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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 13

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Christaan Huygens produced the first true map of the surface of Mars showing details.

Died, Geminiano Montanari, Italian astronomer (recorded Algol as a variable star)

James Wallace Black took the oldest aerial photograph known to be still in existence, from a hot-air balloon tethered above Boston, Massachusetts.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #140 Siwa.

C H F Peters discovered asteroid #206 Hersilia; J Palisa discovered asteroid #205 Martha.

The International Meridian Conference met in Washington, DC, beginning formal discussions that led to adoption of the global time system.

Prior to the International Meridian Conference held in October, 1884, many different "standard" times were in use, kept variously by private firms (e.g., rail and shipping lines), local authorities, and national governments. Paris' official clock, for example, was nine minutes, twenty-one seconds ahead of London's, while halfway through the ninteenth century, one count found as many as 144 different official times being used in the United States. As ninteenth century "globalization" accelerated, brought on by submarine cables, telegraphy, interconnecting rail lines, and rapidly rising volumes of shipping, the lack of a unified time system meant confusion, missed connections (often in railway stations), and the risk of accidents when trains or boats using different "standard" times arrived simultaneously in ports and terminals.

President Chester A. Arthur's called for an international conference in Washington to remedy the situation, to agree on what time it was and when the day began. The resulting International Meridian Conference met from October 13-22, 1884, and gathered 25 countries: Austria-Hungary, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Haiti (San Domingo), Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Hawaii, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Paraguay, Russia, Salvador, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (Ottoman Empire), United States, and Venezuela. Its result was the modern global time system: 24 world time zones an hour apart, and an international agreement that the international day would begin at midnight at the Greenwich Naval Observatory near London. Greenwich, the basis of British national time since the seventeenth century, was chosen for commercial and administrative convenience: Three-quarters of all international shipping used it already, and the United States had adopted it as well a year earlier. France, supported by Brazil and Haiti, argued for a "neutral" Prime Meridian somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, and refused to adopt Greenwich time until 1911. When the final vote on the resolution was taken on October 22, 1884, France and Brazil abstained, San Domingo voted against it, and the twenty-two remaining countries attending all voted in its favor.

V Knorre discovered asteroid #271 Penthesilea.

M Wolf discovered asteroids #407 Arachn and #408 Fama.

E F Coddington discovered asteroids #439 Ohio and #440 Theodora.

Robert Goddard launched a liquid fuel rocket 7 feet 9 inches long with a diameter of 12 inches, a simplified combustion chamber, and a parachute recovery system. It flew to a height 1700+ feet, and made a loud whistling sound on descent.

G Kulin discovered asteroid #2242.

Lt. John Sessums of the US Army Air Corps visited Robert H. Goddard to officially assess the military value of Goddard's work. He reported there was little military value, but that rockets would appear useful to drive turbines.

S Arend discovered asteroid #2109 Dhotel.

Born, Michael Richard Uram "Rich" Clifford (at San Bernadino, California, USA), Lt Colonel US Army, astronaut (STS 53, STS 59, STS 76)

Astronaut Rich Clifford, NASA photo

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1763 Williams.

Samuel Bagno received a patent for burglar alarm systems using ultrasonic or radio waves, described as a "method and apparatus for detecting motion in a confined space."

1959 15:36:00 GMT
The US Army launched Explorer 7 to orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to provide geophysical information on solar and Earth radiation, magnetic storms, and micrometeorite penetration, which also demonstrated a method of controlling internal temperatures.

Explorer 7, launched 13 October 1959, was designed to measure solar X-ray and Lyman-alpha flux, trapped energetic particles, and heavy primary cosmic rays (Z>5). Secondary objectives included collecting data on micrometeoroid penetration and molecular sputtering, and studying the Earth-atmosphere heat balance. The spin-stabilized satellite's external structure consisted of two truncated conical fiberglass shells joined by a cylindrical aluminum center section. The spacecraft was 75 cm wide at its equator and about 75 cm high, powered by approximately 3000 solar cells mounted on both the upper and lower shells. Additional power was provided by 15 nickel-cadmium batteries that were positioned on its equator near the outer skin as an aid in maintaining a proper spin rate. Two crossed dipole (1 W, 20 MHz) telemetry antennas projected outward from the center section, and a 108-MHz antenna used for tracking was mounted on the bottom of the lower shell. Located around the periphery of the center section were five bolometers for thermal radiation measurements and three cadmium sulfide micrometeoroid detector cells. A cylindrical ion chamber (lithium flouride window) and a beryllium window X-ray chamber were located on opposite sides of the upper cone, and a cosmic-ray Geiger counter was located on the very top. A primary cosmic-ray ionization chamber was located within the center portion of the upper cone. Useful real-time data were transmitted from launch through February 1961 and intermittently until 24 August 1961.

Born, Michael T. Good (at Parma, Ohio, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 125, STS 132)

Astronaut Michael T. Good, STS-125 mission specialist, NASA photo (5 Dec. 2007)

Born, Nie Haisheng (at Yangdang, Zaoyang, Hubei, China), taikonaut (Shenzhou 6, Shenzhou 10)

1964 07:47:04 GMT
USSR's Voskhod 1 crew returned to Earth after 16 orbits in the first multiseat space capsule, the first recovery on land of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard.

Voskhod 1 (call sign Rubin/Ruby), the first mission to carry a scientist and a physician into space, was launched 12 October 1964. It was the first flight without space suits, and the first capsule with more than one seat, carrying three men into space. The Soviet mission was specifically planned to beat the US Gemini program to this milestone. The crew members were cosmonauts Vladimir M. Komarov, command pilot, Boris B. Yegorov, physician, and Konstatin P. Feoktisov, scientist, an engineer who had been part of the Sputnik and Vostok design teams. A potentially dangerous modification of the Vostok capsule to upstage the American Gemini flights, Voskhod had no spacesuits, ejection seats, or escape tower: There was no provision for crew escape in the event of a launch or landing emergency. One concession in the design was a backup solid retrorocket package mounted on the nose of the spacecraft. The seats were mounted perpendicular to the Vostok ejection seat position, so the crew had to crane their necks to read the instruments, which were still mounted in their original orientation. This mission was designed to test the new multi-seat spacecraft, to investigate the capacity of a group of cosmonauts who were specialists in different disciplines of science and engineering to interact and conduct physical and technical experiments, to perform an extensive medical and biological investigation program for evaluation of medical findings on a prolonged flight, and to test the soft-landing apparatus and shirtsleeve cabin environment. Live TV pictures were also returned to Earth from the capsule during the flight. Officially, the life-support systems of the space cabin were felt to be reliable enough to allow the crew to wear overalls instead of the cumbersome spacesuits and helmets. In reality, however, there wasn't room available in the cabin for a crew of three in spacesuits, so the equipment was foregone in order to carry the larger crew. The 16 orbit mission was a success, and a large amount of scientific data was obtained. The world's first recovery of an orbital spacecraft with its crew aboard on land was made possible by a rocket package suspended above capsule in the parachute lines, which ignited just prior to impact in order to cushion the landing.

Coming before the two-man Gemini flights, Voskhod 1 had a significant worldwide impact. In the United States, the space race was again running "under the green flag." NASA Administrator James E. Webb, commenting on the spectacular mission, called it a "significant space accomplishment." It was, he said, "a clear indication that the Russians are continuing a large space program for the achievement of national power and prestige."

L Chernykh discovered asteroid #1737 Severny.

B Burnasheva discovered asteroids #2010 Chebyshev and #2327 Gershberg.

With the launch of Soyuz 8 and its crew, seven people were simultaneously in space for the first time.

1969 10:29:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 8 (call sign Granit/Granite), the third manned Soyuz mission launched in three days, the command ship for 3-craft maneuvers, illustrating future space construction capability and demonstrating ground control in a multicraft situation.

Soyuz 8 (call sign Granit/Granite), launched 13 October 1969, was piloted by V. Shatalov, Commander, and A. Yeliseyev, Flight Engineer. The announced mission objectives included (1) checkout and flight test of space borne systems and the modified structure of the Soyuz craft, (2) further improvement of the control, orientation, and orbital stabilization systems and navigation aids, (3) debugging the piloting systems by orbital maneuvering of the spaceships in relation to one another, (4) testing of a system for control of the simultaneous flight of three spacecraft, (5) scientific observations and photographing of geological-geographical subjects and exploration of the Earth's atmosphere, (6) studying circumterrestrial space, and (7) conducting experiments of engineering research and biomedical importance. Stable two-way radio communication were maintained between the spaceships and the ground stations, and TV coverage was broadcast from the ships during flight. Soyuz 8 was a part of the group flight of Soyuz 6, 7, and 8, and resembled Soyuz 6 in that it was an active ship designed to move toward the passive Soyuz 7. Soyuz 8 was equipped with full docking apparatus and for some hours flew very close to Soyuz 7. It was supposed to have docked with Soyuz 7 and transferred crew while Soyuz 6 took film from nearby. However, failure of the rendezvous electronics in all three craft due to a new helium pressurization integrity test prior to the mission prevented a successful docking. The flight was safely terminated, landing on 18 October 1969.

L Chernykh discovered asteroids #2540 and #2837 Griboedov.

Died (age 73), Ed Sullivan, TV host (The Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan Show, the longest-running variety show in US broadcast history)

W Sebok discovered asteroid #2150.

1978 05:19:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 3-10 from Plesetsk for continued operation of the Soviet telephone and telegraph system, and transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita and participating international networks.

1978 11:23:00 GMT
NASA launched TIROS N from Vandenberg, California, the first of the third generation US weather satellites.

TIROS N, launched 13 October 1978, was an operational meteorological satellite for use in the National Operational Environmental Satellite System (NOESS) and for the support of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) during 1978-84. The satellite design provided an economical and stable sun-synchronous platform for advanced operational instruments to measure the Earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, and the near-space environment. Primary sensors included an advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) for observing daytime and nighttime global cloud cover, and a TIROS operational vertical sounder (TOVS) for obtaining temperature and water-vapor profiles through the Earth's atmosphere. Secondary experiments consisted of a space environment monitor (SEM), which measured the proton and electron fluxes near the Earth, and a data collection system (DCS), which processed and relayed to central data acquisition stations the various meteorological data received from free-floating balloons and ocean buoys distributed around the globe. The satellite was based on the Block 5D spacecraft bus developed for the US Air Force, and was capable of maintaining an Earth-pointing accuracy of better than +/- 0.1 degrees with a motion rate of less than 0.035 degree/second. For a more detailed description, see A. Schwalb, "The TIROS-N/NOAA A-G Satellite Series," NOAA Tech. Mem. Ness 95, 1978.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #2874 Jim Young, #2888 Hodgson, #3510 Veeder, #3574 Rudaux, #3612 Peale, #3658 and #3721.

Ameritech Mobile Communications (subsequently Cingular, then AT&T Mobility) launched the first US cellular network in Chicago, Illinois.

1984 12:26:38 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 41-G (Challenger 6, Shuttle 13) landed at the Kennedy Space Center, after 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.

Died (age 85), Walter H Brattain, US physicist (transistor, Nobel 1956 with Shockley and Bardeen "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect")

1994 16:19:00 GMT
Russia launched the first Express communications satellite (designed to replace the Gorizont series), positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 71 deg E 1994 (checkout location); 14 deg W 1995-1999 (operational slot).

The Thrust SSC jet powered car driven by Andy Green reached an unofficial record speed of 749.69 mph, the first land vehicle to break the speed of sound.

2000 12:45:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 92 (Discovery 28, Shuttle 100) docked at the ISS during the International Space Station Flight 3A mission.

STS 92 was launched 11 October 2000. It docked at the International Space Station on 13 October, and undocked prior to returning to Earth, on 20 October.

During STS 92, the crew brought the Z-1 Truss (mounted on a Spacelab pallet), Control Moment Gyros, Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) and two DDCU (Heat pipes) to the International Space Station.

STS 92 crew members conducted four space walks on the outside of the docked complex. Beginning 15 October, space walkers conducted the complex, demanding tasks that were required for installation of the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 onto the station's Unity module. Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao and Bill McArthur performed the first and third excursions. Mission Specialists Jeff Wisoff and Michael Lopez-Alegria performed the second and fourth. The total space walk time for the mission was 27 hours, 19 minutes.

During the International Space Station 3A mission (STS 92), the following elements were added: 1) Integrated Truss Structure Z1, an early exterior framework to allow the first US solar arrays on Flight 4A to be temporarily installed on Unity for early power; 2) Ku-band Communication System, to support early science capability and US television broadcasts on Flight 6A; 3) Control Moment Gyros, to provide non-propulsive (electrically powered) attitude control when activated on Flight 5A; and, 4) Pressurized Mating Adapter 3, to provide a shuttle docking port for solar array installation on Flight 4A, and Lab installation on Flight 5A.

STS 92 ended 24 October 2000 when Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Orbit altitude: 177 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: 12 days, 21 hours, 43 minutes. Miles traveled: 5.3 million.

The flight crew for STS 92 was: Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Pam Melroy, Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Koichi Wakata (NASDA), Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria.

2000 18:10:00 GMT
Russia launched three GLONASS navigation satellites (Cosmos 2374, 2375, 2376) on a Proton-K/Blok DM-2 into an initial 160 km x 64.8 deg orbit; the DM-2 made two burns into a 19120 x 64.8 deg orbit, and deployed the satellites about 4 hours after launch.

The L5 Development Group began publishing this Space History Newsletter, available to subscribers via email, and through the World Wide Web at

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