booster, was a test version of the spacecraft which would attempt an unmanned crash landing on the Moon. The 306 kg spacecraft did not attain the scheduled extremely elongated orbit because the Agena B upper stage misfired. Although the spacecraft systems were tested successfully, only part of the eight project experiments could be carried out. Ranger 1 reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 29 August after 111 orbits. Ranger 1's primary mission was to test the performance of those functions and parts that are necessary for carrying out subsequent Lunar and planetary missions using essentially the same spacecraft design.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first picture of Earth from the vicinity of the Moon, during its sixteenth orbit of 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.

The first view of the Earth from the Moon, taken by NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1

Born, Dominic A. Antonelli, (at Detroit, Michigan, USA), Commander USN, NASA astronaut (STS 119, STS 132)

Astronaut Dominic A. (Tony) Antonelli, STS-119 pilot, NASA photo (November 2000)

1973 22:57:00 GMT
The Intelsat 4 F-7 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 30 deg W in 1973-1976; 1 deg W in 1976-1980; at 56 deg E in 1980-1981; at 179 deg E in 1981-1982; at 53 deg W in 1982-1983.

Amateur cyclist and hang-glider pilot Bryan Allen made the first man-powered flight of a mile in the Gossamer Condor, winning the first Kremer prize.

N. Chernykh discovered asteroid #2498 Tsesevich.

Died, Boris Nikolayevich Petrov, Russian Scientist, Institute of Control Problems Department Chief (1951-1980), senior academician in the Soviet Academy of Science, chair of the Inter-Cosmos Council, promoted eastern Europe space cooperation (1966-1980)

H. Debehogne discovered asteroids #2852 and #3274.

IRAS discovered asteroid #3728.

1988 11:15:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1965 (Resurs F2) landsat from Plesetsk for investigation of the natural resources of the Earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR, and international cooperation.

1989 03:10:00 GMT
USSR launched the Progress M-1 unmanned supply vehicle to Mir from Baikonur.

Progress M-1 was an unmanned supply vehicle launched to Mir on 23 August 1989, the first flight of the new vehicle design. It tested on-board systems under different conditions, and delivered expendable materials and sundry cargo to the Mir manned space station. Progress M-1 docked with Mir on 25 Aug 1989 05:19:02 GMT, undocked on 1 Dec 1989 09:02:23 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 1 Dec 1989 11:21:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.19 days. Total docked time 98.16 days.

H. E. Holt discovered asteroids #4642, #4643, #5519 and #5964.

1994 14:30:59 GMT
Russia launched the Molniya-3-46 communications satellite from Plesetsk, which replaced Molniya 3-40. As of 1994, the Molniya 3 constellation consisted of Molniya 3-36, 3-38, 3-39, 3-42, 3-43, 3-44, 3-45, and 3-46.

1997 06:51:00 GMT
NASA launched the Lewis landsat from Vandenburg, California, on an Athena-1 booster. The satellite reentered the Earth's atmosphere 28 September 1997.

2000 11:05:00 GMT
Boeing launched the DM-F3 dummy payload from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to bolster customer confidence in the new Delta III launcher following an earlier failure.

Boeing launched the DM-F3 demonstration vehicle from Launch Complex LC17, pad SLC17B, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 23 August 2000, with a dummy payload, to bolster customer confidence in the new Delta III launcher following an earlier failure. The launch was financed by the company. The second stage ignited at an altitude of 158 km and the RL-10 shut off as planned in a 157 x 1363 km x 29.5 deg parking orbit. The engine fired again until fuel depletion, to place the vehicle in a geostationary transfer orbit of 190 x 20,655 km x 27.6 deg. This was much lower than that planned (23,400 km plus or minus 3,000 km) due to the fuel temperature and atmospheric conditions on the day of launch. The DM-F3 dummy payload was a 4348 kg mass model of the Orion 3 HS-601 satellite lost on the second Delta 3 launch. The model was a 2.0m diameter, 1.7m high cylinder with two circular end plates, painted with black and white patterns, to be used by US Air Force researchers as a calibration target.

Launch Vehicle: Delta 3. Model: Delta 8930. Configuration: Delta 8930 D280.

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