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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 October 5

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Race To Space
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H. Goldschmidt discovered asteroid #36 Atalante; R. Luther discovered asteroid #37 Fides.

Died, William Lassell, astronomer (equatorial telescope mount, discovered satellites of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune)

Born, Giorgio Abetti, Italian astronomer (solar physics)

Born, Robert Hutchings Goddard PhD (at Worcester, Massachusetts, USA), rocket pioneer "It has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today, and the reality of tomorrow."

Edwin Hubble identified a Cepheid variable star in the Andromeda galaxy that allowed him to show the spiral nebula was beyond the bounds of the Milky Way.

V. Albitzkij discovered asteroid #1007 Pawlowia.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1076 Viola.

Born, Richard Francis "Dick" Gordon Jr (at Seattle, Washington, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (Gemini 11, Apollo 12; nearly 13d 4h total time in spaceflight) (deceased)

Astronaut Dick Gordon, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable October 2019)

C. W. Tombaugh discovered asteroids #2839 Annette and #3583 Burdett.

Born, Pavel Romanovich Popovich (at Usin, Kiev Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), Major General Soviet AF, Soviet cosmonaut (Vostok 4, Salyut 3; nearly 18d 16.5h total time in spaceflight), commander of first military space station mission (deceased)

Cosmonaut Pavel Popovich, photo by Wikipedia user Akkit (1 August 2012)
Source: Wikipedia

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #1203 Nanna; K. Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1227 Geranium, #1228 Scabiosa, #1706 Dieckvoss, #2359 Debehogne and #3644.

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1351 Uzbekistania.

S. Arend discovered asteroids #1887 Virton and #2455 Somville.

Born, Andre Kuipers (at Amsterdam, Netherlands), Dutch engineer, ESA astronaut (ISS 9, ISS 30/31; nearly 203d 16h total time in spaceflight)

ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers, photo by DLR/ESA/A.Morellon (22 September 2013)
Source: Wikipedia

Born, Brent Ward Jett Jr (at Pontiac, Michigan, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 72, STS 81, STS 97, STS 115; nearly 41d 18h total time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Brent W. Jett, Jr., STS-115 mission commander, NASA photo (2005)
Source: Wikipedia ( killed 25 Feb 2021)

A US Air Force spokesman announced that astronaut Walter M. Schirra Jr could have been killed by an artificial radiation belt if Mercury MA-8 had gone above 640 km (400 miles) altitude.

Mercury Atlas 8 (MA-8, also called Sigma 7) was the third manned orbital flight of the Mercury program, piloted by Walter M. Schirra, Jr., launched into orbit on 3 October 1962 by a Atlas rocket from the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral, Florida. In the most successful American manned space flight to date, Schirra traveled nearly six orbits, returning to Earth at a predetermined point in the Pacific Ocean 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff. Within 40 minutes after landing, he and his spacecraft were safely aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge. In spite of a partially blocked ECS coolant valve that delayed stabilizing his suit temperature until the second orbital pass, Schirra attempted and achieved a nearly perfect mission by sticking rigorously to the mission plan.

The objectives of MA-8 were to: (1) evaluate the performance of the man-spacecraft system in a six pass orbital mission; (2) evaluate the effects of an extended orbital space flight on the astronaut and to compare this analysis with those of previous missions and astronaut-simulator programs; (3) obtain additional astronaut evaluation of the operational suitability of the spacecraft and support systems for manned orbital flights; (4) evaluate the performance of spacecraft systems replaced or modified as a result of previous three pass orbital missions; and, (5) evaluate the performance of and exercise further the Mercury Worldwide Network and mission support forces, and establish their suitability for extended manned flight.

Originally scheduled for launch in early September, the mission was postponed twice to provide additional time for flight preparation. The launch was the first to be relayed live (via the Telstar satellite) to television audiences in Western Europe.

Two major modifications were made to the spacecraft to eliminate difficulties encountered during the previous two flights: The first was an alteration of the reaction control system to disarm the high-thrust jets and to permit use of the low-thrust jets only in manual operation (to conserve fuel). The second was the addition of two high-frequency antennas (mounted on the retro package) to assist and maintain spacecraft and ground communications throughout the flight.

Astronaut Schirra called his mission a "textbook flight," the only difficulty having been attaining the correct temperature adjustment on his pressure suit.

A considerable amount of attitude drift time was built into the MA-8 timeline to study fuel conservation methods. (Much of the mission Schirra spent in what he called "chimp configuration," a free drift that tested the Mercury's autopilot system.) The result was that 78% of the fuel supply remaining in both the automatic and manual tanks at the start of reentry. The pilot was therefore able to use the automatic mode for reentry.

Four experiments were conducted during the MA-8 flight. One was a light visibility experiment, similar to those conducted on the two previous missions. The second was a nuclear radiation experiment, using radiation-sensitive emulsions to study the flux and composition of galactice cosmic rays. A third was an investigation in which the ablation of various materials due to heating during reentry was measured. The final experiment used a 70 mm Hasselblad camera with various filters to gather imagery for assembling a catalog of Earth photography for comparison with similar images obtained by other satellite programs.

Schirra's was the first of two longer-duration Mercury missions. After Carpenter's flawed reentry, the emphasis returned to engineering rather than science (Schirra named his spacecraft "Sigma" for the engineering symbol meaning "summation.") Schirra tried "steering" by the stars, which he found difficult, took photographs with a Hasselblad camera, exercised using a bungee cord device, saw lightning in the atmosphere, broadcast the first live message from an American spacecraft to radio and TV listeners below, and made the first splashdown in the Pacific.

During the flight, the spacecraft attained a maximum velocity slightly higher than previous flights (28,092 km/hour). MA-8 was the highest flight of the Mercury program, with an apogee of 283 kilometers (178 miles), but Schirra later claimed to be unimpressed with space scenery as compared to the view from high-flying aircraft: "Same old deal, nothing new," he told debriefers after the flight.

Three days after his flight, on 5 October 1962, A US Air Force spokesman, Lt. Colonel Albert C. Trakowski, announced that special instruments on unidentified military test satellites had confirmed the danger that Schirra could have been killed if his MA-8 space flight had taken him above a 400 mile altitude. The artificial radiation belt, created by the US high altitude nuclear test in July, sharply increased in density above 400 miles altitude at the geomagnetic equator and reached peak intensities of 100 to 1,000 times normal levels at altitudes above 1,000 miles.

Sigma 7 landed near the international date line in the Pacific Ocean, 275 miles (440 km) northeast of Midway Island, near 32 deg 7' 30" N, 174 deg 45' W, about 8.2 km from the prime recovery ship, USS Kearsarge. The duration of the flight was 9 hours 13 minutes and 11 seconds, during which Schirra travelled over 230,000 km.

Mercury spacecraft #16 (Sigma 7) is currently displayed at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville, Florida.

Mercury spacecraft #16 (Sigma 7) display page on A Field Guide to American Spacecraft

1968 00:29:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-10 from Baikonur for operation of a system of long range telephone telegraph radio communication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to the stations of the Orbita network.

1980 17:10:00 GMT
USSR launched Raduga 7 from Baikonur to provide uninterrupted telephone and telegraph service and transmit USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita network, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 85 deg E 1980-1981, 25 deg W 1982-1986.

N. G. Thomas discovered asteroids #2927 Alamosa and #3584.

1984 07:03:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 41-G (Challenger 6, Shuttle 13) carrying the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) and Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications-3 (OSTA-3) experiment platform to orbit.

STS 41-G was launched 5 October 1984 after a smooth countdown that proceeded to an on-time liftoff.

STS 41-G was the first space flight to include two women, Ride and Sullivan. Sullivan also became the first American woman to walk in space on 14 October 1984, and Garneau became the first Canadian in space.

The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) was deployed less than nine hours into the flight. Office of Space and Terrestrial Applications-3 (OSTA-3) carried three experiments in payload bay. Components of the Orbital Refueling System (ORS) were connected, demonstrating it is possible to refuel satellites in orbit. The crew also collected high resolution Earth imagery. Other payloads: Large Format Camera (LFC); IMAX camera, flying for third time; package of Canadian Experiments (CANEX); Auroral Photography Experiment (APE); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME); Thermoluminescent Dosimeter (TLD); and eight Get Away Special (GAS) cannisters.

In response to the American Strategic Defense Initiative and continued military use of the Shuttle, the Soviet Union fired a "warning shot" from the Terra-3 laser complex at Sary Shagan. The facility tracked Challenger with a low power laser on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions in on-board equipment and discomfort and/or temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.

STS 41-G ended 13 October 1984 when Challenger landed on revolution 133 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 10,565 feet. Rollout time: 54 seconds. Launch weight: 242,780 pounds. Landing weight: 202,266 pounds. Orbit altitude: 218 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, five hours, 23 minutes, 38 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million.

The flight crew for STS 41-G was: Robert L. Crippen, Commander; Jon A. McBride, Pilot; Kathryn D. Sullivan, Mission Specialist 1; Sally K. Ride, Mission Specialist 2; David C. Leestma, Mission Specialist 3; Marc Garneau, Payload Specialist 1; Paul D. Scully-Power, Payload Specialist 2.

1989 17:28:00 GMT
The first attempt by the commercial firm American Rocket Company (AMROC) to launch its SET-1/SMLV (Single Engine Test-1/Single Module Launch Vehicle) failed on the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

1990 06:14:00 GMT
China launched the FSW-1 No. 3 (Fanhui Shi Weixing) recoverable (military surveillance) satellite from Jiuquan on a Chang Zheng 2C booster which carried biological research experiments and returned to Earth on 23 October 1990.

Died (high altitude pulmonary edema while attempting to summit the north face of Mount Everest), Karl Gordon Henize PhD, mission specialist astronaut (STS 51-F; 7d 22.75h in spaceflight)

1993 17:56:00 GMT
Landsat 6 was launched from Vandenberg, California, but was not successfully placed into operation, apparently due to a Star-37XFP-ISS kick-motor malfunction.

The Landsat 6 satellite, launched 5 October 1993, was a commercial program jointly with the Department of Commerce (NOAA) and EOSAT Company to provide data for a wide range of Earth resources applications including environmental monitoring, natural resource exploration, urban planning, and cartography. The Landsat 6 satellite was to continue the series of operational Earth resource monitoring spacecraft begun with Landsat 1 in 1972. Landsat 6 differed from previous Landsat missions in that it carried only one remote sensing instrument, the Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM). The Landsat 6 spacecraft, built by GE Astro Space, was based on RCA's Advanced TIROS-N/DMSP spacecraft design used for the operational NOAA and DMSP polar orbiting meteorological spacecraft. Landsat 6 sensors were mounted on the forward module of the central spacecraft bus which also housed three multichannel steerable X-band antennas. Power was to be generated by a 16.74 sq. meter 4-panel single solar array backed up by two 50 Ahr NiCd batteries. Attitude and control was to be maintained by hydrazine and nitrogen thrusters. The spacecraft was 3-axis, zero momentum stabilized to an accuracy of 0.015 degrees. Two redundant on-board Odetics tape recorders were able to store about 15 minutes (75 Gbits) of image data. Five transmitters permitted three simultaneous downlinks to three ground stations, with two of the stations receiving different data sets. The X-band subsystem provided simultaneous panchromatic downlink and playback to the central EOSAT ground station in Oklahoma. The ETM sensor continued the high-resolution Landsat imagery begun with the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsats 4 and 5. The ETM consisted of 7 spectral channels (6 with a ground resolution of 30 meters and one (thermal IR) with a ground resolution of 120 meters) plus a panchromatic channel providing a ground resolution of 15 meters. The spacecraft lost contact with ground stations shortly after launch and before achieving orbit. The spacecraft apparently failed due to a Star-37XFP-ISS kick-motor malfunction.

Died, Seymour Cray, American computer scientist

1997 15:08:57 GMT
Russia launched the unmanned Progress M-36 resupply vessel from Baikonur to the Mir space station on a Soyuz booster which also carried the Sputnik-40 amateur radio satellite and Germany's X-Mir Inspector to orbit.

Russia launched the Progress M-36 unmanned resupply vessel to Mir on 5 October 1997. It docked with Mir on 8 Oct 1997 17:07:09 GMT, undocked on 17 Dec 1997 06:01:53 GMT, and was destroyed in reentry on 19 Dec 1997 13:20:01 GMT. Total free-flight time 5.39 days. Total docked time 69.54 days.

Also launched on the flight were Germany's X-Mir Inspector and Russia's Sputnik-40, an amateur radio spacecraft manufactured by the Kabardin-Balakarsk chapter of the Astronautical Federation of Russia. Sputnik-40 was a subscale model of the first Spuntik, hand-launched by the Mir crew during an EVA which transmitted radio signals and re-entered the atmosphere on 21 May 1998.

1997 21:01:00 GMT
The Echostar 3 commercial communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on an Atlas IIAS and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 61 deg W.

1998 22:51:00 GMT
An Ariane 44L launched from Kourou carried Eutelsat W2 and Sweden's Sirius 3 into space, which were positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 16 deg E in 1998-1999 and 28 deg E in 1998-1999, respectively.

Died, Steve Jobs, computer pioneer

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