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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 26

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Race To Space
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English astronomer Edmund Halley first saw his namesake comet.

Died, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch scientist, considered to be "the father of microbiology"

Born, Joseph Michel Montgolfier, built the first practical hot air balloon in 1783 with his brother Jacques Etienne

The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph Michel Montgolfier (26 August 1740 - 26 June 1810) and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier (6 January 1745 - 2 August 1799), built the first practical hot-air balloon (1783).

Born, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (at Paris, France), the "father of modern chemistry" (stated the first version of the Law of Conservation of Matter, recognized and named oxygen)

The first news dispatched across the Atlantic telegraph cable was published in the New York Times, reporting peace with China being achieved by England and France.

Died, Johann F. Encke, German astronomer, discovered Comet Encke, notably calculated comet and asteroid periods, measured the distance to the Sun, and observed Saturn

Born, Lee De Forest, American electronics inventor (three-element "grid Audion" - vacuum tube for amplifying weak signals, held over 180 patents)

Lee De Forest (26 August 1873 - 30 June 1961) was an American inventor with over 180 patents to his name, the self-described "Father of Radio", and a pioneer in the development of sound-on-film recording used for motion pictures. De Forest invented the three-element "grid Audion", a vacuum tube that takes weak electrical signals and amplifies them. De Forest is generally recognized as one of the fathers of the "electronic age," as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use of electronics.

Born, Hellmuth Walter, German/American engineer, worked on gas turbines, rocket engines and submarines

Hellmuth Walter (26 August 1900 - 16 December 1980) was a German engineer who pioneered research into rocket engines and gas turbines. His most noteworthy contributions were rocket motors for the Messerschmitt Me 163 and Bachem Ba 349 interceptor aircraft, JATO units used for a variety of Luftwaffe aircraft during World War II, and a revolutionary new propulsion system for submarines known as Air Independent Propulsion (AIP).

F. Kaiser discovered asteroid #717 Wisibada.

F. Kaiser discovered asteroid #759 Vinifera.

Born, Alfred Klippel, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the Soviet Union after World War II, worked on rocket engine development in Glushko's design bureau, Electrical Circuits, Shop 55 (1947-1952)

Born, Maxime A. Faget (at Stann Creek, Belize), considered to be the "Chief Designer" of American manned spacecraft

Born, Joseph Henry "Joe" Engle (at Abilene, Kansas, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (X-15, STS 2, STS 51-I; 9d 8.5h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Joe Engle, NASA photo S81-34642 (27 July 1981)
Source: NASA Image and Video Library

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1288 Santa.

A. Bohrmann discovered asteroid #2226 Cunitza; Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #1398 Donnera.

Using a catapult launcher, Robert Goddard launched a series L section C rocket, 18 ft 5.5 in. long, 9 in. diameter, 162 lb loaded weight, equipped with movable-tailpiece steering that corrected well and strongly 7 times in flight, to a 2000+ ft altitude.

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1493 Sigrid.

P. Djurkovic discovered asteroid #1700 Zvezdara.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #1542 Schalen and #1699 Honkasalo.

Born, John Elmer Blaha (at San Antonio, Texas, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 29, STS 33, STS 43, STS 58, Mir 22; 161d 2.75h total time in spaceflight)

Astronuat John E. Blaha, NASA photo (November 1988)

Born, Kathryn Patricia "Kay" Hire (at Mobile, Alabama, USA), Captain USN Reserve, NASA mission specialist astronaut (STS 90, STS 130; nearly 29d 16h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Kathryn P. (Kay) Hire, STS-130 mission specialist, NASA photo (26 Oct. 2009)

1964 18:42:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A HT/LF/BLN Test mission # 115 in which John McKay reached a maximum speed of 6217 kph (3863 mph, Mach 5.65), and achieved a maximum altitude of 27.737 km (91,000 ft, 17.235 mi).

1965 17:52:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A Northrop Radiom, BLN Test/Aeronomy mission # 145 in which Robert Rushworth reached a maximum speed of 5427 kph (3372 mph, Mach 4.79), and achieved a maximum altitude of 73.030 km (239,600 ft, 45.379 mi).

Died (cancer), Charles Lindbergh, American aviator, first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean

Charles Augustus Lindbergh II (4 February 1902 - 26 August 1974) was a pioneering United States aviator most famous for the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

1974 19:58:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 15 (call sign Dunay/Danube) from Baikonur carrying cosmonauts Gennady Sarafanov and Lev Demin on an unsuccessful trip to dock with the Salyut 3 space station.

Soyuz 15, launched 26 August 1974, was to conduct the second phase of manned operations aboard the Salyut 3 military space station, but the Igla rendezvous system failed and no docking was made. The two day flight was therefore publicly characterized by the Soviets as "research in maneuvering and docking with the OPS in various modes, and development of methods for evacuation and landing from space complex in new conditions."

As Vladimir Chelomei (Chief Designer of OKB-52) had complained, the Soyuz had no reserves or backup systems for repeated manual docking attempts. Consequently, Soyuz 15 was returned to Earth after only two days of flight, on 28 August 1974.

Following the flight, the state commission determined that the Igla docking system of the Soyuz needed serious modification, which could not be completed before Salyut 3 decayed. The planned Soyuz 16 spacecraft therefore became surplus in the program. (It was later flown as Soyuz 20 to a civilian Salyut station, even though it was past its two year rated storage life.)

N. S. Chernykh discovered asteroids #2506 Pirogov, #2520 Novorossijsk, #2668 Tataria, #3311, #3762, #3856 Lutskij, #5933 Kemurdzhian, #5989, #6356, #6574 and #6811.

1978 14:57:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 31 from Baikonur to the Salyut 6 space station, manned by the third international "Intercosmos" crew consisting of V. F. Bykovsky (USSR) and Sigmund Jahn (GDR, first German cosmonaut), to carry out scientific research and experiments.

NASA's Voyager 2 flew past Saturn at a distance of 63,000 miles (100,000 km). During the encounter, it also photographed at least 7 of Saturn's small satellites.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, originally planned as Mariner 12 of the Mariner program, was launched on 20 August 1977 on a mission to explore the outer planets of the solar system. It is identical to its sister Voyager program craft, Voyager 1. Voyager 2 followed a somewhat different trajectory during its Saturn encounter, however, bypassing a close encounter with Titan in favor of taking advantage of a gravitational slingshot to travel on to Uranus and Neptune. It became the first probe to visit those two planets.

Voyager 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket. The closest approach to Jupiter occurred on 9 July 1979. On 25 August 1981, Voyager 2 took pictures of Saturn's moon Titan showing the structure of the moon's atmosphere, and it flew past Saturn at a distance of 63,000 miles (100,000 km) the following day, 26 August. Its closest approach to Uranus was on 24 January 1986, and its closest approach to Neptune occurred on 25 August 1989, after a 12 year, 4 billion mile journey, when it flew over the planet's cloud tops and those of its moon Triton, sending back photographs of 'swamps' from a distance of 5000 km. Voyager 2 imagery returned on 22 August 1989 confirmed the rings around Neptune are complete, although they are much more faint than those of Saturn.

On 5 November 2018, As Voyager 2 probe left the heliosphere, its CRS (Cosmic Ray Subsystem) recorded an abrupt change in particle energies.

Voyager 2 is expected to keep transmitting into the 2030s.

Voyager 2 carries with it a golden record (Voyager Golden Record) that contains pictures and sounds of Earth, along with symbolic directions for playing the record. The contents of this record were selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.

As of 24 August 2003, Voyager 2 was at a distance of 10.6 billion kilometers (71 AU) and was escaping the solar system, diving below the ecliptic plane at an angle of about 48 degrees and at a speed of about 3.3 AU per year (ca. 15 km/s, 470 million kilometers (about 290 million miles) a year). On 8 July 2018 it was more than 17.65 billion km (10.97 billion miles, nearly 118 AU) from the Sun. (See Where Are The Voyagers Now? for distance, speed, and other interesting information.) It will be approximately 40,000 years before Voyager 2 approaches another planetary system.

See also NSSDCA Master Catalog
See also Wikipedia

Saturn's north polar region from 633,000 km (393,000 mi)
Voyager 2 photo PIA02226 (25 August 1981)
Source: NASA JPL Photojournal

1982 23:10:00 GMT
Canada's Anik D1 (Telesat 5) communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 104 deg W.

H. Debehogne discovered asteroid #4697, #5322, #7397, #7744 and #8263.

M. Kizawa and W. Kakei discovered asteroid #4094 Aoshima.

R. H. McNaught discovered asteroid #4713 Steel and #5475.

Died, Minoru Honda, Japanese astronomer, discovered 12 comets, first to report Nova Cygni 1975

S. Ueda and H. Kaneda discovered asteroids #5358 and #5853.

Died, Frederick Reines, American physicist (Nobel 1995 with Martin Perl "for the detection of the neutrino")

2002 05:27:00 GMT
During the 5h 21m ISS EO-5-2 EVA, astronauts Korzun and Treshchev traveled from the Pirs airlock to install a storage locker on Zarya, change out some sample trays for exposure experiments, and mount two amateur radio antennae on the station.

NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board released its final reports on the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

STS 107 began 16 January 2003 when Columbia, NASA's first Shuttle to go into space, was launched from Kennedy Space Center for a microgravity research mission. 15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes later, the entire seven member crew, Commander Rick Husband, Pilot Willie McCool, Mission Specialists Michael Anderson, Dave Brown, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chawla and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon of Israel, was killed on 1 February 2003 when the Shuttle disintegrated over Texas during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. This was the second total loss of a Space Shuttle (in flight), the first being Challenger (STS 51-L).

Based on publically available news reports at the time, Fred Koschara, President of The L5 Development Group, published an analysis indicating the disaster was most likely due to insulating foam breaking off the Shuttle's external fuel tank during launch. (The original article incorrectly stated the Shuttle had been docked at the International Space Station during its mission, the error was corrected the next day.) It was not until late June that NASA's Columbia Accident Investigation Board came to the same conclusion; the first volume of their report was released on 26 August 2003.

Died (bicycle accident), William B. Lenoir, NASA astronaut (STS 5; nearly 5d 2.25h in spaceflight)

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