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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 17


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1677
Born, Stephen Hales, English physiologist, chemist, and inventor (ventilation, air and water in plant and animal life)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hales

1764
Born, John Goodricke, English astronomer, discovered the periodic variation of Delta Cephei, studied Algol (Beta Persei) in 1782, proposing it to be an eclipsing binary
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Goodricke

1857
Born, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (at Izhevskoye, Russia, "old style" date), inventor, pioneering rocket scientist - "The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one can not live in a cradle forever!"

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky (17 September (5 September "new style") 1857 - 19 September 1935) was a Russian rocket scientist and cosmonautics pioneer. As a child he caught scarlet fever and became hard of hearing. He was not accepted at elementary schools because of his hearing problem, so was home schooled until 16. Nearly deaf, he worked as a high school mathematics teacher until retiring in 1920.

Tsiolkovsky theorized many aspects of space travel and rocket propulsion. He is considered the father of human space flight and the first man to conceive the space elevator, after visiting Paris in 1895 and becoming inspired by the newly-constructed Eiffel Tower. His most famous work was "The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices," published in 1903, and arguably the first academic treatise on rocketry. Tsiolkovsky proposed the construction of staged rockets in his book "Cosmic Trains" in 1929. He first calculated the escape velocity from the Earth into orbit was 8 km/second and that to achieve this, a multi-stage rocket fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen was required. During his lifetime he published over 500 works on space travel and related subjects, including science fiction novels. Among his works are designs for rockets with steering thrusters, multi-stage boosters, space stations, airlocks for exiting a spaceship into the vacuum of space, and closed cycle biological systems to provide food and oxygen for space colonies. He was also an adherent of philosopher Nikolai Fyodorov, and believed that colonizing space would lead to the perfection of the human race, with immortality and a carefree existence. Unfortunately, his pioneering ideas didn't make it out of Russia in a timely manner, and the field lagged until German and other scientists independently made the same calculations decades later.

Friedrich Zander became enthusiastic about Tsiolkovsky's work and active in promoting and developing it. In 1924, he established the first Cosmonautics Society in the Soviet Union, and later researched and built liquid-fueled rockets named OR-1 (1930) and OR-2 (1933). On 23 August 1924 Tsiolkovsky was elected as a first professor of the Military-Air Academy N. E. Zhukovsky.

The basic equation for rocket propulsion, the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, is named after him.


http://www.russianspaceweb.com/tsiolkovsky.html

1908
Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge died in the crash of a Wright Brothers airplane, and became the first airplane fatality.

The first aircraft fatality occurred on 17 September 1908, during a demonstration at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia: A propeller came loose on a plane being flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge of the US Signal Corps as a passenger. Selfridge died of a skull fracture in the crash.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Selfridge

1911
Calbraith Rodgers left Sheepshead Bay, New York, on the first transcontinental airplane flight across the US, which took 49 days; he arrived in Pasadena on November 5.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calbraith_Perry_Rodgers

1928
E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1122 Neith.

1930
Born, Edgar Dean Mitchell (at Herford, Texas, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (Apollo 14), sixth person to walk on the Moon, 9 days in space

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell PhD, NASA photo
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/mitchell-ed.html

1930
G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1189 Terentia; H. Van Gent discovered asteroid #2831.

1933
F. Rigaux discovered asteroids #1292 Luce and #3280 Gretry.

1938
A. Bohrmann discovered asteroids #1470 Carla and #1531 Hartmut.

1941
J. Willis discovered asteroid #1745 Ferguson.

1943
Born, Samuel Thornton "Sam" Durrance (at Tallahassee, Florida, USA), NASA payload specialist astronaut (STS 35, STS 67, over 25d 14h total time in space)

Astronaut Sam Durrance PhD, NASA photo
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/PS/durrance.html

1959
The US DARPA tried to launch the Transit 1A navigation satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but the Thor Able booster suffered a third stage failure, and the satellite did not reach orbit.
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/transit-1.htm

1959 16:08:00 GMT
NASA/USAF launched X-15A Test mission # 2, the first flight of X-15 #2, the first powered X-15 flight, in which Scott Crossfield reached maximums of 2242 kph (Mach 2.11) and 15.954 km altitude. A turbopump case failure caused an engine compartment fire.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_X-15_flights

1961
Born, Pamela Ann Melroy (at Palo Alto, California, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 92, STS 112, STS 120, 38d 20h total time in space)

Astonaut Pam Melroy, NASA photo
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/melroy.html

1970
USSR's Luna 16 entered orbit around the Moon, in preparation for landing to return a soil sample to the Earth.

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth, the first Lunar sample return mission by the Soviet Union, and the third Lunar sample return overall, following the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. The spacecraft consisted of two attached stages, an ascent stage mounted on top of a descent stage. The descent stage was a cylindrical body with four protruding landing legs, fuel tanks, a landing radar, and a dual descent engine complex. A main descent engine was used to slow the craft until it reached a cutoff point, determined by the onboard computer based on altitude and velocity. After cutoff, a bank of lower thrust jets was used for the final landing. The descent stage also acted as a launch pad for the ascent stage. The ascent stage was a smaller cylinder with a rounded top. It carried a cylindrical hermetically sealed soil sample container inside a re-entry capsule. The spacecraft descent stage was equipped with a television camera, radiation and temperature monitors, telecommunications equipment, and an extendable arm with a drilling rig for collecting the Lunar soil sample.

Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary Earth orbit on 12 September 1970, and after one mid-course correction on 13 September, it entered a circular 111 km Lunar orbit on 17 September 1970. The Lunar gravity was studied from this orbit, and then the spacecraft was fired into an elliptical orbit with a perilune of 15.1 km. The main braking engine was fired using a timed burn on 20 September, initiating the descent to the Lunar surface. At an altitude of 600 meters, the new-design braking rocket was automatically controlled according to height and velocity as measured by radar. The main descent engine cut off at an altitude of 20 meters and the landing jets cut off at 2 meters height at a velocity less than 2.4 m/s (14 mph), followed by vertical free-fall. At 05:18 UT, the spacecraft soft landed on the Lunar surface in Mare Foecunditatis (the Sea of Fertility) as planned, approximately 100 km west of Webb crater. Getting there had required 68 communications sessions over nine days of flight. This was the first landing made in the dark on the Moon, as the Sun had set about 60 hours earlier. According to the Bochum Radio Space Observatory in the Federal Republic of Germany, strong and good quality television pictures were returned by the spacecraft. However, since the pictures were not made available to the US by any sources, there is a question of the reliability of the Bochum report. The drill was deployed at 10:00 UT and penetrated to a depth of 35 cm before encountering hard rock or large fragments of rock. The column of regolith in the drill tube was then transferred to the soil sample container. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the Lunar surface, the ascent stage, with the hermetically sealed soil sample container, lifted off from the Moon carrying 101 grams of collected material at 07:43 UT on 21 September. The lower stage of Luna 16 remained on the Lunar surface and continued transmission of Lunar temperature and radiation data. The Luna 16 re-entry capsule returned directly to Earth without any mid-course corrections, made a ballistic entry into the Earth's atmosphere on 24 September 1970 and deployed parachutes. The capsule landed approximately 80 km SE of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan at 03:26 UT, only 30 km from its aim point. There was ideal weather in the recovery area, the radio beacon worked well, and a helicopter picked up the capsule only a few minutes after landing.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1970-072A

1976
The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, was formally unveiled by NASA, when it was rolled out of the factory at Palmdale, California.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Enterprise

1979
A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #2936.

1985 12:38:52 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-14 from Baikonur to the Salyut 7 space station.

USSR launched Soyuz T-14 from Baikonur on 17 September 1985 to the Salyut 7 space station with a crew consisting of ship's commander V. V. Vasyutin, flight engineer G. M. Grechko and cosmonaut-researcher A. A. Volkov aboard, to conduct scientific and technical studies and experiments. Grechko made an emergency return in Soyuz T-13 on 25 September 1985.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1985-081A

1986 15:52:00 GMT
NASA launched the NOAA 10 weather satellite from Vandenburg, California.

NOAA-G was a third generation operational meteorological satellite for use in the National Operational Environmental Satellite System (NOESS), and for the support of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) during 1978-84. The satellite design provided an economical and stable sun-synchronous platform for advanced operational instruments to measure the Earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, and the near-space environment. Primary sensors included (1) an advanced very-high-resolution radiometer (AVHRR) for observing daytime and nighttime global cloud cover, (2) a TIROS operational vertical sounder (TOVS) for obtaining temperature and water vapor profiles through the Earth's atmosphere, (3) an Earth radiation experiment (ERBE) for measuring the energy exchange between the Earth-atmosphere system and space, and (4) a solar backscatter ultraviolet spectrometer (SBUV/2) for providing ozone distributions in the atmosphere. Secondary experiments consisted of a space environment monitor (SEM), which measured the proton and electron fluxes near the Earth, and a data collection system (DCS), which processed and relayed to central data acquisition stations the various meteorological data received from free-floating balloons and ocean buoys distributed around the globe. A search and rescue (SAR) system was also carried on NOAA-G to receive, process, and relay distress signals transmitted by beacons carried by civil aircraft and some classes of marine vessels. The satellite was based upon the Block 5D spacecraft bus developed for the US Air Force, and was capable of maintaining an Earth-pointing accuracy of better than plus or minus 0.1 degrees with a motion rate of less than 0.035 degrees/second. NOAA 10 operations were closed as of August 1991.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1986-073A

1991 20:02:00 GMT
USSR launched the Molniya 3-41 communications satellite from Plesetsk to operate the telephone and telegraph communications system in the USSR, and transmit USSR Central Television programs to stations in the Orbita and cooperating international networks.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1991-065A

2000 22:46:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 106 (Atlantis 22) undocked from the ISS as International Space Station Flight 2A.2b drew to a close, after preparing the station for permanant occupation.

STS 106 was launched 8 September 2000 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B after a smooth countdown. The inital orbit of 72 x 328 km x 51.6 deg was circularised by the Shuttle's OMS engines at apogee.

Of nearly 12 days in orbit, STS 106 spent seven docked with the International Space Station, preparing the ISS for the arrival of the first residents in its permanent habitation, the Expedition One crew. Atlantis docked with the PMA-2 adapter on the International Space Station at 05:51 GMT on 10 September.

The STS 106 crew spent five days, 9 hours and 21 minutes inside the International Space Station. The seven crewmembers completed a long checklist aimed at making the station a home for its first residents, who would arrive about five weeks later to stay for more than four months. Acting as plumbers, movers, installers and electricians, the astronauts installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the orbiting outpost. They also delivered more than 2,993 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies.

Astronauts Lu and Malenchenko performed a spacewalk beginning at 04:47 GMT on 11 September. They rode the RMS arm up to the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module and began installing power, data and communications cables, reaching a distance of 30 meters from the airlock when installing Zvezda's magnetometer. The total EVA duration was 6 hours 21 minutes.

Atlantis' thrusters were fired four times to boost the station's altitude by 22.5 kilometers (14 miles).

The Shuttle undocked from ISS at 03:44 GMT on 18 September. After undocking, Pilot Scott Altman moved Atlantis to a distance of about 137 meters (450 feet) from the station, and made two circuits of the station, each lasting half an orbit, as the rest of the crew photographed its exterior for documentation. The final separation maneuver was executed at 05:34 GMT.

The payload bay doors were closed at 04:14 GMT on 20 September, and at 06:50 GMT, the OMS engines ignited for a three minute burn lowering the orbit from 374 x 386 km x 51.6 deg to 22 x 380 km x 51.6 deg. After entry interface at 07:25 GMT, STS 106 ended 20 September 2000 when Atlantis landed on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with main gear touchdown at 07:56:48 GMT, for a mission duration of 11 days, 19 hours, 10 minutes.

The flight crew for STS 106 was: Terrence Wilcutt, Commander; Scott D. Altman, Pilot; Edward T. Lu, Mission Specialist 1; Richard A. Mastracchio, Mission Specialist 2; Daniel C. Burbank, Mission Specialist 3; Yuri I. Malenchenko, Mission Specialist 4; Boris V. Morukov, Mission Specialist 5.


https://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-106/index.html


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