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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 30

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E W Tempel discovered asteroid #81 Terpsichore.

C H F Peters discovered asteroid #191 Kolga.

Henry Draper took the first photograph of the Orion Nebula.

Palisa discovered asteroid #219 Thusnelda.

Born, Hans Geiger, German physicist, inventor (Geiger counter)

The world's first hydroelectric power plant began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #757 Portlandia.

H Thiele discovered asteroid #843 Nicolaia.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #923 Herluga.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #864 Aase, #959 Arne and #2453.

German sportsman Fritz von Opel flew the Sander Rak 1 glider, powered for about 75 seconds by 16 solid propellant rockets to a speed of 95 mph.

Opel sponsored resumption of tests of rocket boosted gliders near Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, using Lippisch's tail-less design, boosted by 16 powder rockets of 23 kgf each. With Opel at the controls, the glider successfully launched itself from a 20 meter long rail launcher on 30 September 1929, and he flew the aircraft for ten minutes. However, the landing went badly: the design had a landing speed of 160 kph (100 mph), and with a total weight of 270 kg, a high wing loading. Opel survived, but the glider had to be written off. This was Opel's last involvement with rocketry: General Motors, the majority owner of the Opel company, prohibited further rocketry work after the stock market crash. Fritz von Opel left the country and moved to Switzerland.

J Comas Sola discovered asteroid #1188 Gothlandia.

S Arend discovered asteroids #1576 Fabiola and #1579 Herrick.

Born, Michel Ange-Charles Tognini (at Vincennes, France), cosmonaut, astronaut (Soyuz TM-15/Mir/Soyuz TM-14, STS 93, nearly 18.75 total days in space)

The world's first atomic powered vessel, the submarine Nautilus, was commissioned by the US Navy.

Scientists from 12 countries, including the United States and USSR, attended the International Rocket and Satellite Conference held at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, under the sponsorship of CSAGI.

1957 09:50:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 957 from the Baikonur cosmodrome, a Soviet photo surveillance satellite.

Born, Stephen Nathaniel Frick (at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), astronaut (STS 110, STS 122)

Astronaut Stephen N. Frick, STS-122 commander, NASA photo (9 July 2007)

1965 17:43:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A Infrared Scanner test mission # 151 in which Pete Knight reached a maximum speed of 4374 kph (Mach 4.06), and flew to a maximum altitude of 23.348 km.

L Kohoutek discovered asteroid #1942 Jablunka.

1972 20:24:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 2-3 from Plesetsk for operation of the long range telephone and telegraph radio communication system, and transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita and cooperating international networks.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #3296.

The NASA Apollo (12, 16) ALSEP science stations were commanded to shut down.

Apollo 16 (AS 511) consisted of the Command and Service Module (CSM) "Casper" and the Lunar Module (LM) "Orion." The launch on 16 April 1972 was postponed from the originally scheduled 17 March date because of a docking ring jettison malfunction. It was the fifth mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth. On 21 April 1972 two astronauts (Apollo 16 Commander John W. Young and LM pilot Charles M. Duke, Jr.) landed in the Descartes region of the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM) (with CM pilot Thomas K. Mattingly, II) continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 24 April and the astronauts returned to Earth on 27 April.

The primary mission goals of inspecting, surveying, and sampling materials in the Descartes region, emplacement and activation of surface experiments, conducting inflight experiments and photographic tasks from Lunar orbit, engineering evaluation of spacecraft and equipment, and performance of zero-gravity experiments were achieved despite the mission being shortened by one day. Young, 41, was a Navy Captain who had flown on three previous spaceflights (Gemini 3, Gemini 10, and Apollo 10; he later flew on STS-1 and STS-9), Mattingly, 36, was a Navy Lt. Commander on his first spaceflight (he later flew STS-4 and STS-51C), and Duke, 36, was an Air Force Lt. Colonel also on his first spaceflight.

Apollo 16 was launched at 17:54:00 (12:54:00 p.m. EST) on Saturn V SA-511 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The spacecraft entered Earth parking orbit at 18:05:56 UT and translunar injection took place at 20:27:37 UT. The CSM and S-IVB stage separated at 20:58:59 UT and CSM-LM docking was achieved at 21:15:53 UT. The S-IVB stage was released into a Lunar impact trajectory, but due to an earlier problem with the auxiliary propulsion system (APS) helium regulators, which resulted in continuous venting and loss of helium, the second APS burn could not be made. Tracking of the S-IVB was lost on 17 April at 21:03 UT due to a transponder failure. (The S-IVB stage impacted the Moon on 19 April at 21:02:04 UT at 1.3 N, 23.8 W with a velocity of 2.5 to 2.6 km/s at a 79 degree angle from the horizontal, as estimated from the Apollo 12, 14 and 15 seismic station data.) A mid-course correction was performed at 00:33:01 UT on 18 April. During translunar coast a CSM navigation problem was discovered in which a false indication would cause loss of inertial reference, this was solved by a real-time change in the computer program. The SIM door was jettisoned on 19 April at 15:57:00 UT and Lunar orbit insertion took place at 20:22:28 UT. Two revolutions later, the orbit was lowered to one with a perilune of 20 km.

At 15:24 UT on 20 April, Young and Duke entered the LM. The LM separated from the CSM at 18:08:00 UT, but the LM descent was delayed almost 6 hours due to a malfunction in the yaw gimbal servo loop on the CSM which caused oscillations in the service propulsion system (SPS). Engineers determined that the problem would not seriously affect CSM steering and the mission was allowed to continue with the LM descent. The LM landed at 02:23:35 UT on 21 April in the Descartes highland region just north of the crater Dolland at 9.0 S, 15.5 E. Young and Duke made three moonwalk EVAs totaling 20 hours, 14 minutes. During this time they covered 27 km using the Lunar Roving Vehicle, collected 94.7 kg of rock and soil samples, took photographs, and set up the ALSEP and other scientific experiments. Other experiments were also performed from orbit in the CSM during this time.

The LM lifted off from the Moon at 01:25:48 UT on 24 April after 71 hours, 2 minutes on the Lunar surface. After the LM docked with the CSM at 03:35:18 UT the Lunar samples and other equipment were transferred from the LM and the LM was jettisoned at 20:54:12 UT on 24 April. The LM began tumbling, apparently due to an open circuit breaker in the guidance and navigation system. As a result the planned deorbit and Lunar impact could not be attempted. The LM remained in Lunar orbit with an estimated lifetime of one year. The instrument boom which carried the orbital mass spectrometer would not retract and was jettisoned. Because of earlier problems with the SPS yaw gimbal servo loop the mission was shortened by one day. The orbital shaping maneuver was cancelled, and the subsatellite was spring-launched at 21:56:09 UT into an elliptical orbit with a lifetime of one month, rather than the planned one-year orbit. Transearth injection began at 02:15:33 UT on 25 April. On 25 April at 20:43 UT Mattingly began a cislunar EVA to retrieve camera film from the SIM bay and inspect instruments, two trips taking a total of 1 hour, 24 minutes. The CM separated from the SM on 27 April at 19:16:33 UT. Apollo 16 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 27 April 1972 at 19:45:05 UT (2:45:05 p.m. EST) after a mission elapsed timeof 265 hours, 51 minutes, 5 seconds. The splashdown point was 0 deg 43 min S, 156 deg 13 min W, 215 miles southeast of Christmas Island and 5 km (3 mi) from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), which contained scientific experiments that were deployed and left on the Lunar surface, operated until it was commanded to shut down on 30 September 1977.

The Apollo 16 Command Module "Casper" is on display at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

See also
* Apollo 16 Lunar Module /ALSEP
* Apollo 16 SIVB
* Apollo 16 Subsatellite

1977 01:02:00 GMT
The Intelsat IVA F-5 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but did not make it to space because a gas generator hot gas leak caused the Atlas booster to fail.

USSR's Uragan space interceptor project was begun.

In order to counter US space shuttle flights made in polar orbits from Vandenberg, California, USSR's Uragan project was allegedly begun on 30 September 1978. The scaled-up Spiral vehicle was to be launched by a new Zenit launcher and carry a Nudelmann recoilless gun for destruction of the shuttle after interception and inspection. The first flight was planned for 1983.

The Ethernet specification was published by Xerox, working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation.

1981 07:55:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1312 geodetic satellite from Plesetsk for investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space.

P Wild discovered asteroid #3491.

Died, Charles Richter, geophysicist, inventor (Richter Magnitude Scale, for measurement of earthquake intensity)

Died, William M. Fairbank (at Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA), physicist (liquid and solid helium, superconductivity)

1993 16:28:00 GMT
McDonnell-Douglas launched a DC-X test mission from White Sands, New Mexico, which demonstrated a 180 degree roll, provided aerostability data, and reached 370 m altitude during the 57 second flight. The DC-X was mothballed when SDIO funding ran out.

1993 17:06:00 GMT
Russia launched the Raduga 30 communications satellite from Baikonur, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 85 deg E, replacing Raduga 26.

1994 07:16:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 68 (Endeavour 7, 65th Shuttle mission) carrying the Space Radar Laboratory-2 (SRL 2) package to orbit.

The first launch attempt of STS 68 on 18 August 1994 was halted at T-1.9 seconds when the orbiter's computers shut down all three main engines after detecting an unacceptably high discharge temperature in the high pressure oxidizer turbopump turbine for main engine number three. Endeavour was returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and all three engines were replaced. The countdown for the second launch attempt proceeded smoothly to an on time liftoff on 30 September 1994.

STS 68 marked the second flight in 1994 of the Space Radar Laboratory (the first flight was STS 59 in April), part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Flying SRL during different seasons allowed comparison of the changes between the first and second flights. SRL-2 was activated on flight day one, and around-the-clock observations were conducted by the astronauts, split into two teams. Besides repeating data takes over the same locations as on the first flight, unusual events were also imaged, including an erupting volcano in Russia and the islands of Japan after the earthquake there. Also tested was the ability of SRL-2 imaging radars, Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C (SIR-C) and X- band Synthetic Aperture Radar (X-SAR), to discern difference between such human-induced phenomena as an oil spill in the ocean and a naturally occurring film.

The mission also took advantage of the opportunity to study fires set in British Columbia, Canada, for forest management purposes. Special readings were taken with another SRL element, Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS), to gain a better understanding of carbon monoxide emissions from the burning forest. Flying for the fourth time on the Shuttle, MAPS was designed to measure the global distribution of carbon monoxide.

On flight day six, the mission was extended one day by the Mission Management Team. The maneuvering capability of the orbiter was demonstrated anew in the latter half of the mission, when a different data-gathering method was tried. Called interferometry, it required repeated, nearly coincidental imaging passes with the SIR-C/X-SAR over target sites. In one instance, was Endeavour piloted to within 30 feet (nine meters) of where it was flown on the first flight in April. The collected data can be transcribed into detailed topographic images showing elevation and other features. Interferometric passes were completed over central North America, the Amazon forests of central Brazil, and the volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Such images, if produced regularly over a long term, could provide information on movements of the Earth's surface as small as fraction of an inch, which could be invaluable in detecting pre-eruptive changes in volcanoes and movements in fault lines before earthquakes.

Other cargo bay payloads flown on STS 68 included five Get Away Special (GAS) cannisters: two sponsored by university student groups, one by the Swedish Space Corporation, and two by the US Postal Service holding 500,000 commemorative stamps honoring the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11.

The middeck payloads on STS 68 were: Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) to study dynamics of protein crystallization and to obtain protein crystals large enough to allow structural analysis; Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC-01), flying for first time and holding gypsy moth eggs to determine how microgravity affects moth development; CHROMEX-05, fifth in series designed to examine effects of microgravity on physiological processes in plants. Previous CHROMEX flights have shown that plants grown in space may not produce seed embryos; CHROMEX-05 was designed to show whether infertility is due to microgravity or an another environmental factor. Also in middeck were: Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM), to collect data on cosmic rays; and Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST), part of a five-year Navy effort to study the effects of ships on the marine environment.

Problems encountered during STS 68 included a missing tile around an overhead window; a suspect temperature sensor on an orbiter Reaction Control System (RCS) vernier thruster, which led to a temporary cessation of SRL-2 radar observations; and a failed primary RCS thruster.

STS 68 ended 11 October 1994 when Endeavour landed on revolution 182 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,495 feet (2,589 meters). Rollout time: 60 seconds. Orbit altitude: 120 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: 11 days, five hours, 46 minutes, eight seconds. Miles traveled: 4.7 million. OV-105 was returned to KSC atop the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on 12 October 1994.

The landing was diverted to Edwards due to unacceptable weather at Kennedy Space Center. Post-landing video showed what appeared to be water dripping from the area of the centerline latch for the orbiter/external tank doors; the source was later found to be a cracked valve in water spray boiler number three.

The flight crew for STS 68 was: Michael A. Baker, Commander; Terrence W. Wilcutt, Pilot; Thomas D. Jones, Payload Commander; Steven L. Smith, Mission Specialist 1; Daniel W. Bursch, Mission specialist 2; Peter J.K. Wisoff, Mission Specialist 3.

NASA shut Pioneer 11's science experiments down after over 22 years of operation, due to declining power available from the probe's generators.

Pioneer 11, launched 6 April 1973, was the second mission to investigate Jupiter and the outer Solar system, and the first to explore the planet Saturn and its main rings. Pioneer 11, like Pioneer 10, used Jupiter's gravitational field to alter its trajectory radically. It passed close to Saturn and then it followed an escape trajectory from the Solar system.

Pioneer 11 was 2.9 m long and carried a 2.74 m diameter high gain antenna. The spacecraft contained two RTG nuclear electric generators, which generated 144 W at Jupiter, but had decreased to 100 W by the time it got to Saturn. There were three reference sensors: a star (Canopus) sensor, and two Sun sensors. Attitude position could be calculated from the reference direction to the Earth and the Sun, with the known direction to Canopus as a backup. Pioneer 11's star sensor gain and threshold settings were modified, based on experience gained from the settings used on Pioneer 10. Three pairs of rocket thrusters provided spin axis control (maintained at 4.8 rpm) and change of the spacecraft velocity. The thrusters could be either fired steadily or pulsed, by command.

Communications were maintained via the omnidirectional and medium gain antennas, which operated together, connected to one receiver, while the high gain antenna was connected to the other receiver. The receivers could be interchanged by command. Two radio transmitters, coupled to two traveling wave tube (TWT) amplifiers, produced 8 W power each in the S band. Communication uplink (Earth to spacecraft) operated at 2110 MHz, and downlink (spacecraft to Earth) at 2292 MHz. At Jupiter's distance, the round trip communication time was 92 minutes. Data were received at the Deep Space Network (DSN). The spacecraft was temperature controlled to between -23 and +38 deg C (-10 to +100 deg F). An additional experiment, a low sensitivity fluxgate magnetometer, was added to the Pioneer 11 payload.

Instruments studied the interplanetary and planetary magnetic fields; Solar wind properties; cosmic rays; the transition region of the heliosphere; neutral hydrogen abundance; distribution, size, mass, flux, and velocity of dust particles; Jovian aurorae; Jovian radio waves; the atmospheres of the planets and satellites; and the surfaces of Jupiter, Saturn, and some of their satellites. Instruments carried for these experiments were a magnetometer, a plasma analyzer (for the Solar wind), a charged-particle detector, an ionizing detector, non-imaging telescopes with overlapping fields of view to detect sunlight reflected from passing meteoroids, sealed pressurized cells of argon and nitrogen gas for measuring penetration of meteoroids, a UV photometer, an IR radiometer, and an imaging photopolarimeter, which produced photographs and measured the polarization. Further scientific information was obtained from celestial mechanics and occultation phenomena.

Pioneer 11, like Pioneer 10, contains a plaque that has a drawing depicting a man, a woman, and the location of the Sun and Earth in the galaxy.

During its closest approach on 4 December 1974, Pioneer 11 passed within 34,000 km of Jupiter's cloud tops. It passed Saturn on 1 September 1979, at a distance of 21,000 km from Saturn's cloud tops, the first probe launched from Earth to do so. The spacecraft has operated on a backup transmitter since launch. Instrument power sharing began in February 1985 due to declining RTG power output. Science operations and daily telemetry ceased on 30 September 1995 when the RTG power level was insufficient to operate any experiments. As of the end of 1995 the spacecraft was located at 44.7 AU from the Sun at a nearly asymptotic latitude of 17.4 degrees above the Solar equatorial plane and was heading outward at 2.5 AU/year.

Routine tracking and project data processing operations were terminated on 31 March 1997 for budget reasons.

Obtain Pioneer 10/11 position data (heliographic coordinates)

See also the Pioneer Project page at NASA/ARC.

2001 02:40:00 GMT
An Athena launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska carried four experimental satellites to orbit: Starshine 3, with mirrors polished by school children, Picosat to test electronic components, PCSat amateur radio relay, and Sapphire with an IR horizon sensor.

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