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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 28

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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
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413 B.C.
An eclipse of the moon caused a panic in the Athens fleet.

Sir William Herschel discovered Saturn's moon Enceladus.

Born, Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, US astronomer, Union Major General in US Civil War

C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #167 Urda.

John Joseph Montgomery, generally credited with making the first controlled heavier than air flights with a human passenger, made his first glider flight at Otay, California.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #312 Pierretta.

Born, Oswald Putze, 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 (1947-1952), in Manufacturing; Dept. 61/Shop 55

James Casey founded the American Messenger Company, the original predecessor of United Parcel Service, with fellow teenager Claude Ryan, in Seattle, Washington.

F. Kaiser discovered asteroid #760 Massinga.

Born, John Herbert Chapman, Canadian physicist (radio propagation in the ionosphere, space research)

WEAF of New York City is generally credited with airing the first publicly recognized radio commercial for which Queensboro Realty paid $100 for 10 minutes of advertising.

J. Hunaerts discovered asteroids #1423 Jose and #1637 Swings.

E. L. Johnson discovered asteroid #2651 Karen.

Born, Leroy Chiao (at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 65, STS 72, STS 92, ISS Expedition 10 commander; over 229d 8.5h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Leroy Chiao, ISS 10 mission commander, NASA photo (7 June 2004)
Source: Wikipedia ( killed 25 Feb 2021)

USSR's Alpha Pi 1 spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after the booster that was to send it on an interplanetary mission failed to fire, and it did not depart for Venus.

Sputnik 19, launched 25 August 1962, was a Venera-type spacecraft intended to make a landing on Venus. (Some reports indicate the target was Mars.) The SL-6/A-2-e launcher put the spacecraft into Earth orbit, but the escape stage failed (the motor burned for only 45 seconds of the planned 240 seconds) and the probe remained in geocentric orbit for three days, until the orbit decayed on August 28 and it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

1963 16:00:02 GMT
The Little Joe II qualification test vehicle (QTV) was launched from White Sands, New Mexico, to prove Little Joe's capability as an Apollo test vehicle, and to determine base pressures and heating. The lone failure was a destruct system malfunction.

1964 08:52:00 GMT
NASA launched the Nimbus 1 weather satellite, which returned 27,000 cloud cover images.

Nimbus 1, launched 28 August 1964, was the first in a series of second generation meteorological research and development satellites. It was designed to serve as a stabilized, Earth-oriented platform for testing advanced meteorological sensor systems, and for collecting meteorological data., The polar orbiting spacecraft consisted of three major elements: (1) a sensory ring, (2) solar paddles, and (3) the control system housing. The solar paddles and the control system housing were connected to the sensory ring by a truss structure, giving the satellite the appearance of an ocean buoy. Nimbus 1 was nearly 3.7 m tall, 1.5 m in diameter at the base, and about 3 m across with solar paddles extended. The sensory ring, which formed the satellite base, housed the electronics equipment and battery modules. The lower surface of the torus-shaped sensory ring provided mounting space for sensors and telemetry antennas. An H-frame structure mounted within the center of the torus provided support for the larger experiments and tape recorders. Mounted on the control system housing, which was located on top of the spacecraft, were sun sensors, horizon scanners, gas nozzles for attitude control, and a command antenna. A stabilization and control system allowed the spacecraft orientation to be controlled within plus or minus 1 degree for all three axes (pitch, roll, and yaw). The spacecraft carried (1) an advanced vidicon camera system (AVCS) for recording and storing remote cloudcover pictures, (2) an automatic picture transmission (APT) camera for providing real-time cloudcover pictures, and (3) a high-resolution infrared radiometer (HRIR) to complement the daytime TV coverage and to measure nighttime radiative temperatures of cloud tops and surface terrain. A short burn of the booster's second stage resulted in an unplanned eccentric orbit. Otherwise, the spacecraft and its experiments operated successfully until 22 September 1964 when the solar paddles became locked in position, resulting in inadequate electrical power to continue operations.

Artist's conception of Nimbus 1 weather satellite in orbit, NASA illustration
Source: NASA's Earth Observing System Project Science Office

1964 16:19:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 44 (Meteor number 1) meteorological satellite.

1968 10:04:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 238, a Soyuz precursor with orbital data similar to manned flight, to study outer space, the atmosphere's upper layers, and the Earth. Scientific data were relayed by multichannel telemetry systems equipped with space-borne memory.

T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2616 Lesya.

T. Smirnova discovered asteroid #2171 Kiev.

1974 20:10:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 15 (call sign Dunay/Danube) returned to Earth with cosmonauts Gennady Sarafanov and Lev Demin aboard after their 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.)

A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #3645; C. T. Kowal discovered asteroids #3163 and #4596; H. Debehogne discovered asteroids #2707 Ueferji and #6850; Z. Vavrova discovered asteroids #2524 Budovicium, #3096, #5860 and #7325.

A. Mrkos discovered asteroids #3630 and #3905 Doppler, S. Swanson discovered asteroid #4995.

H. Debehogne discovered asteroids #4535, #6292 and #7168.

E. W. Elst discovered asteroids #6437 and #7010 Locke.

1989 00:14:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 2037 geodetic satellite.

Z. Vavrova discovered asteroid #6067.

1990 09:05:00 GMT
Japan launched the Yuri 3A (BS-3A, Broadcasting Satellite-3A) communications satellite from Tanegashima, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 110 deg E 1990-1998.

NASA's Galileo spacecraft passed within 2400 km of asteroid Ida. During the encounter, the first known moon orbiting an asteroid was discovered, later named Dactyl.

Space Shuttle Atlantis, with the Galileo spacecraft aboard, was launched from Kennedy Space Center on 18 October 1989. Galileo was deployed on the 6th orbit around the Earth, with the first stage IUS burn executed an hour later. The second stage IUS burn occurred 5 minutes later to place Galileo on an Earth escape velocity of 7.1 miles/sec. 7 hours 46 minutes after launch, the IUS went into a first stage spinoff to deploy the RTG and science booms. The second stage IUS spinoff at a rate of 2.9 revolutions/minute for the separation of the IUS from Galileo soon followed. At that point, telemetry data were transmitted and received by the DSN (Deep Space Network).

The Galileo mission consisted of two spacecraft: an orbiter and an atmospheric probe. The trajectory which the spacecraft followed was called a VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist), traveling first in toward the Sun for a gravity assist from Venus on 10 February 1990 before encountering the Earth two times on 8 December 1990 and two years later, on 8 December 1992. These encounters with Venus and the Earth allowed Galileo to gain enough velocity to get it out to Jupiter.

During the flybys of Venus and the Earth, Galileo scientists studied these two planets as well as the Moon, making some unprecedented observations. In addition, following each Earth flyby, Galileo made excursions as far out in the solar system as the asteroid belt, enabling scientists to make the first close-up studies of two asteroids, Gaspra (29 October 1991) and Ida (28 August 1993). Galileo scientists were also the only ones with a "direct view" of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragment impacts on Jupiter in July 1994. All of this was prior to the primary missions of sending an atmospheric probe into Jupiter's atmosphere and studying Jupiter, its satellites, and its magnetosphere for two years with the orbiter.

Interplanetary studies were also made sporadically by some of the other Galileo instruments, including the dust detector, magnetometer, and various plasma and particles detectors, during its six year journey to Jupiter.

The probe was released from the orbiter on 12 July 1995, 147 days prior to its entry into the Jovian atmosphere on 7 December 1995, which was the same day the main spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter.

The Galileo spacecraft's 14-year odyssey came to an end on Sunday 21 September 2003 when the spacecraft passed into Jupiter's shadow then disintegrated in the planet's dense atmosphere after 35 orbits around the planet. Its propellant was depleted, it was maneuvered to enter the Jovian atmosphere at 18:57 GMT (11:57 AM PDT). Entry was at 48.2 km/s from an orbit with a periapsis 9700 km below the 1-bar atmospheric layer. The spacecraft continued transmitting at least until it passed behind the limb of Jupiter at 1850:54 GMT, when it was 9283 km above the 1-bar level, surprising Galileo veterans who feared it might enter safe mode due to the high radiation environment. On its farewell dive, it had crossed the orbit of Callisto at around 1100 on 20 September, the orbit of Ganymede at around 0500 on 21 September, Europa's orbit at about 1145, Io's orbit at about 1500, Amalthea's orbit at 1756, and the orbits of Adrastea and Metis at 1825. Galileo was destroyed to prevent the possibility that its orbit would eventually be perturbed in such a way that it would crash on and biologically contaminate Europa, which was considered a possible place to search for life. Light travel time from Jupiter to Earth was 52 min 20 sec at the time of impact, and the final signal reached Earth at 1943:14 GMT.

See also the JPL PhotoJournal for Gaspra for more images and information about the asteroid Gaspra encounter.

Asteroid 243 Ida, mosaic of five image frames acquired by NASA's Galileo spacecraft
28 August 1993, about 3.5 minutes before the spacecraft made its closest approach

1994 07:50:00 GMT
Japan launched the Kiku 6 engineering test satellite (ETS 6) from Tanegashima, a partial failure since the LAPS apogee kick motor failed to ignite and ETS failed to reach geostationary orbit, partly successful since it also tested ion engines for NSSK.

1997 00:33:30 GMT
Panamsat 5 was launched from Baikonur and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 58 deg W 1997-1999, using an HS-601 XIPS ion engine for station keeping.

1999 00:35:00 GMT
Soyuz TM-29 landed in Kazakhstan with cosmonauts Afanasyev, Avdeyev and Haignere aboard. Afanasyev had set a new cumulative time in space record, but for the first time since September 1989 there were no humans in space.

Soyuz TM-29 was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome 20 February 1999 aboard a Soyuz 11A511U rocket. It docked with Mir at 22 February 05:36 GMT with cosmonauts Afanasyev, Haignere, and Bella aboard. Since two crew seats had been sold (to Slovakia and France), Afanasyev was the only Russian cosmonaut aboard, which meant that Russian engineer Avdeyev (already aboard Mir) would have to accept a double-length assignment. After the 27 February departure of EO-26 crew commander Padalka and Slovak cosmonaut Bella aboard Soyuz TM-28, the new EO-27 Mir crew consisted of Afanasyev as Commander, Avdeyev as Engineer and French cosmonaut Haignere.

Following an extended mission and three space walks, the last operational crew aboard Mir prepared to return. The station was powered down and prepared for free drift mode. The hatch between Mir and Soyuz was closed at 18:12 GMT 27 August 1999. Soyuz TM-29 undocked from Mir at 21:17 GMT with Afanasyev, Avdeyev and Haignere aboard. The Mir EO-27 crew landed in Kazakhstan at 00:35 GMT on August 28. Afanasyev had set a new cumulative time in space record, but for the first time since September 1989 there were no humans in space.

2002 22:45:00 GMT
An Ariane 5G launched from Kourou carried the Eutelsat Atlantic Bird 1 communications satellite and Europe's MSG 1 (Meteosat Second Generation 1) weather satellite to space where they were positioned in geostationary service orbits.

Assuming orbits changing at the current rates, Earth and Mars were closer - about 34.64 million miles (55.76 million km or 0.37273 AU) - than they were or will be in a span of nearly 59,904 years, from 12 September 57617 BCE through 28 August 2287.

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