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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 10

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Died, David Gregory, Scottish astronomer (inverse square law of gravitation, achromatic telescopes)

Born, Henry Cavendish, British scientist (discovered hydrogen, calculated Newton's gravitational constant, mass of the Earth, composition of the atmosphere)

Neptune's moon Triton was discovered by William Lassell. It is the seventh largest moon in the Solar system, and the only large moon with a retrograde orbit.

J C Watson discovered asteroid #106 Dione.

J C Watson discovered asteroid #139 Juewa.

M Wolf and A Schwassmann discovered asteroid #450 Brigitta.

P Gotz discovered asteroid #546 Herodias.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #941 Murray; K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #940 Kordula.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #961 Gunnie.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1061 Paeonia.

S Belyavskij discovered asteroid #1984 Fedynskij.

Died, Gustave Whitehead, German-American inventor (flew in 1901, 2 years, 4 months before the Wright brothers)

Gustave Albin Whitehead (1 January 1874 - 10 October 1927) was a German-American aviation pioneer. His first published flight took place on 14 August 1901 in Connecticut when he flew his Number 21 three times, as reported by the Bridgeport Herald, the New York Herald and the Boston Transcript. The longest flight was 2.5 km (1.5 miles) at a height of up to 60 m (200 ft), significantly better than the Wright brothers' initial flights two years and four months later. There are witness reports that he flew about 1 km (half a mile) as early as 1899. In January 1902 he flew 10 km (7 miles) over the Long Island strait in the improved Number 22.

It has been suggested the reason his flights are so little known is he was of German origin, and that the Wright brothers donated their Wright flyer to the Smithsonian Institute on condition the Institute did not recognize an earlier airplane.

G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1271 Isergina; K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1231 Auricula, #1232 Cortusa, #1233 Kobresia, #1272 Gefion, #2855 and #3144.

A fire and explosion in his propellant processing room where black powder was compressed into solid rocket fuel caused burns fatal the next day to German rocket pioneer Reinhold Tiling, his assistant Angelika Buddenboehmer and his mechanic Friedrich Kuhr.

Reinhold Tiling (13 June 1893 – 11 October 1933) was a German rocket pioneer who developed wing-recovered black-powder-propelled rockets. Tiling was inspired to pursue rocketry when he heard Oberth lecture on the subject in 1924. Impatient to proceed with rocket control system development, and unwilling to wait for development of liquid rocket engines, he proceeded to work on rockets powered by compressed black powder. He began development of rockets with deployable wings for recovery and reuse in 1928. In 1929, he received funding from the German Navy, ostensibly for development of improved line-throwing rockets for ship-to-ship transfers. By 1931, his rockets were being fired to 7 km altitude and demonstrating stable flight through use of tail fins. He demonstrated the first launch of a rocket from an airplane in 1932, and in the same year was demonstrating variable wing deployment and parachute recovery of rockets. By 1933, he was demonstrating powder rockets with burn durations of as much as ten seconds. A fire broke out on 10 October 1933 in his propellant processing room where he used a proprietary process to compress black powder into solid rocket propellant. He, his assistant Angelika Buddenboehmer and his mechanic Friedrich Kuhr died from burns suffered in the fire and ensuing explosion. His brother, Richard Tiling, continued his work, conducting flight experiments at Cuxhaven in the summer of 1934, until further private development of rocketry in Germany was prohibited by the new Nazi government later that year.

A United Airlines Boeing 247 was destroyed by sabotage while en route from Cleveland, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois, the first such proven case in the history of commercial aviation.

Born, Franco Egidio Malerba PhD (at Genoa, Italy), payload specialist astronaut (STS 46), first Italian astronaut

Astronaut Franco Malerba PhD, NASA photo

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2300 Stebbins.

Born, John Mace Grunsfeld PhD (at Chicago, Illinois, USA), physicist, NASA astronaut (STS 67, STS 81, STS 103, STS 109, STS 125), NASA Chief Scientist 2003-2004, NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator 2012-2016

Astronaut John Grunsfeld, NASA photo

1960 14:27:49 GMT
USSR launched Marsnik 1 (Mars 1960A, Korabl 4) in an attempt to send a probe to Mars, but its booster failed to reach Earth orbit.

Marsnik 1 (also known as Korabl 4 and Mars 1960A) was launched 10 October 1960, and reported by the NASA Administrator to Congress in 1962 to be an attempted Mars probe. Some Soviet scientists involved with the program at that time claim no knowledge of this mission, stating that only the launch on 14 October (Marsnik 2) was an intended Mars mission. However, V. G. Perminov, the leading designer of planetary spacecraft at the Lavochkin design bureau, states that this mission, identical to Marsnik 2, was indeed intended for Mars.

Marsnik 1 would have been the Soviet Union's first attempt at a planetary probe. The mission objectives were to investigate interplanetary space between Earth and Mars, to study Mars and return surface images from a flyby trajectory, and to study the effects of extended spaceflight on onboard instruments and provide radio communications from long distances. Early reports indicated that after launch, the third stage pumps were unable to develop enough thrust to commence ignition, so Earth parking orbit was not achieved. Later information states that at T+300.9 seconds, the launcher went out of control and a destruct command was given at T+324.2 seconds, and that the engine of Stage 3 cut off after 13.32 seconds of burning. The possible cause lay in resonance vibrations of upper stages during Stage 2 burning, which led to a break of contact in the command potentiometer of the gyrohorizon. As a result, a pitch control malfunctioned and the launcher began to veer off the desired ascent profile. On exceeding 7 degrees of veering in pitch, the control system failed. The upper stage with the payload reached an altitude of 120 km before burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere above East Siberia.

The spacecraft was nearly identical to the Venera 1 design, a cylindrical body about 2 meters high with two solar panel wings, a 2.33 meter high-gain net antenna, and a long antenna arm, and had a mass of about 650 kg. It carried a 10 kg science payload consisting of a magnetometer on a boom, a cosmic ray counter, a plasma-ion trap, a radiometer, a micrometeorite detector, and a spectroreflectometer to study the CH band as a possible indicator of life on Mars. These instruments were mounted on the outside of the spacecraft. A photo-television camera was held in a sealed module in the spacecraft and could take pictures through a viewport when a sensor indicated the Sun-illuminated Martian surface was in view.

Attitude was to be controlled by a Sun-star sensor with attitude correction performed by a dimethylhydrazine/nitric acid binary propellant engine. The spacecraft orientation was to be maintained so that the solar panels faced the Sun throughout the flight. Power was provided by the two-square meter solar panels which charged silver-zinc batteries. Radio communications were made using a decimeter band transmitter via the high gain antenna for spacecraft commands and telemetry. Radio bearing was used to maintain the antenna's orientation to Earth. Images were to be transferred using an 8-cm wavelength transmitter through the high-gain antenna. A fourth stage was added to the booster (Molniya or 8K78) for the interplanetary mission, the new launcher was designated SL-6/A-2-e.

Venera-type planetary probe similar to the Marsnik 1 spacecraft
Photo courtesy of NASA

Born, Rex Joseph Walheim (at Redwood City, California, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA mission specialist astronaut (STS 110, STS 122, STS 135)

Astronaut Rex J. Walheim, NASA photo

1964 03:07:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer 22 (Beacon Explorer-B, BE-B) from Vandenberg, California, on a Scout rocket, to collect ionospheric and geodetic data.

BE-B (Beacon Explorer-B, Explorer 22), launched 10 October 1964, was a small ionospheric research satellite instrumented with an electrostatic probe, a 20-, 40-, and 41-Hz radio beacon, a passive laser tracking reflector, and a Doppler navigation experiment. Its objective was to obtain worldwide observations of total electron content between the spacecraft and the Earth. It was initially spin-stabilized, but it was despun after solar paddle erection. Subsequent stabilization oriented the satellite axis of symmetry with the local magnetic field by means of a strong bar magnet and damping rods. A three-axis magnetometer and sun sensors provided information on the satellite attitude and spin rate. There was no tape recorder aboard, so satellite performance data and electrostatic probe data could be observed only when the satellite was within range of a ground telemetry station. Continuous transmitters also operated at 162 and 324 MHz to permit precise tracking by "Transit" tracking stations for navigation and geodetic studies. In August 1968, data acquisition from the satellite telemetry channels was discontinued. In July 1969, tracking and world map production were discontinued by GSFC, and world map production based on NORAD orbit elements was subsequently assumed by ESRO. The satellite failed in February 1970 and BE-C (65-032A) was turned on in order to partially replace use made of this satellite's beacon experiment.

Born, Zhai Zhigang (at Longjiang County, Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province, China), Lt Colonel PLAAF, CNSA taikonaut (Shenzhou 7), first taikonaut (Chinese astronaut) to spacewalk

Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang, photo by Johnson Lau at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (6 Dec 2008)

The United Nations Outer Space Treaty went into effect to govern its signatory nations.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroids #2284 San Juan and #2311 El Leoncito.

1974 22:53:00 GMT
The Westar 2 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Americas at 123 deg W 1974-1982; 79 deg W 1982-1986.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #3187.

NASA's SEASAT-A failed, due to a massive electrical system failure, ending its oceanographic mission. (A suspicion exists that the satellite was intentionally shut off because the quality and nature of the results obtained alarmed the Pentagon.)

The Ocean Dynamics Satellite (Seasat 1), launched 27 June 1978, was designed to provide measurements of sea surface winds, sea surface temperatures, wave heights, internal waves, atmospheric liquid water content, sea ice features, ocean features, ocean topography, and the marine geoid, the first satellite designed for remote sensing of the Earth's oceans with synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Seasat 1 provided 95% global coverage every 36 hours. The instrument payload consisted of (1) an X-band compressed pulse radar altimeter (ALT), (2) a coherent synthetic aperture radar (SAR), (3) a Seasat-A scatterometer system (SASS), (4) a scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR), and (5) a visible and infrared radiometer (VIRR). The accuracies obtained were distance between the spacecraft and the ocean surface to 10 cm, wind speeds to 2 m/s, and surface temperatures to 1 deg C. On 10 October 1978, Seasat 1 failed due to a massive short circuit in its electrical system. During most of its 105 functional days in orbit, Seasat 1 returned a unique and extensive set of observations of the Earth's oceans.

A suspicion exists that the satellite was intentionally shut off because the quality and nature of the results obtained alarmed the Pentagon. (Judging by the accuracies obtained, the data would provide an extremely detailed view of the nature and movement of any naval forces.)

For more information about Seasat 1, see "Seasat mission overview," Science, v. 204, pp. 1405-1424, 1979, and a special issue on the Seasat 1 sensors, IEEE J. of Oceanic Eng., v. OE-5, 1980.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2510 Shandong.

Asteroid #3764 was discovered; C Shoemaker discovered asteroid #3299 Hall.

The Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope network was dedicated.

Died, Kurt Heinrich Debus, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after World War II, Director of Launch Operations during the Apollo program

Kurt Heinrich Debus (29 November 1908 - 10 October 1983) was a German rocket engineer. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering (1933), an MS (1935) and PhD (1939) in electrical engineering, all from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. He became an assistant professor at the university after receiving his degree. During World War II, he became an experimental engineer at the A-4 (V-2) test stand at Peenemuende, rising to become superintendent of the test stand and test firing stand for the rocket. In 1945, he moved to the United States with a group of engineers and scientists headed by von Braun. From 1945-1950, the group worked at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then moved to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. From 1952-1960, Debus was chief of the missile firing laboratory of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), working at Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he supervised the launching of the first ballistic missile fired from there, an Army Redstone. When ABMA became part of NASA, Debus continued to supervise missile and space vehicle launchings, first as director of the Launch Operations Center and then of the Kennedy Space Center as it was renamed in December 1963. He retired from that position in 1974. In 1975, he became a supervisory board chairman of the German firm OTRAG, which sought to develop storable liquid propellant rockets in the Congo and Libya. Debus died at Cocoa Beach, Florida. (Reports vary about the date of his death, some indicating it was 4 October.)

From the Web page at, Google has provided this (somewhat amusing) translation:

 Kurt Debus (1908-1983)

The physicist and rocket technical designer Kurt Heinrich Debus were born on 29 November 1908 in Frankfurt/Main.
It was prominently active with the attempts with the A-4-Rakete starting from 1942 in Peenemuende. In the year 1944 he became director/conductor of the test stand P-7 in Pennemuende. He took over the place of Dieter Huzel, which became a technical assistant from who ago by brown. To end of war Kurt Debus with many different went, to former Peenemuendern into the USA and made career there rapid. From 1952 to 1960 he was a boss of the rocket launchings of the US Army, from 1960 to 1962 boss of the rocket launchings of NASA and from July 1962 until November 1974 director John of the F. Kennedy space of center.
Kurt Debus deceased on 10 October 1983.

(Of note, "who ago by brown" referred to above is Werner von Braun, whose translated biography was even more amusing.)

USSR's Venera 15 orbiter arrived at Venus.

Venera 15, launched 2 June 1983, was part of a two spacecraft mission (along with Venera 16) designed to use 8 cm band side-looking radar mappers to study the surface properties of Venus. The two spacecraft were inserted into Venus orbit four days apart, Venera 15 arriving first on 10 October 1983, with their orbital planes shifted by an angle of approximately 4 degrees relative to one another. This made it possible to reimage an area if necessary. Each spacecraft was in a nearly polar orbit with a periapsis at 62 N latitude. Together, the two spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30 degrees N latitude (i.e., approximately 25% of the surface of Venus) over the 8 months of mapping operations.

The Venera 15 and 16 spacecraft were identical and were based on modifications to the the orbiter portions of the Venera 9 and 14 probes. Each spacecraft consisted of a 5 m long cylinder with a 6 m diameter, 1.4 m tall parabolic dish antenna for the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) at one end. A 1 m diameter parabolic dish antenna for the radio altimeter was also located at this end. The electrical axis of the radio altimeter antenna was lined up with the axis of the cylinder. The electrical axis of the SAR deviated from the spacecraft axis by 10 degrees. During imaging, the radio altimeter would be lined up with the center of the planet (local vertical), and the SAR would be looking off to the side at 10 degrees. A bulge at the opposite end of the cylinder held fuel tanks and propulsion units. Two square solar arrays extended like wings from the sides of the cylinder. A 2.6 m radio dish antenna for communications was also attached to the side of the cylinder.

Both Venera 15 and 16 were equipped with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). A radar was necessary in this mission because nothing else would be able to penetrate the dense clouds of Venus. The probes were equipped with on board computers that saved the images until the entire image was complete.

The Soviet Union fired a "warning shot" from the Terra-3 laser complex at Sary Shagan, tracking Challenger with a low power laser that caused malfunctions in on-board equipment and discomfort of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.

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.

D Waldron discovered asteroid #3753.

1990 06:57:19 PDT (GMT -7:00:00)
NASA's STS 41 (Discovery 11, Shuttle 36) landed after carrying the Ulysses solar polar probe and the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) and INTELSAT Solar Array Coupon (ISAC) experiments to orbit.

STS 41 was launched 6 October 1990 just 12 minutes after the two and a half hour launch window opened at 7:35 AM EDT; the brief delay was due to weather concerns. An additional 11 second hold occurred at T-5 minutes due to a Ground Launch Sequencer glitch, and at T-31 seconds, the count halted for 22 seconds to correct an orbiter purge, vent and drain (PVD) system glitch.

The primary payload on STS 41, the ESA-built Ulysses spacecraft to explore the polar regions of the Sun, was deployed. Two upper stages, an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and a mission-specific Payload Assist Module-S (PAM-S), were combined together for the first time to send Ulysses toward an out-of-ecliptic trajectory.

Other payloads and experiments flown on STS 41 were: Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment; INTELSAT Solar Array Coupon (ISAC); Chromosome and Plant Cell Division Experiment (CHROMEX); Voice Command System (VCS); Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE); Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP); Physiological Systems Experiment (PSE); Radiation Monitoring Experiment III (RME III); Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS 41 ended 10 October 1990 when Discovery landed on revolution 66 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,532 feet. Rollout time: 49 seconds (braking test). Launch weight: 259,593 pounds. Landing weight: 196,869 pounds. Orbit altitude: 160 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: four days, two hours, 10 minutes, four seconds. Miles traveled: 1.7 million. The orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 16 October 1990.

The flight crew for STS 41 was: Richard N. Richards, Commander; Robert D. Cabana, Pilot; William M. Shepherd, Mission Specialist 1; Bruce E. Melnick, Mission Specialist 2; Thomas D. Akers, Mission Specialist 3.

1991 04:11:00 GMT
USSR's Soyuz TM-12 landed at 04:11 GMT with the crew of Artsebarsky, Aubakirov and Viehboeck aboard, returning from the Mir space station.

1999 03:28:00 GMT
On the second successful Zenit-3SL flight from the Odyssey launch platform in the Pacific Ocean near Kiritimati (the first with a commercial payload), the DirectTV 1-R communications satellite was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 81 deg W.

Scaled Composites/Mojave Aeropspace flew White Knight Flight 7 during the X-Prize SpaceShipOne development program to complete the objectives of Flight 6, which had been aborted because of a suspected over-temp of aft cabin bulkhead from engine bleed air.

2002 13:18:00 GMT
During EVA STS-112-1, after exiting from the ISS Quest module, Atlantis astronauts Wolf and Sellers connected fluid lines and installed equipment on the S1 truss installed to the International Space Station five hours earlier by the station's Canadarm2.

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.

Died, Maxime A Faget, considered to be the "Chief Designer" of American manned spacecraft

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