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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 9

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Leif Ericson's discovery of "Vinland" is celebrated for his becoming the first known European to set foot in North America. The exact date is not known, 9 October marks the arrival of Norwegian immigrants in the US in 1825.

The supernova commonly called "Kepler's nova" was first sighted in northern Italy. Johannes Kepler began observing the luminous display on 17 October, it was subsequently named after him since he studied it for a year, not because he first saw it.

False color X-ray, Optical & Infrared Composite of Kepler's Supernova Remnant, NASA image

Died, Benjamin Banneker, American clockmaker, astronomer, and publisher

Benjamin Banneker (9 November 1731 - 9 October 1806) was an American Negro clockmaker, astronomer, and publisher and was instrumental in surveying the District of Columbia. He built the first striking clock constructed in America at the age of 21. His study of astronomy, beginning at age 58, enabled him to make the calculations to predict solar and lunar eclipses and to compile an ephemeris for his Benjamin Banneker's Almanac, which he published from 1792 through 1797.

C H F Peters discovered asteroid #109 Felicitas.

Born, Karl Schwarzschild, German physicist and astronomer, first exact solution to Einstein's field equations of general relativity (Schwarzschild radius, event horizon of a non-rotating black hole, 1915)

The first two-way telephone conversation took place, which was also the first sent over outdoor wires.

J Helffrich discovered asteroid #706 Hirundo.

Born, Robert Aitken Rushworth (at Madison, Maine, USA), Major General USAF, test pilot (X-15) (deceased)

C W Tombaugh discovered asteroid #3310 Patsy; K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1229 Tilia, #1230 Riceia, #1253 Frisia, #1624 Rabe and #1814 Bach.

H Alikoski discovered asteroid #1786 Raahe; S Arend discovered asteroid #1570 Brunonia.

Born, Yuri Vladimirovich Usachyov (at Donetsk, Rostov Oblast, Russian SFSR), Russian cosmonaut (Mir 15, Mir 21, STS 101, ISS 2 Commander, nearly 553 total days in space)

Russian cosmonaut Yury V. Usachev, ISS Expedition Two commander, NASA photo

1962 18:58:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A VO Stability Test mission # 72 in which John McKay reached a maximum speed of 5980 kph (Mach 5.46), and flew to a maximum altitude of 39.685 km.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #1802 Zhang Heng, #2012 Guo Shou-Jing, #2184 Fujian, #2515 Gansu, #2547 Hubei, #3502 and #3542.

NASA's Lunar Orbiter 3 impacted the Lunar surface on command.

The Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph areas of the Lunar surface for confirmation of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial (210.2 km x 1801.9 km with an inclination of 20.9 degrees) Lunar orbit on 8 February at 21:54 UT. After four days (25 orbits) of tracking the orbit was changed to 55 km x 1847 km. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 15 February to 23 February 1967, and readout occurred through 2 March 1967. The film advance mechanism started showing erratic behavior, resulting in a decision to begin readout of the frames earlier than planned. The frames were read out successfully until 4 March when the film advance motor burned out, leaving about 25% of the frames on the takeup reel, unable to be read.

149 medium resolution and 477 high resolution frames were returned from the Moon. The frames were of excellent quality, with resolution down to 1 meter. One of the frames included the Surveyor 1 landing site, with sufficient detail to permit identification of the spacecraft's location on the surface. Accurate data were acquired from all of the other experiments throughout the mission. The spacecraft was used for tracking purposes until it impacted the Lunar surface on command at 14.3 degrees N latitude, 97.7 degrees W longitude (selenographic coordinates) on 9 October 1967.

B Burnasheva discovered asteroid #2697 Albina.

1977 02:40:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 25 from Baikonur, crewed by Vladimir Kovalyonok and Valeri Ryumin. Unsuccessful, it failed to dock with Salyut 6, the eighth Soviet space station mission to fail in 13 attempts. Soyuz 25 returned to Earth on 11 October 1977.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #3028.

C Shoemaker and S J Bus discovered asteroid #2834 Christy Carol; C Shoemaker discovered asteroids #2532 Sutton, #2705 Wu, #2918 Salazar, #2932 Kempchinsky, #3161 Beadell, #3333 Schaber and #3430 Bradfield.

1981 10:40:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1314 from Plesetsk, a Resurs surveillance satellite advertised as being for investigation of the Earth's natural resources in the interests of various branches of the USSR national economy and international cooperation.

1981 16:59:00 GMT
USSR launched Raduga 10 from Baikonur to provide uninterrupted telephone and telegraph communication in the USSR and transmit USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita network, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 85 deg E 1981-1987.

1985 02:53:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched the Navstar 11 (USA 10) satellite on an Atlas booster from Vandenberg, California, a GPS Block 1 satellite component of the Global Positioning System.

A "great" meteor was seen from Kentucky to New York, captured on film by at least 16 cameras, and a 13 kilogram (est. mass) meteorite landed in the driveway of the Knapp residence in Peekskill, New York, destroying Michelle Knapp's 1980 Chevrolet Malibu.

Died, Herbert Bergeler, German/American rocket engineer

Herbert Bergeler (16 May 1907 - 9 October 1996) was a member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after World War II. Bergeler was a German expert in guided missiles during World War II. After the War, he was relocated to the US, and as of January 1947, was working at Fort Bliss, Texas. He worked his entire life with the rocket team, at Fort Bliss, White Stands, New Mexico, and then at Huntsville, Alabama.

1997 18:08:00 GMT
Russia launched its Foton 11 materials satellite with microgravity experiments and Germany's Mirka technology satellite from Plestesk on a Soyuz booster. The capsules returned to Earth and landed in Kazakstan on 23 October 1997.

1998 22:50:00 GMT
Eutelsat's Hot Bird 5 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on an Atlas IIA booster, and positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 13 deg E.

2000 05:38:00 GMT
NASA launched HETE-2 (High Energy Transient Explorer 2) in the first orbital launch from Kwajalein on a Pegasus H booster to detect cosmic gamma-ray bursts and help determine their origin and nature.

High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2), launched 9 October 2000, was designed to detect cosmic gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and help determine their origin and nature. The satellite had three instruments: 1) a set of wide-field gamma-ray (6-400 keV) spectrometers (FREGATE, the French Gamma Telescope); 2) a wide-field X-ray (2-25 keV) monitor (WXM), and 3) a set of soft X-ray (0.5-10 keV) cameras (SXC). These instruments cover a solid angle of 1.5-2 steradians, to be used to make simultaneous broad band observations in the various listed energy ranges. The goal of the mission was to continuously scan the sky and identify occurences of GRBs, establish precise locations, and transmit coordinates in near real time (<10 seconds). The instruments were also to be used to establish relative GRB rates and intensities in the soft X-ray, mid X-ray, and gamma-ray bands, perform spectroscopy of gamma-ray bursts in the energy range 1-400 keV, measure the intensities, time histories, and spectra of soft gamma-ray repeater bursts, X-ray bursts, and black hole X-ray transients.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) operated the satellite, while the program was managed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) as an Explorer mission of opportunity. HETE's main instrument was FREGATE, the French Gamma Telescope, a hard X-ray spectrometer operating in the 6-400 keV energy range. This gamma ray burst detector, together with a Wide Field X-ray Monitor hard X-ray coded mask telescope, was used to trigger searches with the two Soft X-ray Imagers which had 33 arcsecond spatial resolution, to let astronomers get precise locations for gamma-ray bursts, allowing detailed follow-up with optical instruments.

The spacecraft was basically a rectangular cube, roughly 1 meter x 0.5 meter x 0.5 meter, with four solar panel petals protruding from the bottom. The bottom section of the spacecraft held the power, communications, and attitude control and the upper section the science instruments. Power was supplied by the solar panels, made of honeycomb aluminum with a silicon substrate, each supplying 42 W. There were 6 battery packs, each containing 24 1.5 V NiCd cells, each with 1.2 A-hr capacity. Communication was via S-band uplink (2.092 GHz) and downlink (2.272 GHz) using 5 dual-patch antennas. A VHF downlink (137.9622 MHz) was used for the real-time burst alerts via a whip antenna mounted on one of the solar panels. Attitude control was achieved by a momentum wheel and three orthogonal magnetic torque coils, controlled by inputs from two magnetometers, twelve Sun sensors, and an optical camera.

HETE-2 was placed in a 592 km x 640 km elliptical Earth orbit in the first orbital launch from Kwajalein. The spacecraft always pointed in the anti-solar direction, and all bursts detected were to be at least 120 degrees from the Sun. The field of view would be centered roughly on the ecliptic. Over the course of a year, approximately 60% of the sky was to be surveyed. When GRB's were detected, summary burst data were sent immediately to listen-only equatorial ground stations, and forwarded to observers via the GRB coordinates network within less than 10 seconds of burst detection. The planned operating life was 18 months with probable mission extensions for an additional 6 months or more.

HETE-2 was built by MIT using leftover parts from the first satellite to replace HETE-1, which failed to operate because of a Pegasus adapter failure during its launch in November 1996.

NASA drawing, High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2), designed to detect cosmic gamma-ray bursts

Scaled Composites/Mojave Aerospace flew White Knight Flight 6 in the SpaceShipOne X-Prize development program to evaluate rudder modifications and engine bleed air heating aft of the cabin, the first test of the SpaceShipOne nitrous heating system.

2002 10:17:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 112 (Atlantis 26) docked at the ISS for the International Space Station Flight 9A to install and activate the S1 (S-One) Truss.

STS 112 was launched 7 October 2002 on a flight delayed from 22 March, 4 April, 22 August, 28 September, and 2 October due to payload delays, then SSME problems. It docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on 9 October carrying a crew of five Americans and one Russian, undocked on 16 October, and landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 18 October 2002, ending the mission at the 10 day, 19 hour, 58 minute mark.

The STS 112 crew - Commander Jeff Ashby, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus, Piers Sellers, David Wolf and Fyodor Yurchikhin continued the on-orbit construction of the International Space Station with the delivery and installation of the S-1 (S-One) Truss. The S1, the third piece of the station's 11-piece Integrated Truss Structure, was attached to the starboard end of the S0 (S-Zero) Truss on Flight Day 4, which extended the truss system of the exterior rail line with a 14 meter, 13 ton girder. The crew also tested a manual cart on the rails. The cart, named CETA (Crew and Equipment Transportation Aid), was designed to increase mobility of crew and equipment during the later installation phases. The STS 112 crew performed three spacewalks (10 October, 12 October and 14 October) to outfit and activate the new component. The crew also transferred cargo between the two vehicles, and used the shuttle's thruster jets during two maneuvers to raise the station's orbit.

STS 112 was also the first shuttle mission to use a camera on the External Tank. The color video camera provided a live view of the launch to flight controllers and NASA TV viewers.

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