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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 15


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1582
Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian Calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain October 4 of this year was followed directly by October 15, skipping 10 days. Other countries followed at various later dates.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar#Preparation

1608
Born, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian physicist and mathematician (barometer, infinite series, Gabriel's horn)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelista_Torricelli

1783
Jean Pilatre de Rozier made the first tethered (captive) balloon ascent.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Pil%C3%A2tre_de_Rozier#Flight_pioneer

1829
Born, Asaph Hall, astronomer, discovered satellites of Mars (Phobos and Deimos)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asaph_Hall

1844
Born, Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

1863
The first successful submarine, the CSS Hunley, sank during a test, killing its inventor, Horace Lawson Hunley, and its crew of seven.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Lawson_Hunley

1878
The Edison Electric Light Company began operations. It was part of Edison General Electric Company by 1890, which merged with the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1892 to become the General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York
https://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/edn-moments/4398588/Edison-Electric-Light-Co-begins-operation--October-15--1878

1889
Died, Sir Daniel Gooch, laid the first successful trans-Atlantic cables
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Gooch

1891
J. Palisa discovered asteroid #321 Florentina.

1907
Born, Zhao Jiuzhang (at Kaifeng, Henan, China), meteorologist, geophysicist and space physicist, leader in development of instruments for use on Chinese sounding rockets and artificial satellites
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhao_Jiuzhang

1909
J. Helffrich discovered asteroid #2056 Nancy.

1914
K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #796 Sarita.

1915
M. Wolf discovered asteroid #3396 Muazzez.

1936
Died, Friedrich Kustner, German astronomer (polar motion of the Earth in terms of a variation of latitude)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Friedrich_K%C3%BCstner

1936
M. B. Protitch discovered asteroid #1564 Srbija.

1938
Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #1518 Rovaniemi and #1519 Kajaani.

1941
L. Oterma discovered asteroids #1544 Vinterhansenia, #1545 Thernoe, #1695 Walbeck, #1882 Rauma, #2805 Kalle, #2840 Kallavesi, #2946, #3381 and #3597.

1962
The Cuban missle crisis started, putting the world in danger of nuclear war.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, which lasted from 15 October through 28 October 1962, was a stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, putting the entire world under threat of a nuclear war. It started after a US U-2 spy plane had observed Soviet missles in Cuba on 14 October, and ended when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced the missles were being removed, on 28 October.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis

1963
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #3433.

1969
L. Chernykh discovered asteroid #2807 Karl Marx.

1976
H. L. Giclas discovered asteroid #2313.

1977
Chester Lee, NASA Headquarters director of STS Operations, distributed the first STS Flight Assignment Baseline launch schedule that planned for 22 Shuttle flights (16 operational) by the end of January 1981; only 3 test flights actually occurred by then.
https://www.wired.com/2012/03/what-shuttle-should-have-been-the-october-1977-flight-manifest/

1985
E. Bowell discovered asteroids #3564 Talthybius, #3595 Gallagher and #3639 Weidenschilling.

1985
Launch complex SLC-6 at Vandenberg, California, was declared operational for shuttle flights. Following US Air Force plan changes after the Challenger disaster, the facility was mothballed without ever launching a shuttle.

The SLC-6 launch complex and support buildings at Vandenburg, California, declared operational on 1 October 1985, had been built on the old Manned Orbiting Laboratory facilities at a total cost of $5.5 billion. Checks of the facilities with the non-flying shuttle Enterprise, an external tank, and inert solid rocket boosters were conducted from late 1984 to early 1985. Later, fundamental design flaws were found that would cost another $1 billion and two years to fix, including the possibility of hydrogen propellant pooling in the exhaust tunnels that could potentially explode and damage or destroy an orbiter on the pad. Because of these problems, after the Challenger explosion, the US Air Force was no longer interested in the shuttle as a booster for its payloads, and the facility was mothballed without ever launching a shuttle.



Vandenberg AFB Shuttle Launch Site, USAF drawing
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vandenberg_AFB_Shuttle_Launch_Site.PNG
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_AFB_Space_Launch_Complex_6#Space_Shuttle

1997
The first official supersonic land speed record was set by the ThrustSSC team from the United Kingdom with an average speed between two runs made within an hour of 763.035 miles per hour (Mach 1.020).

ThrustSSC (SuperSonic Car) was a British designed and built jet propelled car designed by Richard Noble and Ron Ayers, which holds the world land speed record as of 2016. It was powered by two afterburning Rolls-Royce Spey engines, as used in British variants of the F-4 Phantom II.

On 15 October 1997 in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada USA, driven by Andy Green, ThrustSSC became the first land vehicle to smash the sound barrier, reaching an average speed between two runs made within an hour of 1227.986 km/h (763.035 mph, Mach 1.020).


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record
http://www.roadsters.com/750/

1997 08:43:00 GMT
NASA's nuclear powered Cassini probe was launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.

NASA's Cassini Orbiter's mission consists of delivering an ESA probe, Huygens, to Titan, then remaining in orbit around Saturn for detailed studies of the planet and its rings and satellites. The principal objectives are to: (1) determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the rings; (2) determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object; (3) determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus' leading hemisphere; (4) measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the magnetosphere; (5) study the dynamical behavior of Saturn's atmosphere at cloud level; (6) study the time variability of Titan's clouds and hazes; and, (7) characterize Titan's surface on a regional scale.

The Cassini/Huygens probe was launched on 15 October 1997. Unable to be launched directly to Saturn with propulsion systems available at the time, Cassini took a roundabout route to reach the ringed planet, referred to as a VVEJGA (Venus-Venus-Earth-Jupiter Gravity Assist) trajectory. Cassini made two flybys of Venus (April 1998 and June 1999), one of the Earth (August 1999), and one of Jupiter (December 2000). Various observations were made at each of these encounters in order to verify instrument and spacecraft systems as well as to perform calibration observations. At Jupiter, numerous simultaneous observations were made using Cassini, Galileo, and the Hubble Space Telescope, among other missions.

On 1 July 2004 UTC, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft fired its main engine to reduce its speed, allowing the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn's gravity and enter orbit. The spacecraft then started a four-year mission to explore the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, the stunning rings and its complex magnetic environment.

The first two orbits around Saturn set up the necessary trajectory for deployment of the Huygens probe on the third orbit. The maneuver placed the paired spacecraft on an intersect course with Titan and the probe was released on 25 December 2004. The two spacecraft separated with a relative velocity of 0.3-0.4 m/s but remained in the same orbit for about three weeks. Cassini then executed a deflection maneuver to enable it to fly by Titan at an altitude of 60,000 km, positioning it to receive transmissions from Huygens as it entered Titan's atmosphere, some 2.1 hours prior to Cassini's closest approach. Huygens landed on Titan on 14 January 2005.

During the Saturn Tour, Cassini was initially planned to complete 74 orbits of the ringed planet, 44 close flybys of the hazy moon Titan, and numerous flybys of Saturn's other icy moons. Cassini completed its initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn system in June 2008 and the first extended mission, called the Cassini Equinox Mission, in September 2010. The healthy spacecraft is continuing to make exciting new discoveries in a second extended mission called the Cassini Solstice Mission. This extension, which goes through September 2017, is named for the Saturnian summer solstice occurring in May 2017. The northern summer solstice marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. Since Cassini arrived at Saturn just after the planet's northern winter solstice, the extension will allow for the first study of a complete seasonal period.

See also NASA's Cassini Orbiter page and NASA's Huygens page in the NSSDC Master Catalog.



Artist's concept of Cassini near Saturn's rings, NASA illustration
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/

2001
NASA's Galileo spacecraft passed within 112 miles of Jupiter's moon Io.

Space Shuttle Atlantis, with the Galileo spacecraft aboard, was launched from Kennedy Space Center on 18 October 1989. Galileo was deployed on the 6th orbit around the Earth, with the first stage IUS burn executed an hour later. The second stage IUS burn occurred 5 minutes later to place Galileo on an Earth escape velocity of 7.1 miles/sec. 7 hours 46 minutes after launch, the IUS went into a first stage spinoff to deploy the RTG and science booms. The second stage IUS spinoff at a rate of 2.9 revolutions/minute for the separation of the IUS from Galileo soon followed. At that point, telemetry data were transmitted and received by the DSN (Deep Space Network).

The Galileo mission consisted of two spacecraft: an orbiter and an atmospheric probe. The trajectory which the spacecraft followed was called a VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist), traveling first in toward the Sun for a gravity assist from Venus on 10 February 1990 before encountering the Earth two times on 8 December 1990 and two years later, on 8 December 1992. These encounters with Venus and the Earth allowed Galileo to gain enough velocity to get it out to Jupiter.

During the flybys of Venus and the Earth, Galileo scientists studied these two planets as well as the Moon, making some unprecedented observations. In addition, following each Earth flyby, Galileo made excursions as far out in the solar system as the asteroid belt, enabling scientists to make the first close-up studies of two asteroids, Gaspra (29 October 1991) and Ida (28 August 1993). Galileo scientists were also the only ones with a "direct view" of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragment impacts on Jupiter in July 1994. All of this was prior to the primary missions of sending an atmospheric probe into Jupiter's atmosphere and studying Jupiter, its satellites, and its magnetosphere for two years with the orbiter.

Interplanetary studies were also made sporadically by some of the other Galileo instruments, including the dust detector, magnetometer, and various plasma and particles detectors, during its six year journey to Jupiter.

The probe was released from the orbiter on 12 July 1995, 147 days prior to its entry into the Jovian atmosphere on 7 December 1995, the same day the main spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter.

The Galileo spacecraft's 14-year odyssey came to an end on Sunday 21 September 2003 when the spacecraft passed into Jupiter's shadow then disintegrated in the planet's dense atmosphere after 35 orbits around the planet. Its propellant was depleted, it was maneuvered to enter the Jovian atmosphere at 18:57 GMT (11:57 AM PDT). Entry was at 48.2 km/s from an orbit with a periapsis 9700 km below the 1-bar atmospheric layer. The spacecraft continued transmitting at least until it passed behind the limb of Jupiter at 1850:54 GMT, when it was 9283 km above the 1-bar level, surprising Galileo veterans who feared it might enter safe mode due to the high radiation environment. On its farewell dive, it had crossed the orbit of Callisto at around 1100 on 20 September, the orbit of Ganymede at around 0500 on 21 September, Europa's orbit at about 1145, Io's orbit at about 1500, Amalthea's orbit at 1756, and the orbits of Adrastea and Metis at 1825. Galileo was destroyed to prevent the possibility that its orbit would eventually be perturbed in such a way that it would crash on and biologically contaminate Europa, which was considered a possible place to search for life. Light travel time from Jupiter to Earth was 52 min 20 sec at the time of impact, and the final signal reached Earth at 1943:14 GMT.

See also the JPL PhotoJournal for Gaspra for more images and information about the asteroid Gaspra encounter.


https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galileo/mission/index.cfm

2003
China launched taikonaut Yang Liwei into orbit aboard Shenzhou 5, their first manned space mission, and became the third nation to send a human into space on their own launch vehicle.

China's Shenzhou 5 at launch, photo courtesy of NASA
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=2003-045A

2004 02:48:00 GMT
The recoverable capsule of China's FSW-3-3 reconnaissance satellite returned to Earth, falling through the roof of an apartment in the village of Penglai, Sichuan, where the woman who lived there had left five minutes earlier.

BEIJING (Associated Press) [dateline 18 October 2004] -- A section of a Chinese scientific satellite that was returning from orbit crashed into an apartment building, wrecking the top floor but causing no injuries, according to the Tianfu Morning News. The capsule crashed into the four-story building Friday [15 October] in Penglai, a village in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where the woman who lived there had left five minutes earlier. A photo showed the kettle-shaped capsule, which appeared to be about two meters (six feet) long, lying amid broken bricks, beams and roof tiles. Another photo showed the capsule being lifted off the building as spectators crowded onto surrounding rooftops.

The incident was a minor embarrassment for the Chinese space program that sent its first astronaut into orbit in October 2003, and has launched 20 recoverable scientific satellites.

The capsule was part of a satellite that spent 18 days in orbit, the newspaper reported. The government's Xinhua News Agency said the rest of the satellite will remain in orbit.


https://www.globalsecurity.org/space/world/china/fsw-3.htm


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