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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 September 16

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Died, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, Prussia, inventor (first to use mercury in a thermometer, Farenheit temperature scale)

J. C. Watson discovered asteroid #105 Artemis.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #733 Mocia.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1051 Merope.

H. Van Gent discovered asteroids #1667 Pels, #1738 Oosterhoff and #1689 Floris.

S. Arend discovered asteroids #1314 Paula and #1315 Bronislawa.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #1471 Tornio, #1494 Savo, #1498 Lahti, #1530 Rantaseppa and #1532 Inari.

Died, James H. Jeans, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, worked on thermodynamics, heat and other aspects of radiation

1949 23:19:00 GMT
The V2 Blossom IVC Solar/Biological mission was launched from White Sands, New Mexico, the third V2 flight carrying a live Air Force Aero Medical Lab monkey.

The V2 Blossom IVC Solar/Biological mission was launched 16 September 1949 from White Sands, New Mexico, the third V2 flight carrying a live AF Aero Medical Laboratory monkey, Albert III, who survived the flight but died on impact. The flight was launched at 16:19 local time, and reached an altitude of 4.2 km. It carried Composition, ionosphere, meteorites, solar and cosmic radiation, sky brightness, biological experiments for the Air Research and Development Command.

S. Arend discovered asteroid #1613 Smiley.

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroids #2023 Asaph and #3520.

Born, Kevin Richard Kregel (at Amityville, New York, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 70, STS 78, STS 87, STS 99, over 52d 18h total time in space)

Astronaut Kevin R. Kregel, STS-99 mission commander, NASA photo

NASA astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins reported on their Apollo 11 mission to land on the Moon to a joint session of Congress.

US President Nixon predicted Americans would be on Mars in the 1980s.

Crimean Astrophysics Observatory discovered asteroids #2163 Korczak and #2170 Belorussia; J. Gibson and C. U Cesco discovered asteroid #1919 Clemence; P. Wild discovered asteroid #1892 Lucienne.

Died, Petr Petrovich Chechulin, Director of Nll-4 (1951-1955) during early research on satellites

1978 05:02:00 GMT
Japan launched the Jikiken (EXOS-B) ionosphere research satellite from Kagoshima.

Japan's Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science at the University of Tokyo launched the Jikiken (EXOS-B) ionosphere research satellite from Kagoshima on 16 September 1978. It carried a stimulated plasma wave experiment, made natural plasma wave measurements, plasma parameter measurements by a VLF Doppler technique, electric field probe and plasma density measurements, performed energetic particle analysis, and included a controlled electron beam emission experiment. The 90.5 kg spacecraft was built as a polyhedron with 38 faces, 0.6 meters high, 0.75 meters in diameter, with attitude control through spin stabilization and an expected life of two years.

Z. Vavrova discovered asteroid #3022.

A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #3137; K. Tomita discovered asteroid #3765.

1982 18:31:00 GMT
USSR launched Ekran 9 from Baikonur to transmit Central Television programs to a network of receivers for collective use, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 99 deg E.

1986 11:38:09 GMT
USSR launched three Glonass component satellites (Cosmos 1778, Cosmos 1779 and Cosmos 1780) from Baikonur on a Proton booster, testing components and apparatus of the space-based navigation system.

The Montreal Protocol was signed by two dozen nations to protect the ozone layer from depletion by curbing harmful emissions.

1987 00:45:28 GMT
An Ariane 3 launched from Kourou carried Australia's Aussat A3 and Europe's Eutelsat I F4 communications satellites to space, initially positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 164 deg E and 10 deg E, respectively.

1987 02:53:31 GMT
USSR launched three Glonass component satellites (Cosmos 1883, Cosmos 1884 and Cosmos 1885) from Baikonur on a Proton booster, testing components and apparatus of the space-based navigation system.

1987 19:22:00 GMT
The US Navy launched the Transit-O 27 and Transit-O 29 navigation satellites into orbit from Vandenburg, California, on a Scout G-1 booster.

1988 09:59:00 GMT
Japan launched the Sakura 3B communications satellite from Tanegashima, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 149 deg E 1988; 136 deg E 1988-1997; 154 deg E 1997.

1990 02:00:47 GMT
USSR launched three Glonass component satellites (Cosmos 1970, Cosmos 1971 and Cosmos 1972) from Baikonur on a Proton booster, testing components and apparatus of the space-based navigation system.

During the 4h 18m Mir EO-14-1 EVA, Mir cosmonauts Tsibliyev and Serebrov began installation of the Rapana truss on the Mir space station.

1993 08:40:00 GMT
During the 7h 05m EVA STS-51-1 EVA, Discovery astronauts Walz and Newman tested tools and techniques for extravehicular activity.

The first launch attempt of STS 51 on 17 July 1993 was scrubbed during the T-20 minute hold due to premature and unexplained charging of pyrotechnic initiator controllers (PICs), located on the mobile launcher platform (MLP), for the T-0 liquid hydrogen vent arm umbilical and solid rocket booster hold-down bolts. The problem was traced to a faulty circuit card in the PIC rack on the MLP.

An abbreviated countdown began 23 July 1993. The second liftoff attempt on 24 July was halted at T-19 seconds due to a problem with the auxiliary power unit (APU) turbine assembly for one of the two hydraulic power units (HPUs) on the right solid rocket booster. The APU was removed and replaced at the pad.

The launch was rescheduled for 4 August, then changed to 12 August due to concerns regarding the Perseid meteor shower, which was expected to peak 11 August. The liftoff attempt on 12 August was halted at the T-3 second mark due to faulty sensor monitoring fuel flow on main engine number two. It was the fourth pad abort in the Shuttle program history - the second in 1993 - which led to changeout of all three main engines at the pad.

The launch of STS 51 was rescheduled to 10 September 1993, then slipped to 12 September to allow time to a complete review of the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite design, production and testing history following the loss of contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft and the NOAA-13 satellite.

The countdown finally proceeded smoothly to an on-time liftoff on 12 September 1993.

One of the two primary payloads for STS 51, the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), was deployed on flight day one. About 45 minutes after ACTS was deployed, the attached Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) booster, flying on the Shuttle for first time, was fired to propel the pioneering communications technology spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

On flight day two, the crew deployed the second primary payload, the Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite (OERFEUS-SPAS), the first in series of ASTRO-SPAS astronomical missions. Extensive footage of the orbiter was recorded by an IMAX camera mounted on SPAS. The joint German-US astrophysics payload was controlled via the SPAS Payload Operations Control Center (SPOC) at KSC, becoming the first Shuttle payload to be managed from Florida. After six days of data collection, ORFEUS-SPAS was retrieved with the remote manipulator system arm, and returned to the cargo bay.

On 16 September, Mission Specialists Newman and Walz performed an extravehicular activity (EVA) lasting seven hours, five minutes and 28 seconds. It was the final one in a series of generic space walks begun earlier in the year. The astronauts also evaluated tools, tethers and a foot restraint platform intended for the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission.

The other cargo bay payload was the Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Material Exposure (LDCE) experiment.

Middeck payloads on STS 51 were: IMAX 70 mm camera; Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) Block II; Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX-04); High Resolution Shuttle Glow Spectroscopy (HRSGS-A); Aurora Photography Experiment (APE-B); Investigation into Polymer Membranes Processing (IPMP); and Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III). An Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) calibration test was also performed.

STS 51 ended 22 September 1993 when Discovery landed on revolution 157 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,271 feet (2,521 meters). Rollout time: 50 seconds. Landing weight: 206,438 pounds. Orbit altitude: 160 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: nine days, 20 hours, 11 minutes, 11 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.1 million. The landing opportunity 21 September was waved off due to the possibility of rain showers within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of the Shuttle Landing Facility. This was the first end-of-mission night landing at KSC for the Shuttle program.

The flight crew for STS 51 was: Frank L. Culbertson Jr., Commander; William F. Readdy, Pilot; James H. Newman PhD, Mission Specialist 1; Daniel W. Bursch, Mission Specialist 2; Carl E. Walz, Mission Specialist 3.

1994 14:42:00 GMT
During the 6h 05m STS-64-1 EVA, Discovery astronauts Lee and Meade tested the SAFER emergency maneuvring backpack.

STS 64 was launched 9 September 1994 in a two and a half hour launch window that opened at 4:30 PM EDT. The liftoff was delayed due to weather concerns.

STS 64 marked the first flight of the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment (LITE), and first untethered US extravehicular activity (EVA) in 10 years. The LITE payload employed LIDAR, which stands for LIght Detection And Ranging, a type of optical "radar" using laser pulses instead of radio waves, to study the Earth's atmosphere. The first lidar spaceflight was a highly successful technology test. The LITE instrument operated for 53 hours, yielding more than 43 hours of high-rate data. Unprecedented views were obtained of cloud structures, storm systems, dust clouds, pollutants, forest burning and surface reflectance. Sites studied included the atmosphere above northern Europe, Indonesia and the south Pacific, Russia and Africa. Sixty-five groups from 20 countries made validation measurements with ground-based and aircraft instruments to verify the LITE data. The LITE science program is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth.

Mission Specialists Lee and Meade completed the 28th EVA of the Space Shuttle program on 16 September. During the six-hour, 15-minute EVA, they tested a new backpack called Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), designed for use in event a crew member becomes untethered while conducting an EVA.

On the fifth day of the mission, the Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy-201 (SPARTAN-201) free flyer was released using the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm. Making its second flight on the Shuttle, SPARTAN-201 was designed to collect data about the acceleration and velocity of the solar wind, and to measure aspects of Sun's corona. Data was recorded for playback after return to Earth. SPARTAN-201 was retrieved after two days of data collection.

Other cargo bay payloads on STS 64 were: Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX), a 33-foot (10-meter) long instrumented extension for the Shuttle robot arm, SPIFEX was designed to collect data about the orbiter Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters to aid understanding about potential effects of thruster plumes on large space structures, such as the Mir space station or the International Space Station; Robot Operated Processing System (ROMPS) was the first US robotics system operated in space, mounted in two Get Away Special (GAS) canisters attached to the cargo bay wall. A GAS bridge assembly in the cargo bay carried 12 cans, 10 holding self-contained experiments.

Middeck experiments on STS 64 included: Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) experiment to investigate effects of spaceflight on plant specimens; Military Application of Ship Tracks (MAST) to take high-resolution imagery of ship tracks and to analyze wake formation and dissipations; Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE) to supply information on flame propagation over fuels in space; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure ionizing radiation; Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II) to demonstrate feasibility of short-wave radio contacts between the orbiter and ground based amateur radio operators; and the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) test, which required no onboard hardware.

STS 64 ended on 20 September 1994 when Discovery landed on revolution 176 on Runway 04, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,656 feet (2,943 meters). Rollout time: 60 seconds. Orbit altitude: 140 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: ten days, 22 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.5 million. The mission, already extended one day, was extended again after the first landing opportunities at the Kennedy Space Center on 19 September were waved off due to stormy weather. Two additional opportunities at KSC on 20 September were also waved off, and the orbiter was diverted to California. Discovery was returned to KSC on 27 September, and towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility on 28 September 1994.

The flight crew for STS 64 was: Richard N. Richards, Commander; L. Blaine Hammond, Jr., Pilot; Jerry M. Linenger, Mission Specialist 1; Susan J. Helms, Mission Specialist 2; Carl J. Meade, Mission Specialist 3; Mark C. Lee, Mission Specialist 4.

1995 08:20:00 GMT
During the 6h 46m STS-69-1 EVA, Endeavour astronauts Voss and Gernhardt tested tools and techniques for extravehicular activity.

The launch of STS 69 was originally set for 5 August, but postponed indefinitely to allow further review of solid rocket motor nozzle joint hardware from the two previous missions, STS 70 and STS 71. An inspection team was formed to assess the significance of a gas path in nozzle internal joint number 3, extending from the insulation in the motor chamber to, but not past, the primary O-ring seal. The team concluded the nozzle joint design was sound and that gas paths were being created when Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) insulation material was applied. Small air pockets were forming in the thermal insulation that could later become pathways for hot gas during motor operation. Attention then focused on developing procedures to allow Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) inspection of the insulation at the pad, and a new launch date of 31 August was set. Nozzle joint insulation of boosters assigned to missions STS 73 and STS 74 was also repaired at KSC, but that work did not impact the launch schedule. The 31 August launch try was scrubbed about five and a half hours before liftoff due to failure of one of the orbiter's three fuel cells. Fuel cell No. 2 indicated higher than allowable temperatures during activation as the countdown proceeded. The fuel cell was removed and replaced. The liftoff on 7 September was preceded by a smooth countdown.

STS 69 marked the first time two different payloads were deployed and retrieved during same mission. It also featured an extravehicular activity to practice for International Space Station activities, and to evaluate space suit design modifications.

First of the two primary payloads, Spartan 201-03, was deployed on flight day two. This was third Spartan 201 mission in a planned series of four. Its primary objective was to study the outer atmosphere of the Sun and its transition into the solar wind that constantly flows past Earth. Timing of the Spartan 201-03 flight was intended to coincide with the passage of the Ulysses spacecraft over the Sun's north polar region to expand the range of data being collected about the origins of the solar wind. The Spartan 201-03 configuration featured two scientific instruments, the Ultraviolet Coronal Spectrometer (UVCS) and the White Light Coronagraph (WLC). UVCS measured characteristics of light emitted by neutral hydrogen atoms in the solar corona, the outermost portion of the sun's atmosphere from which the solar wind evolves. The WLC imaged the changing shape and form of the corona.

Concerns arose about the performance of the two instruments when Spartan was retrieved after about two days of data-gathering. As the orbiter approached the free-flying spacecraft, it was rotating slowly, and located in a different attitude than expected for retrieval. However, later analysis confirmed UVCS and WLC operated smoothly, with WLC obtaining good data over 95 percent of the planned observing sequence and UVCS preliminary data found to be excellent. Analysis was under way to determine why Spartan behaved as it did prior to retrieval.

The second primary payload, Wake Shield Facility-2 (WSF-2), was deployed on flight day five, and became first spacecraft to maneuver itself away from the orbiter, rather than other way around, by firing a small cold gas nitrogen thruster to maneuver away from Endeavour. WSF-2 was the second in planned series of four flights. WSF is a 12 foot (3.7 meter) diameter stainless steel disk designed to generate an ultravacuum environment in space within which to grow thin films for next generation advanced electronics.

Seven thin film growth runs were planned, but after three successful growths, WSF-2 placed itself in safe mode. Mission planners decided to extend the WSF-2 flying time by about 24 hours to allow all seven thin film growths to be performed. However, as preparations began to resume operations after a 20-hour hiatus, payload controllers on the ground could not trigger the flow of the thin film material and the WSF-2 was once again shut down. Film growth activities resumed after a six-hour cool-down of the WSF-2 instruments, and when spacecraft was retrieved on flight day eight, four successful thin film growth runs had been completed.

WSF-2 was unberthed and hung over the side of Endeavour's cargo bay one final time for the Charging Hazards and Wake Studies (CHAWS) experiment, an Air Force sponsored experiment to collect data on the buildup of electrical fields around an orbiting space vehicle.

On flight day ten, Voss and Gernhardt conducted a six hour, 46 minute spacewalk, completing the final primary objective of STS 69. They evaluated thermal improvements made to their extravehicular activity suits and reported they remained comfortable, and also tested a variety of tools and techniques that may be used in assembly of International Space Station.

Additional payloads flown on STS 69 were: International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH-1), to measure and monitor long-term variations in magnitude of absolute extreme ultraviolet flux coming from the Sun; Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (SEH), to accurately measure solar flux in the extreme ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum; Consortium for Materials Development in Space Complex Autonomous Payload (CONCAP IV-3), the third flight of an experiment that studies the growth of organic nonlinear optical crystals and thin films; Shuttle GLO experiment (GLO-3) to study the luminous shroud observed by astronauts on pervious Shuttle missions; Ultraviolet Spectrograph Telescope for Astronomical Research (UVSTAR), a pair of telescopes that measure extreme ultraviolet and far ultraviolet emissions and complemented SEH described above; Capillary Pumped Loop/Get Away Special Bridge Assembly (CAPL-2/GBA) consisting of the CAPL-2 Hitchhiker payload, the Thermal Energy Storage-2 (TES-2) payload in a GAS container, as well as four other GAS experiments on a single cross-bay structure.

In-cabin payloads included Space Tissue Loss/National Institutes of Health-Cells (STL-NIH-C); Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus-7 (CGBA); Biological Research in Canister (BRIC); Electrolysis Performance Improvement Concept Study (EPICS) and Commercial MDA ITA Experiments (CMIX-4).

STS 69 was also the second flight of a "dog crew," a flight crew tradition that began on STS 53, on which both Walker and Voss flew. As the Dog Crew II, each STS 69 astronaut adopted a dogtag or nickname: Walker was Red Dog; Cockrell was Cujo; Voss, Dog Face; Newman, Pluto; and Gernhardt, Under Dog.

STS 69 ended on 18 September 1995 when Endeavour landed on revolution 171 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the first opportunity at KSC. Rollout distance: 10,230 feet (3,118 meters). Rollout time: 56 seconds. Orbit altitude: 190 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.4 degrees. Mission duration: ten days, 20 hours, 28 minutes, 56 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.5 million.

The flight crew for STS 69 was: David M. Walker, Commander; Kenneth D. Cockrell, Pilot; James S. Voss, Payload Commander; James H. Newman, Mission Specialist 2; Michael L. Gernhardt, Mission Specialist 3.

1996 04:54:49 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 79 (Atlantis 17, 79th Shuttle mission) to space for the fourth Shuttle-Mir docking mission.

STS 79 was launched 16 September 1996. Aboard Atlantis in the payload bay were the Orbiter Docking System, the modified Long Tunnel, and the Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir.

The launch, originally set for 31 July, slipped when mission managers decided to switch out Atlantis' twin solid rocket boosters because the STS 79 boosters were assembled using the same new adhesive as the boosters flown on the previous mission, STS 78, in which a hot gas path into the J-joints of the motor field joints was observed during post-retrieval inspection. Although managers concluded the original STS 79 boosters were safe to fly, they decided to replace them with a set slated for STS 80 that used the original adhesive. The booster changeout took place after Atlantis was already back in the Vehicle Assembly Building due to the threat from Hurricane Bertha. A new launch date of 12 September was targeted, and Atlantis was returned to the pad. That launch date was delayed to 16 September when the Shuttle was returned to the VAB due to the threat from Hurricane Fran, marking the first time a Shuttle was rolled back twice in single processing flow due to hurricane threats. The countdown proceeded smoothly to an ontime liftoff on 16 September. Approximately 13 minutes into flight, auxiliary power unit number 2 went down prematurely. After review and analysis, the Mission Management Team concluded the mission could proceed to the nominal end-of-mission as planned.

STS 79 was highlighted by the return to Earth of US astronaut Shannon Lucid after 188 days in space, the first US crew exchange aboard the Russian Space Station Mir, and fourth Shuttle-Mir docking. Lucid's long-duration spaceflight set a new US record, as well as world record for a woman. She embarked to Mir on 22 March in the STS 76 mission. Succeeding her on Mir for an approximately four month stay was John Blaha, who returned in January 1997 with the STS 81 crew.

During her approximately six month stay on Mir, Lucid conducted research in the following fields: advanced technology, Earth sciences, fundamental biology, human life sciences, microgravity research and space sciences. Specific experiments included: Environmental Radiation Measurements to ascertain ionizing radiation levels aboard Mir; Greenhouse-Integrated Plant Experiments, to study effect of microgravity on plants, specifically dwarf wheat; and Assessment of Humoral Immune Function During Long-Duration Space Flight, to gather data on the effect of long-term spaceflight on the human immune system, involving collection of blood serum and saliva samples. Some research was conducted in the newest and final Mir module, Priroda, which arrived at the station during Lucid's stay.

STS 79 also marked the second flight of the SPACEHAB module in support of Shuttle-Mir activities and the first flight of the SPACEHAB Double Module configuration. The Shuttle-Mir linkup occurred at 11:13 PM EDT on 18 September, following an R-bar approach. The hatches were opened at 1:40 AM EDT 19 September, and Blaha and Lucid exchanged places at 7 AM EDT. Awaiting Blaha on Mir were Valery Korzun, Mir 22 commander, and Alexander Kaleri, flight engineer.

During five days of mated operations, the two crews transferred more than 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms) of supplies to Mir, including logistics and food, and water generated by the orbiter fuel cells. Three experiments also were transferred: Biotechnology System (BTS) for study of cartilage development; Material in Devices as Superconductors (MIDAS) to measure electrical properties of high-temperature superconductor materials; and Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA), containing several smaller experiments, including self-contained aquatic systems.

About 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) of experiment samples and equipment were transferred from Mir to Atlantis; the total logistical transfer to and from the station of more than 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) was the most extensive to date. Atlantis undocked from the Mir complex on 23 September at 7:33 PM EDT.

Three experiments remained on Atlantis: Extreme Temperature Translation Furnace (ETTF), a new furnace design allowing space-based processing up to 871 degrees Centigrade (1,600 degrees Fahrenheit) and above; Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) complement of 128 individual samples involving 12 different proteins; and Mechanics of Granular Materials, designed to further understanding of behavior of cohesionless granular materials, which could in turn lead to better understanding of how the Earth's surface responds during earthquakes and landslides.

As with all Shuttle-Mir flights, risk-mitigation experiments were conducted to help reduce development risk for the International Space Station. Flying for the first time was the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS), an experiment rack designed to cushion payloads from vibration and other disturbances.

Conducted near the end of flight was a test using the orbiter's small vernier jets to lower Atlantis' orbit, in preparation for the second Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, STS 82, to re-boost Hubble to a higher orbit while still in the orbiter payload bay.

On 25 September, Atlantis closed its payload bay doors, and at 11:06 GMT fired its OMS engines for a three minute long deorbit burn. After entry interface at 11:42 GMT, the spaceship flew across Canada and the US. STS 79 ended on 26 September 1996 when Atlantis landed on revolution 160 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the first opportunity at KSC. Rollout distance: 10,981 feet (3,347 meters). Rollout time: one minute, two seconds. Orbit altitude: 196-245 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: ten days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, 26 seconds. Miles Traveled: 3.9 million. Lucid was able to walk off the orbiter into the Crew Transport Vehicle with assistance, and later the same day received a congratulatory call from President Clinton.

The flight crew for STS 79 was: William F. Readdy, Commander; Terrence W. Wilcutt, Pilot; Thomas D. Akers, Mission Specialist; John E. Blaha, Mission Specialist (returned on STS 81); Jay Apt, Mission Specialist; Carl E. Walz, Mission specialist; Shannon W. Lucid, Mission Specialist returned from Mir (launched on STS 81).

1998 06:31:00 GMT
An Ariane 44LP launched from Kourou carried the Panamsat 7 communications satellite into space, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 68 deg E.

China launched Kaituozhe 1 from Taiyuan, the second attempted launch of the KT-1 booster, intended to place a 40 kg microsatellite called PS-2 into a 300 x 300 km polar orbit. However, the fourth stage failed to ignite.

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