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Space History for September 25


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1644
Born, Ole Christensen Romer, Danish astronomer, made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light (1676)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_R%C3%B8mer

1676
Greenwich Mean Time began when two very accurate clocks were set in motion at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England. Greenwich Mean Time, now known as Universal Time, became the standard for the world in 1884.
http://www.projectbritain.com/calendar/September/gmt.html

1879
C. H. F. Peters discovered asteroid #203 Pompeja.

1892
A. Charlois discovered asteroid #338 Budrosa; M. Wolf discovered asteroids #339 Dorothea, #340 Eduarda and #341 California.

1913
F. Kaiser discovered asteroid #763 Cupido.

1916
M. Wolf discovered asteroid #840 Zenobia.

1925
V. Albitzkij discovered asteroid #1283 Komsomolia.

1929
E. Hertzsprung discovered asteroid #1627 Ivar; M. Wolf discovered asteroid #1134 Kepler.

1931
Robert Esnault-Pelterie and Jean-Claude Barre began experiments with liquid fueled rocket engines, funded by the French Department of War. Just three weeks later, Esnault-Pelterie lost his left fingers in a lab explosion, but he and Barre persevered.
http://www.astronautix.com/b/barre.html

1934
Born, John Sumter Bull PhD (at Memphis, Tennessee, USA), astronaut candidate (NASA Group 5 - 1966), managed NASA research programs in autonomous systems technology for space applications (deceased)

Astronaut candidate and research program manager John Bull, NASA photo
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/bull-js.html

1941
Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #2243 Lonnrot and #2299 Hanko.

1956
The first commercial transatlantic telephone service began.
http://ethw.org/Milestones:The_First_Submarine_Transatlantic_Telephone_Cable_System_%28TAT-1%29,_1956

1960
Died, Ruth Rowland Nichols, aviatrix, holder of more than 35 women's aviation records

Ruth Rowland Nichols (23 February 1901 - 25 September 1960) was born in New York City. Her father, who claimed descent from Leif Ericson, had been one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and her mother was a strict Quaker - a combination which led to a confusing and complicated childhood.

For her high school graduation, her father presented her with an opportunity to ride in a airplane with Eddie Stinson, ace pilot of World War I. She began secretly studying to fly even as she studied at Wellesley College, planning for a career as a physician. Shortly after her graduation from Wellesley, Ruth Nichols became the first woman in the world to earn an international hydroplane license. In 1927, she was one of the first two women to receive a Department of Commerce transport license. She went on from there to fly every type of aircraft developed: She was rated in the dirigible, glider, autogyro, landplane, seaplane, amphibian, monoplanes, biplanes, tri-planes, twin and four engine transports and supersonic jets. Nichols was the first of three women to earn an Air Transport Pilot rating in 1929 and the only woman to hold three different world records simultaneously: women's altitude (28,748 feet), speed (210.5 mph), and non-stop, Oakland to Louisville (19 hrs. 16 min.) between 1931 and 1932.


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

1960
The Palomar-Leiden Survey discovered asteroids #2799 Justus and #2934 Aristophanes.

1960 15:13:00 GMT
NASA launched Pioneer (P 30) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in an attempt to launch a Pioneer satellite into Lunar orbit. The mission failed when the second stage of the Atlas-Able rocket malfunctioned and exploded.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_P-30

1967 08:25:00 GMT
The US Navy launched Transit 17 from Vandenburg, California. Transit, one of the first operational satellite systems, was also know as the Navy Navigation Satellite (NNS).
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1967-092A

1973
L. Zhuravleva discovered asteroid #3157.

1973 22:19:51 GMT
NASA's Skylab 3 mission (73-050A) returned to Earth after its crew had spent time aboard the Skylab space station which doubled the previous on-orbit record.

Skylab CSM 2, also called Skylab 3, was launched 28 July 1973 to ferry a crew of three and their provisions to the Skylab complex, and return the crew to Earth. The crew was Alan Bean, commander; Jack Lousma, pilot; and Owen Garriott, science pilot. The spacecraft was almost identical to the Command/Service Module used for the Apollo manned Lunar landing missions. Modifications were made to accommodate long duration Skylab missions, and to allow the spacecraft to remain semi-dormant while docked to the Skylab cluster.

The space vehicle, consisting of the CSM payload on a Saturn IB launch vehicle, was inserted into a 231.3 x 154.7 km orbit. Rendezvous maneuvers were performed during the first five orbits as planned. During the rendezvous, the CSM reaction control system forward firing engine oxidizer valve leaked, and the quad was isolated. Station-keeping with the Skylab Orbital Workshop began approximately 8 hours after liftoff, with docking being performed about 30 minutes later.

Troubleshooting of the RCS leak continued afer docking. For the first time, an Apollo spacecraft was rolled out to Launch Complex 39 for a possible rescue mission, made possible by the ability for the station to have two Apollo CSMs docked at the same time. The crew eventually fixed the problem, and the rescue mission was never launched.

During the first EVA, on 6 August 1973, the crew installed the twin-pole sunshade, one of the two repairs for the micrometeoroid shield destroyed during Skylab's launch, which was supposed to keep the space station cool. The second sunshade, developed by MSFC, was deployed over the parasol, which was originally deployed through a porthole airlock during Skylab 2. Both the parasol and twin-pole sunshades were brought to the station by Skylab 2. A redesigned and refined thermal parasol had been launched with Skylab 3. However, its use would have required jettisoning the parasol deployed by crew members of Skylab 2, with the possibility of creating the same thermal problems that existed on the OWS prior to the parasol deployment. Following erection of the twin-pole sunshade, the cabin temperature stayed at a comfortable 293-297 K (20-24 C, 68-75 F).

Skylab 3 continued the comprehensive medical research program that extended the data on human physiological adaptation and readaptation to space flight collected on the previous Skylab 2 mission. In addition, Skylab 3 extended the astronauts stay in space from approximately one month to two months. Therefore, further effects of flight duration on physiological adaptation and readaptation could be, and were, examined.

A set of core medical investigations were performed on all three Skylab manned missions, the same basic investigations that were performed on Skylab 2. The Skylab 3 inflight tests were supplemented with extra tests based on what researchers learned from the Skylab 2 science results. For example, only leg volume measurements, preflight and postflight stereophotogrammetry, and in-flight maximum calf girth measurements were originally scheduled for all three Skylab missions. In-flight photographs from Skylab 2 revealed the "puffy face syndrome" which prompted the addition of in-flight torso and limb girth measurements to gather more data on the apparent headward fluid shift on Skylab 3. Other additional tests included arterial blood flow measurements by an occlusive cuff placed around the leg, facial photographs taken before flight and during flight to study the "puffy face syndrome", venous compliance, hemoglobin, urine specific gravity, and urine mass measurements. These inflight tests gave additional information about fluid distribution and fluid balance to get a better understanding of the fluid shift phenomena.

The Skylab 3 biological experiments studied the effects of microgravity on mice, fruit flies, single cells and cell culture media. Human lung cells were flown to examine the biochemical characteristics of cell cultures in the microgravity environment. The two animal experiments were entitled Chronobiology of Pocket Mice and Circadian Rhythm in Vinegar Gnats. Both experiments were unsuccessful due to a power failure 30 minutes after launch.

High school students from across the United States participated in the Skylab missions as the primary investigators of experiments that studied astronomy, physics, and fundamental biology. The student experiments performed on Skylab 3 included the study of libration clouds, x-rays from Jupiter, in-vitro immunology, spider web formation, cytoplasmic streaming, mass measurement, and neutron analysis.

The crew's health was assessed on Skylab by collecting data on dental health, environmental and crew microbiology, radiation, and toxicological aspects of the Skylab orbital workshop. Other assessments were made of astronaut maneuvering equipment and of the habitability of the crew quarters. Crew activities and maintenance experiments were examined on Skylab 2 through 4 to better understand the living and working aspects of life in space.

The Skylab 3 crew doubled the record for the length of time in space, completing 858 Earth orbits and 1,081 hours of solar and Earth experiments; three EVAs totalled 13 hours, 43 minutes. Skylab 3 ended on 25 September 1973 when the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 30 deg 47 min N 120 deg 29 min W.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1973-050A

1975 09:50:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 771, a military surveillance satellite advertised as being used for investigation of the natural resources of the Earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1975-090A

1976
Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2745; N. Chernykh discovered asteroid #2776 Baikal.

1979
A. Mrkos discovered asteroids #2325 Chernykh and #2403 Sumava.

1979 15:30:00 GMT
USSR launched Bion 5 (Cosmos 1129) from Plesetsk, a biosatellite to continue investigation of the effects of space flight on living organisms, carrying biological and radiation physics experiment packages from 8 countries including the US and USSR.

Bion 5 (Cosmos 1129) was launched 25 September 1979 with biological experiments related to embryo development and radiation medicine. The biosatellite was designed for the continued investigation of the effects of space flight on living organisms. It carried biological and radiation physics experiment packages from Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, German Democratic Republic, US and USSR. The capsule was recovered on 14 October 1979.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1979-083A

1981
L. G. Taff discovered asteroid #3403 Tammy.

1983
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov averted a worldwide nuclear war (Sept. 26 USSR time) by ignoring erroneous satellite reports that the US had launched a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov

1984
J. Platt discovered asteroids #3237 Victorplatt and #3259.

1992 17:05:01 GMT
NASA launched the ill-fated Mars Observer (MGCO, Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a Titan 3 booster. Contact with the probe was lost on 21 August 1993, just before it reached Mars.

NASA's Mars Observer (MGCO, Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter), launched 25 September 1992, was the first of the Observer series of planetary missions, and designed to study the geoscience and climate of Mars. The primary science objectives for the mission were to:
   1. determine the global elemental and mineralogical character of the surface material;
   2. define globally the topography and gravitational field;
   3. establish the nature of the Martian magnetic field;
   4. determine the temporal and spatial distribution, abundance, sources, and sinks of volatiles and dust over a seasonal cycle;
   5. explore the structure and circulation of the atmosphere.

Contact with Mars Observer was lost on 21 August 1993, three days before the scheduled orbit insertion, and was not re-established. It is unknown whether the spacecraft was able to follow its automatic programming and go into Mars orbit, or if it flew by Mars and is now in a heliocentric orbit. Subsequent analysis concluded the most probable cause of the mishap was a fuel line rupture during fuel tank pressurization, caused by fuel and oxidizer vapors leaking during the cruise phase through an improperly designed PTFE check valve to the common pressurization system. That leak resulted in an explosion that caused the rupture after the engine was restarted for a routine course correction. The rupture would have caused the spacecraft to spin uncontrollably, and would have made orbit insertion extremely unlikely. Although none of the primary objectives of the mission were achieved, cruise mode data were collected up to the time of the loss of contact.

See also https://science.nasa.gov/missions/mars-observer/
      and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Observer



Mars Observer in orbit above Mars, NASA illustration
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/masterCatalog.do?sc=1992-063A

1997 22:34:19 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 86 (Atlantis 20, 87th Shuttle mission) for the seventh Shuttle-Mir docking mission.

Atlantis was launched 25 September 1997 on the seventh mission to the Russian Mir space station. The on-time liftoff occurred after final approval for the flight was given earlier in the day by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, following his review of independent and internal safety assessments regarding the safety of Mir and Shuttle-Mir missions. The reviews included assessments conducted routinely prior to the first Shuttle-Mir dockings, and two independent studies prompted by a spate of problems on the station, including the fire on 23 February and the collision on 25 June between a Progress resupply vehicle and the station's Spektr module.

The STS 86 TI rendevous terminal initiation burn was carried out at 1:32 PM EDT on 27 September, and Atlantis docked with the SO (Docking Module) on the Mir complex at 3:58 PM EDT. At 4:06 PM EDT, the Shuttle took attitude control of the entire Mir complex. At 5:30 PM EDT Commander Solovyev opened the Mir hatch, and after pressure equalization, Commander Wetherbee opened the Shuttle hatch at 5:45 PM EDT, presenting the most welcome gift of Mir's new Motion Control Computer.

The seventh Mir docking mission continued the presence of a US astronaut on the Russian space station with the transfer of physician David A. Wolf to Mir. Wolf became the sixth US astronaut in succession to live on Mir, to continue Phase 1B of the NASA/Russian Space agency cooperative effort. Wolf officially joined the Mir 24 team at noon EDT on 28 September. At the same time, Foale became a member of the STS 86 crew, and began moving his personal belongings to Atlantis.

Foale returned to Earth after spending 145 days in space, 134 of them aboard Mir. His estimated mileage logged was 58 million miles (93 million kilometers), making his the second longest US space flight, behind Shannon Lucid's record of 188 days. His stay was marred by a collision on 25 June between a Progress resupply vehicle and the station's Spektr module, damaging a radiator and one of the four solar arrays on Spektr. The mishap occurred while Mir 23 Commander Vasily Tsibliev was guiding the Progress capsule to a manual docking, and depressurized the station. The crew sealed the hatch to the leaking Spektr module, leaving Foale's personal effects and several NASA science experiments inside, and repressurized the remaining modules.

An internal space walk by Tsibliev and Mir 23 Flight Engineer Alexander Lazutkin was planned to reconnect power cables to the three undamaged solar arrays, but during a routine medical exam on 13 July, Tsibliev was found to have an irregular heartbeat. Foale then began training for the space walk, but during one of the training exercises, a power cable was inadvertently disconnected, leaving the station without power. On 21 July, it was announced the internal space walk would not be conducted by the Mir 23 crew, but their successors on Mir 24. On 30 July, NASA announced that Wendy Lawrence, originally assigned to succeed Foale on Mir, was being replaced by Wolf. The change was deemed necessary to allow Wolf to act as a backup crew member for the space walks planned over the next several months to repair Spektr. Unlike Wolf, the diminutive Lawrence could not fit the Orlan suit used for Russian space walks, and she did not undergo space walk training. (Wolf had originally been scheduled to fly on the STS 89 mission to MIR and join the Mir 24 crew.)

Following their arrival at the station 7 August, Mir 24 Commander Antaoly Solovyev and Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov conducted the internal space walk inside the depressurized Spektr module on 22 August, reconnecting 11 power cables from Spektr's solar arrays through a new custom made hatch for the module. During that space walk, Foale remained inside the Soyuz capsule attached to Mir, in constant communication with the cosmonauts and ground controllers.

On 5 September, Foale and Solovyev conducted a six hour external extravehicular activity to survey damage outside Spektr and to try and pinpoint where the breach of the module's hull occurred. Two undamaged arrays were manually repositioned to better gather solar energy, and a radiation device previously left by Jerry Linenger was retrieved.

The first joint US-Russian extravehicular activity during a Shuttle mission, which was also the 39th EVA in the Space Shuttle program, was conducted by cosmonaut Titov and astronaut Parazynski. On 1 October, they entered the Shuttle payload bay while Atlantis was docked to Mir. The airlock was depressurized at around 1:29 PM EDT and the astronauts emerged from the hatch on the tunnel adapter at around 1:35 PM EDT. They affixed a 121 pound Solar Array Cap to the docking module for future use by Mir crew members to seal off the suspected leak in Spektr's hull, and retrieved the four MEEP (Mir Environmental Effects Payload) exposure packages from Mir's SO module. The experiments were attached to the Docking Module by astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford during Shuttle mission STS 76 in March 1996. The MEEP packages investigate effects of exposure to the space environment on a variety of materials. The solar array cap was too large to be transferred through Mir, and would be needed to seal off the base of the damaged array on Spektr if and when the array was jettisoned by cosmonauts. In addition to retrieving the MEEP, Parazynski and Titov tested several components of the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) jet pack, a small jet-backpack designed for use as a type of life jacket during station assembly. The airlock was repressurized at 6:30 PM EDT.

During the six days of docked operations, the joint Mir 24 and STS 86 crews transferred more than four tons of material from the SPACEHAB Double Module to Mir, including approximately 1700 pounds of water, experiment hardware for International Space Station Risk Mitigation, experiments to monitor Mir for crew health and safety, a gyrodyne, batteries, three air pressurization units with breathing air, an attitude control computer and many other logistics items. The new motion control computer replaced one that had experienced problems in recent months. The crew also moved experiment samples and hardware and an old Elektron oxygen generator to Atlantis for return to Earth.

During the flight, Wetherbee and Bloomfield fired small jet thrusters on Atlantis to provide data for the Mir Structural Dynamics Experiment (MISDE), which measured disturbances to the space station's components and its solar arrays. Other experiments conducted during the mission were the Commercial Protein Crystal Growth investigation; the Cell Culture Module Experiment (CCM-A), the Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM) and the Radiation Monitoring Experiment-III (RME-III); the Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local Exhaust (SIMPLE) experiment; and the Midcourse Space Experiment. Two NASA educational outreach programs were also conducted, Seeds in Space-II, and Kidsat.

Cargo Bay Payloads:
# Bay 1: Tunnel adapter / 2 Carriers for retrieved MEEP experiment
# Bay 2-4: External Airlock / Orbiter Docking System / European Proximity Sensor
# Bay 5-7: Long Tunnel / 2 Carriers for retrieved MEEP experiment
# Bay 8-9: Spacehab Double Module
# Bay 13S: GAS can (SEEDS-II)

In-Cabin Payloads: RME's; KidSat; CPCG; CREAM; CCM-A; MSX; SIMPLEX

Atlantis undocked from Mir at 1:28 PM EDT on 3 October. Just after undocking, the Shuttle continued to back away through a corridor similar to that used during approach with periodic stops to "stationkeep" in order to collect data for the European laser docking sensor. Atlantis backed away in this manner until it reached a distance of 190 meters below Mir. The shuttle then moved back to within 70 meters of the station and conducted a 46 minute flyaround focused on the damaged Spektr Module to determine the location of the puncture in its hull. Solovyev and Vinogradov opened a pressure regulation valve to allow air into the Spektr module while the STS 86 crew looked to see if they could detect seepage or debris particles that would indicate the location of the breach in the damaged module's hull. As expected, the Shuttle crew observed evidence that the leak seemed to be located at the base of the damaged solar panel. (The cap delivered by the Atlantis crew was designed to repair this puncture.) Final separation of Atlantis from Mir took place around 4:28 PM EDT.

STS 86 ended 6 October 1997 when the crew fired the engines to deorbit at 16:47 EDT on revolution 170, and Atlantis landed on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the first opportunity after two opportunities on 5 October were waved off due to heavy cloud cover. Rollout distance: 11,947 feet (3,641 meters). Rollout time: one minute, 22 seconds. Orbit altitude: 184 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: 10 days, 19 hours, 20 minutes, 50 seconds. This was the last flight of Atlantis prior to departure to California for its second Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP). The orbiter was scheduled to return to KSC in late August 1998 to begin preparations for STS 92, the third International Space Station assembly flight.

The flight crew for STS 86 was: James D. Wetherbee, Commander; Michael J. Bloomfield, Pilot; Vladimar G. Titov, (RSA) Mission Specialist; Scott E. Parazynski, Mission Specialist; Jean-Loup J.M. Chretien, (CNES) Mission Specialist; Wendy B. Lawrence, Mission Specialist; David A. Wolf, Mission Specialist (returned on STS 89); C. Michael Foale returned from Mir (launched on STS 84).


https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-86.html

1999 06:29:00 GMT
An Ariane 44LP launched from Kourou carried Telstar 7 to orbit, which was positioned in geostationary orbit at 129 deg E, later sold to Intelsat and renamed IA-7.

Telstar 7, owned by Loral Skynet, was launched 25 September 1999, and had 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders. Its dry mass was 1537 kg. After placement in its final geosynchronous orbit, it provided communications for North America from a position at 129 degrees East longitude. The satellite was sold to Intelsat in March 2004 and renamed IA-7. It suffered a power failure on 28 November 2004 and was briefly declared lost. Intelsat recovered control of the satellite by 4 December 2004.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1999-052A

2001 23:21:00 GMT
An Ariane 44P launched from Kourou carried the Atlantic Bird 2 geostationary satellite to orbit, to provide high speed TV, video streaming, radio and Internet services between North and South America, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=2001-042A

2002
The Vitim event or Bodaybo event, believed to be an impact by a bolide or comet nucleus in the Vitim River basin, occurred near the town of Bodaybo in the Mamsko-Chuisky district of Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russia.

The Vitim event or Bodaybo event is believed to be an impact by a bolide or comet nucleus in the Vitim River basin. It occurred near the town of Bodaybo in the Mamsko-Chuisky district of Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russia on 25 September 2002 at approximately 10 p.m. (local time). The event was also detected by a US anti-missile defense military satellite. V.A. Chernobrov suggested that the Vitim event could be caused by a falling of a comet nucleus with a diameter about 50-100 meters.

The links on the Wikipedia page contain more interesting information.


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

2002 16:58:00 GMT
Russia launched Progress M1-9 (NASA designation: Progress 9P) from Baikonur to the International Space Station to deliver food, fuel, and supplies.

Progress-M1 9 (NASA designation Progress 9P), launched 25 September 2002, was a Russian automatic cargo transportation craft that delivered food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), whose launch had been delayed from 22 July, 10 September, and 20 September. It docked with the Zvezda module of the ISS on 29 September at 1700 UTC. Prior to the docking, the port was vacated by the earlier Progress-M 46. Progress-M1 9 undocked from the station on 1 February 2003, and was commanded to destructive re-entry in the atmosphere.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=2002-045A


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