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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 25

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Died, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian physicist, mathematician (barometer, infinite series, Gabriel's horn)

Giovanni Cassini discovered Iapetus, a satellite of Saturn, which he could only initially see on Saturn's western side because of its unusual coloration.

Born, Heinrich Schwabe, German astronomer, discovered the 11 year sunspot cycle

Born, Robert Stirling, Scottish inventor (closed-cycle regenerative gas engine)

Born, Henry Norris Russell, astronomer (Hertzsprung-Russell temperature-luminosity diagram)

J Palisa discovered asteroid #279 Thule.

M Wolf discovered asteroids #495 Eulalia and #496 Gryphia.

US inventor Lee de Forest applied for a patent for the diode vacuum tube detector, a predecessor of his triode invention that first made electronic signal amplification possible.

Born, William A. "Willy" Higinbotham, physicist, credited with creating one of the first video games, Tennis For Two (similar to Pong) on an oscilloscope in 1958, while Head of the Instrumentation Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #962 Aslog.

Born, Viktor Petrovich Makeyev, Russian engineer, Chief Designer and General Designer of SKB-385 (1955-1985)

Transcontinental & Western Air (T&WA) began the first scheduled transcontinental air service in the US, between Los Angeles and New York City. The route took 36 hours, the planes only flying in daylight, passengers slept overnight in Kansas City hotels.

Born, Russell Luis "Rusty" Schweickart (at Neptune, New Jersey, USA), USAF pilot, NASA astronaut (Apollo 9)

Russell L. "Rusty" Schweickart (born 25 October 1935, in Neptune, New Jersey) became an astronaut in October of 1963. He has spent over 241 hours in space on one spaceflight. In 1969, Schweickart served on the Apollo 9 mission during which he piloted the Lunar Module. This was the first manned test of the Apollo Lunar Module, as well as the first broadcast of music from space.

Schweickart was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1973.

Rusty Schweickart has spoken and taught at the Esalen Institute (considered to be the center of the Human Potential movement). Schweickart is also cofounder of the B612 Foundation, a group that aims to defend Earth from asteroid impacts.

Astronaut Rusty Schweickart , NASA photo

Tappan sold the first commercially available microwave oven, a 220-volt wall-mounted unit that cost $1495.

1965 15:00:04 GMT
NASA launched the Gemini 6 Agena Target Vehicle (GATV6) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which failed to reach orbit, causing cancellation of Gemini 6. Because of this setback, the idea of launching Gemini 6A to rendezvous with Gemini 7 was born.

The Gemini 6 Agena Target Vehicle (vehicle GATV 5002) was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 25 October 1965 at 10:00:04 AM EST (15:00:04 UT) on an Atlas-Agena D rocket. At 10:05:12 AM EST, 5:08 after launch, the Agena separated from the Atlas successfully and all signals were normal. 376 seconds (6m16s) after launch, at the initiation of the Agena target vehicle primary propulsion system firing for Earth orbit insertion, telemetry and radar beacon track were lost and all attempts to reestablish contact or radar track with the vehicle failed. Just before the loss of contact, telemetry showed a marked rise in pressure in both propellant tanks. Shortly afterwards, radar at Patrick Air Force Base reportedly "picked up 5 pieces" of debris at the point in space the Agena was supposed to be. The Gemini 6 launch, scheduled to occur 101 minutes later, was cancelled. Later investigation concluded the most likely cause of the failure was a hard start and explosion caused by fuel preceding oxidizer into the thrust chamber during ignition.

The Gemini Agena Target Vehicle was designed to be launched into Earth orbit prior to a Gemini mission and used for rendezvous and docking practice. The GATV had a docking cone at the forward end into which the nose of the Gemini spacecraft could be inserted and held with docking latches. The GATV was a 6 meter long cylinder with a diameter of somewhat less than 2 meters. (The 4.9 meter diameter stated on the NASA page is perhaps including the extended boom antenna: The base of the Gemini reentry vehicle - the black portion of the Gemini capsule in the attached photograph - is only 2.28 meters in diameter, the GATV diameter is considerably smaller.) The primary and secondary propulsion systems were at the back end of the target vehicle with the attitude control gas tanks and the main propellant tanks. The docking cone was connected to the front end by shock absorbing dampers. Acquisition running lights and target vehicle status display indicators were situated on the front end. A 2.1 meter long retractable L-band boom antenna extended from the side of the cylinder near the front. Tracking and command of the GATV were also aided by a rendezvous beacon, two spiral L-band antennas, two tracking antennas (C-band and S-band), two VHF telemetry antennas, and a UHF command antenna. Micrometeoroid packages and other experiments could also be mounted on the GATV.

NASA photo, GATV 6 in testing

USSR Luna 12 entered Lunar orbit, from which it returned picures of the Lunar surface on 27 October.

Luna 12 was a Soviet Lunar orbiter, launched towards the Moon from Biakonur via an Earth orbiting platform on 22 October 1966, which achieved Lunar orbit on 25 October. Its purpose was further development of artificial Lunar satellite systems, and conducting scientific experiments in circumlunar space. The spacecraft was equipped with a television system that obtained and transmitted photographs of the Lunar surface. The photographs contained 1100 scan lines with a maximum resolution of 14.9-19.8 meters. Pictures of the Lunar surface were returned on 27 October, and radio transmissions from Luna 12 ceased on 19 January 1967, after 602 Lunar orbits and 302 radio transmissions.

1968 09:00:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz 2 from Baikonur as an unmanned docking target for Soyuz 3.

USSR launched Soyuz 2 on 25 October 1968 as an unmanned docking target for Soyuz 3, officially for "complex testing of spaceship systems in conditions of space flight." The launch took place on schedule at noon local time, in 0 deg C temperatures and 5 m/s (30 mph) winds. Docking with Soyuz 3 proved to be a failure. Soyuz 2 was recovered 28 October 1968 after landing 5 km from its aim point.

Died, Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel, Russian engineer, Chief Designer of OKB-586 (1954-1971), preeminent Soviet designer of ballistic missiles and light satellites

P Wild discovered asteroids #1911 Schubart, #1960 Guisan and #2037 Tripaxeptalis.

1975 05:17:00 GMT
USSR's Venera 10 made a day-side Venus landing, with the Sun near zenith, and returned data for 65 minutes before its orbiter moved out of relay range. It had succumbed to the heat before the next pass.

USSR launched Venera 10 from Baikonur on 14 June 1975, which entered Venus orbit and was separated from the lander on 23 October 1975. The orbiter served as a communications relay for the lander, and explored cloud layers and atmospheric parameters. Its instruments included a French 3500 angstrom UV photometer, a 4000-7000 angstrom photo-polarimeter, a 1.5-3 micron infrared spectrometer, and a 8-30 micron infrared radiometer. The orbiter also carried a magnetometer and charged particle traps. Some reports indicated a camera system was also aboard. The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 m sphere which held the lander.

The descent craft/lander comprised a spherical body mounted by a series of struts on a toroidal landing platform and topped by a disk (the titanium aerobrake) and a cylindrical tower. The full entry probe, which included a 2.4 m aluminum heat shield and held the descent craft, had a mass of 1560 kg. The lander was 2 m high and had a mass of 660 kg. Data transmission would be at 256 bits/sec, through a helical antenna wrapped around the upper cylinder using the orbiter as a relay. It carried a panoramic imaging system mounted 90 cm above the base, a thermometer, barometer, anemometer, mass spectrometer, photometers, nephelometer, gamma-ray spectrometer, radiation densitometer, and accelerometers.

The Venera 10 lander touched down on Venus with the Sun near zenith at 05:17 UT on 25 October. A system of circulating fluid used to distribute the heat load, plus precooling prior to entry, permitted operation of the spacecraft for 65 minutes after landing, until the orbiter was out of range to act as a relay. During descent, heat dissipation and deceleration were accomplished sequentially by the protective hemispheric aeroshell heat shield, three parachutes (jettisoned at 49 km altitude), the disk-shaped drag brake, and a compressible, metal, doughnut-shaped, landing cushion which also held many of the instruments. The landing was about 2,200 km distant from Venera 9. Preliminary results provided:

   1. profile of altitude (km)/pressure (Earth atmospheres)/temperature (degrees C) of 42/3.3/158, 15/37/363, and 0/92/465
   2. successful TV photography showing large pancake rocks with lava or other weathered rocks in between
   3. surface wind speed of 3.5 m/s

Venera 9 and 10 were the first probes to send back black and white pictures from the Venusian surface. They were supposed to make 360 degree panoramic shots, but on both landers one of two camera covers failed to come off, restricting their field of view to 180 degrees.

NASA image, Venera 10 Descent Craft

R M West discovered asteroid #2147 Kharadze.

A Mrkos discovered asteroid #3017.

Died, Viktor Petrovich Makeyev, Russian engineer, Chief Designer and General Designer of SKB-385 (1955-1985)

1985 15:45:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1700 experimental centimeter band commsat from Baikonur, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 95 deg E 1985-1986, the first Altair/SR launch to communicate with Mir and other spacecraft; the first Mir tests were on 29 March 1986.

1986 15:43:00 GMT
USSR launched Raduga 19 from Baikonur to provide telephone and telegraph communications and television broadcasting, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 45 deg E 1986-1991; 34 deg E 1991-1993; performed an end-of-life maneuver 30 September 1993.

1997 00:30:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched the Navstar 38 (USA 135) geosynchronous military commsat from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on an Atlas IIA booster also carrying the USAF Academy Falcon Gold experiment to demonstrate use of GPS navigation in geosynchronous orbit.

1998 04:14:57 GMT
Russia launched Progress M-40 from Baikonur, an unmanned resupply vessel sent to Mir.

Progress M-40 was launched to Mir on 25 October 1998. It docked with the rear (+X, Kvant) docking port of the Mir station on 27 October, and delivered fuel, dry cargo, and the Znamya-2.5 solar illumination experiment, a follow-on to the earlier Znamya-2 experiment on Progress M-15 in 1992. The 25 meter diameter Znamya reflector, which would unfold from the nose of the Progress, was to reflect sunlight over a 6 km area onto selected cities. Znamya-2.5 was developed by the Space Regatta Consortium, led by RKK Energia. Energia had long studied such space mirrors as a means of providing lighting to Siberian towns. The project was opposed by environmentalists and astronomers, who feared light pollution. Progress M-40 undocked on 4 February 1999 at 09:59 GMT, but the attempted deployment of the Znamya-2.5 reflector was thwarted when it snagged on a rendezvous system antenna. After two more failed attempts to deploy the antenna, the experiment was abandoned. Progress M-40 fired its engines at 10:16 GMT on 5 February 1999, braked out of orbit, and burned up over the Pacific Ocean.

Died, Rudi Beichel, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after World War II

Rudi Beichel (19 August 1913 - 25 October 1999), was a German expert in guided missile propulsion during World War II, and a member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after the war. As of January 1947, he was working at Fort Bliss, Texas. He left the von Braun team and became a key decision maker in US Army liquid propulsion selection decisions. He moved to the Aerojet company in 1956, where he worked on the LOx/LH2 Titan I engine conversion, Aerojet large engine studies and proposals for NASA, and the USAF ARES program for a single-stage liquid propellant ICBM.

See also,-Wiesloch-Raketenspezialisten-Rudi-Beichel-aus-St-Leon-Rot-und-Wernher-von-Braun-_arid,146015.html

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