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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 23

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

German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered Neptune, the eighth known planet, based on predictions by French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams.

Died, Jean Chacornac, French astronomer (discovered 6 asteroids)

Died, Urbain J J Leverrier, French astronomer, codiscoverer of Neptune

Herman Hollerith filed his first patent application for his mechanical tabulating machine. The patent was granted 8 January 1889.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #767 Bondia.

Born, Werner Kurt-Otto Rosinski, German guided missile expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, worked at Fort Bliss in 1947, then at White Stands and Huntsville

M Wolf discovered asteroids #835 Olivia, #836 Jole and #837 Schwarzschilda.

S Belyavskij discovered asteroids #885 Ulrike, #981 Martina and #2156 Kate.

Born, Pyotr Ivanovich Kolodin (at Novovasilyevka, Zaporozhye Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), Soviet Air Force, cosmonaut candidate (Air Force Group 2 - 1963) (inactive), assigned to five different missions but always grounded, working at mission control in 1989

A "time capsule," to be opened in 6939 (after 5000 years), was buried at the World's Fair in New York City, containing over 100 different items including a woman's hat, a man's pipe and 1,100 feet of microfilm.

Born, Loren James Shriver (at Jefferson, Iowa, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 51-C, STS 31, STS 46)

Astronaut Loren Shriver, NASA photo

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1749 Telamon and #3745.

M Itzigsohn discovered asteroid #1801 Titicaca.

USSR launched Luna 1958A in an attempt to reach the Moon and impact its surface. The SL-3/A-1 launch vehicle disintegrated after 93 seconds due to longitudinal resonance in the strap-ons, causing an acrimonious design bureau debate over fault and fix.

1960 17:52:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A test mission # 22 in which Forrest Petersen reached a maximum speed of 1783 kph (Mach 1.68) and a maximum altitude of 16.168 km, limited by the premature shutdown of both XLR-11 alcohol/LOX-powered rocket engines.

Born, William Cameron "Willie" McCool (at San Diego, California, USA), Commander USN, NASA astronaut (STS 107) (deceased, Columbia re-entry disaster)

Astronaut William C. McCool, STS-107 pilot, NASA photo (10 August 2001)

P Wild discovered asteroid #1768 Appenzella.

1969 14:07:36 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 300 from Baikonur, intended to be a robotic Lunar soil return mission, but which failed to leave low Earth orbit because the Block D stage lost LOX due to a valve defect. It re-entered Earth's atmosphere 27 September 1969.

1972 01:20:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer 47 (IMP-H) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to investigate cislunar radiation, the Earth's magnetosphere, and the interplantary magnetic field.

Explorer 47 (IMP-H), launched 23 September 1972, continued the study begun by earlier IMP spacecraft of the interplanetary and magnetotail regions from a nearly circular orbit approaching 37 Earth radii, approximately 60% of the distance to the Moon. The 16-sided drum-shaped spacecraft was 157 cm high and 135 cm in diameter, designed to measure energetic particles, plasma, and electric and magnetic fields. The spin axis was normal to the ecliptic plane, with a spin period of 1.3 seconds. The spacecraft was powered by solar cells and a chemical battery. Scientific data were telemetered at 1600 bps (with a secondary 400 bps rate available). The spacecraft was turned off on 31 October 1978.

The Salyut 3 return capsule was released from the orbiting station for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, and was recovered by the Soviets.

Salyut 3, launched 25 June 1974, was the Soviet Union's first successful Almaz military manned space station flight, and attained an altitude of 219-270 km, with a final orbital altitude of 268-272 km. It tested a wide array of reconnaissance sensors. Salyut 3 had a total mass of about 19 tons (18500 kg). It had two solar panels laterally mounted at the center of the station, and a detachable recovery module for return of research data and materials. Salyut 3 was only operated by one team of Soyuz cosmonauts, from Soyuz 14 (July 1974). The Soyuz 15 cosmonauts (August 1974) were unable to dock successfully with the station. On 23 September 1974, the station's recovery module was released and re-entered the atmosphere, and was recovered by the Soviets. The KSI capsule suffered damage during re-entry, but all of the film was recoverable. On 24 January 1975 trials of the on board Nudelmann aircraft cannon were conducted with positive results: Cosmonauts have confirmed that a target satellite was destroyed in the test. The next day the station was commanded to retrofire to a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. Although only one of three planned crews managed to board the station, that crew did complete the first completely successful Soviet space station flight.

1976 07:42:00 GMT
Soyuz 22, a surplus ASTP vehicle with a multi-spectral camera made by Carl Zeiss-Jena in place of the docking system, landed 150 km NW of Tselinograd with cosmonauts Aksyonov and Bykovsky aboard, after spending 8 days in space photographing the Earth.

NASA flew Enterprise flight 6 (with the tail cone on) for approach and landing tests (ALT), the third free flight of the testbed shuttle vehicle, which lasted 5 minutes 34 seconds before landing on the lake bed Runway 15 at Edwards AFB, California.

N Chernykh discovered asteroids #2657 Bashkiria and #3013 Dobrovoleva.

1987 23:43:54 GMT
USSR launched the Progress 32 unmanned resupply vessel from Baikonur to Mir.

USSR launched the Progress 32 unmanned resupply vessel to Mir on 23 September 1987, which delivered 850 kg propellants and 315 kg food in the 2,000 kg total logistics payload. Progress 32 docked with Mir on 26 Sep 1987 01:08:15 GMT, and undocked on 10 Nov 1987 04:09:10 GMT. After withdrawing to a distance of 2,500 meters, it redocked on 10 Nov 1987 05:47 GMT, undocked again 17 Nov 1998 19:25 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 19 Nov 1987 00:58:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.17 days. Total docked time 52.82 days.

Died, Paul E Garber, founder and first curator of the US National Air & Space Museum

1996 23:33:00 GMT
NASA's shuttle Atlantis undocked from the Russian Mir space station, ending the docked portion of the fourth Shuttle-Mir mission's flight.

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).

1997 16:44:51 GMT
The FAISAT-2V communications satellite owned by the US company Final Analysis Inc. was launched from Plesetsk on a Kosmos booster which also carried Russia's Cosmos 2346 military navigation satellite into orbit.

1997 23:58:00 GMT
An Ariane 42L launched from Kourou carried the Intelsat 803 communications satellite to space, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 21 deg W.

1998 05:06:00 GMT
A Pegasus XL air-launched from a flight originating at Wallops Island, Virginia, carried eight Orbcomm communications satellites (Orbcomm FM-21 - FM-28) into orbit, which were placed in the constellation's Plane C ascending nodes.

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere due to a navigation error.

The Mars Climate Orbiter (formerly called the Mars Surveyor '98 Orbiter), launched 11 December 1998, was one of two separately launched spacecraft comprising the Mars Surveyor '98 program (the other craft being the Mars Polar Lander). The two missions were to study the Martian weather, climate, and water and carbon dioxide budget, in order to understand the reservoirs, behavior, and atmospheric role of volatiles and to search for evidence of long-term and episodic climate changes.

The Mars Climate Orbiter was destroyed when a navigation error caused it to miss its target altiude at Mars by 80 to 90 km, instead entering the Martian atmosphere at an altitude of 57 km during the orbit insertion maneuver on 23 September 1999.

The Orbiter had as its primary science objectives to: 1) monitor the daily weather and atmospheric conditions; 2) record changes on the Martian surface due to wind and other atmospheric effects; 3) determine temperature profiles of the atmosphere; 4) monitor the water vapor and dust content of the atmosphere and 5) look for evidence of past climate change.

Mars Climate Orbiter was launched on a Delta 7425 (a Delta II Lite launch vehicle with four strap-on solid-rocket boosters and a Star 48 (PAM-D) third stage) from Pad A of Launch Complex 17 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida. After a brief cruise in Earth orbit, the Delta II third stage put the spacecraft into trans-Mars trajectory. About 15 days after launch the largest trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) was executed using the hydrazine thrusters. During cruise to Mars, three additional TCM's using the hydrazine thrusters were performed on 4 March, 25 July, and 15 September 1999.

The spacecraft reached Mars and executed a 16 minute 23 second orbit insertion main engine burn on 23 September 1999 at 09:01 UT (5:01 AM EDT) Earth received time (ERT, signal travel time from Mars was 10 minutes 55 seconds). The spacecraft passed behind Mars at 09:06 UT ERT and was to re-emerge and establish radio contact with Earth at 09:27 UT ERT, 10 minutes after the burn was completed. However, contact was never re-established and no signal was ever received from the spacecraft. Findings of the failure review board indicate that a navigation error resulted from some spacecraft commands being sent in English units instead of being converted to metric. This caused the spacecraft to miss its intended 140 - 150 km altitude above Mars during orbit insertion, instead entering the Martian atmosphere at about 57 km. The spacecraft would have been destroyed by atmospheric stresses and friction at such a low altitude.

The burn would have slowed the spacecraft and put it into a 14 hour elliptical (~150 x 21,000 km) capture orbit. The orbiter was to begin aerobraking, using the solar panel to provide resistance and continue until a 90 x 405 km orbit was achieved, nominally on 22 November 1999, with periapsis at 89 N. The hydrazine thrusters would be used to change the orbit to a 2-hour, 421 km near-circular polar science mapping orbit on 1 December 1999. The orbit was to be nearly Sun-synchronous, crossing the daytime equator at about 4:30 PM local time. The first phase of the mission was to support the Mars Polar Lander from its landing on Mars on 3 December 1999 to the end of the lander primary mission on 29 February 2000. The orbiter would pass over the lander site 10 times per Martian day for 5-6 minutes each time, communicating via the UHF 2-way relay link at 128 kbits/s. Mars science operations and mapping, involving operation of the MARCI and PMIRR, would initiate on 3 March 2000 and continue for one Martian year (687 days). At the end of the mapping mission on 15 January 2002, the orbiter was to be placed in a stable orbit and function as a UHF relay for the Mars 2001 mission.

NASA drawing, Mars Climate Orbiter in orbit above Mars

1999 06:02:00 GMT
An Atlas-Centaur launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carried Echostar 5 to orbit, part of the Dish Network, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 110 deg W.

Scaled Composites/Mojave Aerospace flew the Tier One White Knight/SpaceShipOne Flight 37L/06G during the X-Prize program development, the third glide flight of SpaceShipOne, to evaluate the space ship in both glide and re-entry ("feather") mode.

2004 15:07:00 GMT
Russia launched Cosmos 2409, a military satellite lofted by a Cosmos-3M rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.

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