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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 18

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Died, Jean-Dominique, comte de Cassini, French astronomer, son of Cesar-Francois Cassini de Thury,_comte_de_Cassini

English astronomer JK Hind discovered asteroid #8 Flora, his second asteroid discovery.

Born, Charles Babbage, mathematician and inventor of computing machines

Charles Babbage (26 December 1791 - 18 October 1871) was an English mathematician, analytical philosopher and (proto-)computer scientist who is commonly identified as the first person to come up with the idea of a programmable computer. Parts of his uncompleted mechanisms are on display in the London Science Museum. In 1991, working from Babbage's original plans, a Difference Engine was completed, and functioned perfectly. They were built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, indicating that Babbage's machine would have worked.

The first commercial long-distance phone line opened, between Chicago and New York City.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #722 Frieda; Kaiser discovered asteroids #720 Bohlinia, #721 Tabora and #1265 Schweikarda.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1206 Numerowia, #1234 Elyna, #1235 Schorria and #2414 Vibeke.

1931 21:00:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
Died, Thomas Edison, inventor

Thomas Alva Edison (11 February 1847 - 18 October 1931) was a United States inventor and businessman who developed many important devices. "The Wizard of Menlo Park" was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention.

Edison was considered one of the most prolific inventors of his time, holding a record 1,093 patents in his name. Most of these inventions were not completely original, but improvements of earlier patents, and were mostly actually made by his numerous employees - Edison was frequently criticized for not sharing the credits. Nevertheless, Edison received patents worldwide, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust).

Y Vaisala discovered asteroids #1472 Muonio, #1527 Malmquista, #1740 Paavo Nurmi, #2096 Vaino and #2826 Ahti.

Texas Instruments and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) announced the first transistor radio offered to consumers, the Regency TR-1.

The first photographs of the Moon's far side were transmitted in facsimile form from the USSR Luna 3 probe as it returned near Earth.

Luna 3, launched 4 October 1959, was the third spacecraft successfully sent to the Moon, and the first to return images of the Lunar far side. The spacecraft returned very indistinct pictures, but, through computer enhancement, a tentative atlas of the Lunar farside was produced. These first views of the Lunar far side showed mountainous terrain, very different from the near side, and only two dark regions which were named Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Dreams). (Mare Desiderii was later found to be composed of a smaller mare, Mare Ingenii (Sea of Ingenuity) and other dark craters.)

The spacecraft was a cylindrical cannister with hemispherical ends and a wide flange near the top end. The probe was 130 cm long and 120 cm at its maximum diameter at the flange. Most of the cylindrical section was roughly 95 cm in diameter. The cannister was hermetically sealed and pressurized at 0.23 atmospheres. Solar cells mounted on the outside of the cylinder provided power to the chemical batteries inside the spacecraft. Shutters for thermal control were also positioned along the cylinder and were designed to open to expose a radiating surface when the interior temperature exceeded 25 degrees C. The upper hemisphere of the probe held the covered opening for the cameras. Four antennae protruded from the top of the probe and two from the bottom. Other scientific apparatus (micrometeoroid and cosmic ray detectors) was mounted on the outside of the probe. Gas jets for attitude control were mounted on the outside of the lower end of the spacecraft. Photoelectric cells were used to maintain orientation with respect to the Sun and Moon. The spacecraft had no rockets for course adjustment. The interior of the spacecraft held the cameras and film processing system, radio equipment, propulsion systems, batteries, gyroscopic units for attitude control, and circulating fans for temperature control. The spacecraft was spin stabilized and was directly radio-controlled from Earth.

The imaging system on Luna 3 was designated Yenisey-2 and consisted of a dual lens camera, an automatic film processing unit, and a scanner. The lenses were a 200 mm focal length, f/5.6 aperture objective and a 500 mm, f/9.5 objective. The camera carried 40 frames of temperature- and radiation resistant 35-mm isochrome film. The 200 mm objective could image the full disk of the Moon, and the 500 mm could take an image of a region on the surface. The camera was fixed in the spacecraft and pointing was achieved by rotating the craft itself. A photocell was used to detect the Moon and orient the upper end of the spacecraft and cameras towards it. Detection of the Moon signaled the camera cover to open and the photography sequence to start automatically. After photography was complete, the film was moved to an on-board processor where it was developed, fixed, and dried. On command from Earth, the film was moved to a scanner where a bright spot produced by a cathode ray tube was projected through the film onto a photelectric multiplier. The spot was scanned across the film and the photomultiplier converted the intensity of the light passing through the film into an electric signal which was transmitted to Earth. Frames were scanned with a resolution of 1000 lines, the transmission could be done at a slow rate for large distances from Earth and a faster rate at closer range.

After launch on an 8K72 (number I1-8) on a course over the Earth's north pole, the Blok-E escape stage was shut down by radio control from Earth at the proper velocity to put the Luna 3 on a figure-eight trajectory which brought it over the Moon and around the far side, which was sunlit at the time. Initial radio contact showed the signal from the probe was only about half as strong as expected and the interior temperature was increasing. The spacecraft spin axis was reoriented and some equipment shut down resulting in a drop in temperature from 40 degrees C to about 30 degrees C. At a distance of 60,000 to 70,000 km from the Moon, the orientation system was turned on and the spacecraft rotation was stopped. The lower end of the station was oriented towards the Sun, which was shining on the far side of the Moon. The spacecraft passed within 6,200 km of the Moon near the south pole at its closest approach at 14:16 UT on 6 October 1959 and continued on to the far side. On 7 October the photocell on the upper end of the spacecraft detected the sunlit far side of the Moon and the photography sequence started. The first image was taken at 03:30 UT at a distance of 63,500 km from the Moon's surface and the last 40 minutes later from 66,700 km. A total of 29 photographs were taken, covering 70% of the far side. After the photography was complete the spacecraft resumed spinning, passed over the north pole of the Moon and returned towards the Earth. Attempts to transmit the photographs to Earth began on 8 October but were believed to be unsuccessful due to the low signal strength. The photographs were scanned and 17 resolvable but noisy photographs were transmitted to ground stations by radio in facsimile form on 18 October 1959, as the spacecraft, in a barycentric orbit, returned near the Earth. The photographs were to be retransmitted at another point close to Earth but were not received. Contact with the probe was lost on 22 October. The probe was believed to have burned up in the Earth's atmosphere in March or April of 1960, but may have survived in orbit until after 1962.

1962 16:59:00 GMT
The US launched Ranger 5 as a Lunar impact mission, however, it missed the Moon after it ceased to function for unknown reasons.

Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2405 Welch.

Soviet Venera 4 became the first probe to send data back from Venus.

Venera 4 was launched 12 June 1967 from a Tyazheliy Sputnik (67-058B) towards Venus with the announced mission of direct atmospheric studies. On 18 October 1967, the spacecraft entered the Venusian atmosphere and released a capsule with two thermometers, a barometer, a radio altimeter, an atmospheric density gauge, 11 gas analyzers, and two radio transmitters operating in the DM waveband. The main bus, which had carried the capsule to Venus, carried a magnetometer, cosmic ray detectors, hydrogen and oxygen indicators, and charged particle traps. Signals were returned by the spacecraft, which braked and then deployed a parachute system after entering the Venusian atmosphere, until it reached an altitude of 24.96 km.

1969 10:19:00 GMT
USSR's Soyuz 8 returned to Earth after joint orbital operations with Soyuz 6 and 7.

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.

C Kowal discovered asteroid #2060 Chiron; P Wild discovered asteroid #2481,

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2729.

P Jensen and K Augustesen discovered asteroid #3369 Freuchen.

1989 12:53:40 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 34 (Atlantis 5, Shuttle 31, 62nd US manned mission) carrying the Galieo Jupiter probe and the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment to orbit.

The STS 34 launch set for 12 October 1989 was rescheduled due to a faulty main engine controller on main engine number two. The launch set for 17 October was rescheduled due to weather constraints for a return-to-launch-site landing at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility.

The primary payload, the Galileo/Jupiter spacecraft and attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), was deployed six hours, 30 minutes into the flight. The IUS stages fired, placing Galileo on a trajectory for its six-year trip to Jupiter via gravitational boosts from Venus and Earth and possible observational brushes with asteroids Gaspra and Ida.

The secondary payloads aboard STS 34 included the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment carried in cargo bay, and in the crew cabin, Growth Hormone Crystal Distribution (GHCD); Polymer Morphology (PM), Sensor Technology Experiment (STEX); Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE); IMAX camera; Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment that investigated ice crystal formation in zero-gravity; and ground-based Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS 34 ended on 23 October 1989 when Atlantis landed on revolution 80 on Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,677 feet. Rollout time: 60 seconds. Launch weight: 257,569 pounds. Landing weight: 195,954 pounds. Orbit altitude: 185 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 34.3 degrees. Mission duration: four days, 23 hours, 39 minutes, 21 seconds. Miles traveled: 2 million. Atlantis was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 29 October 1989.

The flight crew for STS 34 was: Donald E. Williams, Commander; Michael J. McCulley, Pilot; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist 1; Shannon W. Lucid, Mission Specialist 2; Ellen S. Baker, Mission Specialist 3.

1989 23:23:00 GMT
NASA's Galileo spacecraft was launched toward Jupiter after being released in orbit from the shuttle Atlantis.

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 for more images and information about the asteroid Gaspra encounter.

1993 10:53:10 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 58 (Columbia 15, Shuttle 58) carrying the Spacelab Life Sciences-2 (SLS-2) experiment platform to space.

The first launch attempt of STS 58 on 14 October 1993 was scrubbed at the T-31 second mark due to a failed Range Safety computer. The second launch attempt on 15 October was scrubbed at the T-9 minute mark due to a failed S-band transponder on the orbiter. The launch was reset for 18 October 1993, when the countdown proceeded smoothly to liftoff, delayed only by several seconds because of an aircraft in the launch zone.

STS 58 was the second dedicated Spacelab Life Sciences mission (SLS-2). Fourteen experiments were conducted in four areas: regulatory physiology, cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal and neuroscience. Eight of the experiments focused on the crew; six on 48 rodents. The crew collected more than 650 different samples from themselves and the rodents, increasing the statistical base for life sciences research. The combined data from SLS-1 and SLS-2 will help build a comprehensive picture of how humans and animals adapt to weightlessness.

The cardiovascular investigations were: Inflight Study of Cardiovascular Deconditioning; Cardiovascular Adaptation to Zero Gravity; Pulmonary Function during Weightlessness. The regulatory physiology investigations were: Fluid Electrolyte Regulation during Space flight; Regulation of Blood Volume during Space flight; Regulation of Erythropoiesis in Rats during Space flight; Influence of Space flight on Erythrokinetics in Man. The musculoskeletal investigations were: Protein Metabolism during Space flight; Effects of Zero Gravity on the Functional and Biochemical Properties of Antigravity Skeletal Muscle; Effects of Microgravity on the Electron Microscopy, Histochemistry and Protease Activities of Rat Hindlimb Muscles; Pathophysiology of Mineral Loss during Space flight; Bone, Calcium and Spaceflight. The neuroscience investigations were: Study of the Effects of Space Travel on Mammalian Gravity Receptors; Vestibular Experiments in Spacelab.

For one of the neurovestibular experiments, the Rotating Dome Experiment, the crew worked with the first flight prototype of the Astronaut Science Advisor (ASA), a laptop computer designed to assist astronauts conducting experiments, also called the "principal investigator in a box" because it can increase the efficiency of experiment activities.

Six rodents were put to death and dissected during the mission, yielding the first tissue samples collected in space and not altered by re-exposure to Earth's gravity.

Other experiments flown on STS 58 were: Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX); Pilot Inflight Landing Operations Trainer (PILOT), a portable laptop computer simulator to allow the pilot and commander to maintain proficiency for approach and landing during longer missions.

With completion of her fourth space flight, Lucid accumulated the most flight time for a female astronaut on the Shuttle, 838 hours.

STS 58 ended 1 November 1993 at the close of the longest Shuttle mission to date when Columbia landed on revolution 225 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,640 feet (2,938 meters). Rollout time: one minute, one second. Landing weight: 229,753 pounds. Orbit altitude: 155 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 39 degrees. Mission duration: 14 days, 12 minutes, 32 seconds. Miles Traveled: 5.8 million. Columbia was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 9 November 1993.

The flight crew for STS 58 was: John E. Blaha, Commander; Richard A. Searfoss, Pilot; M. Rhea Seddon, Mission Specialist 1; William S. McArthur Jr., Mission Specialist 2; David A. Wolf, Mission Specialist 3; Shannon W. Lucid, Mission Specialist 4; Martin Fettman, Payload Specialist 1.

Died (heart attack), Nikolai Nikolayevich Rukavishnikov, cosmonaut (Soyuz 10, Soyuz 16, Soyuz 33/Salyut 6, 9d 21h total time in space)

Nikolai Nikolayevich Rukavishnikov (18 September 1932, Tomsk - 19 October 2002) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew three space missions of the Soyuz program: Soyuz 10, Soyuz 16, and Soyuz 33. Two of these missions, Soyuz 10 and Soyuz 33 were intended to dock with Salyut space stations, but failed to do so.

Rukavishnikov studied at the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute and after graduation worked for Sergey Korolev's design bureau. He was selected for cosmonaut training in 1967.

He resigned from the space program in 1987 and returned to work for the same bureau he started with, by then known as Energia.

He died of a heart attack on 19 October 2002.

2002 10:44:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 112 (Atlantis 26) landed after 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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