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Space History for October 27


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1449
Died, Ulugh Beg, Timurid astronomer

Ulugh Beg (22 March 1394 - 27 October 1449) was a Timurid astronomer, mathematician and sultan. Lacking telescopes to work with, he increased his accuracy by increasing the length of his sextant; the so-called Fakhri Sextant had a radius of circa 36 meters and the optical separability of 180" (seconds of arc). Using it he compiled the 1437 Zij-i Sultani of 994 stars, generally considered the greatest of star catalogues between those of Ptolemy and Brahe.


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

1899
M. Wolf and A. Schwassmann discovered asteroids #446 Aeternitas, #447 Valentine and #448 Natalie.

1903
M. Wolf and P. Gotz discovered asteroid #520 Franziska.

1913
Born, August Friedrich Staats, German engineer, co-founded the German Society for Rocket Technology ('Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Raketentechnik' - DAFRA)

August Friedrich Staats (27 October 1913 - 30 May 2002) was born in Bremen, Germany. He received his first patent, for an electro-acoustic remote control system, when he was 21 years old. During World War 2, he worked under Dr. E. A. Steinhoff at Peenemuende, developing radio control, guidance, and telemetry systems. He chose to remain in Germany after the war, and became the lead engineer for the United Acetylene Factory in Hannover. On 21 September 1952, he and 11 other engineers founded the German Society for Rocket Technology ('Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Raketentechnik' - DAFRA, later known as the German Rocket Society - Deutsche Raketengesellschaft - DRG, and finally as - Hermann-Oberth-Gesellschaft - HOG) in Bremen as soon as the Allies removed the prohibition on German aerospace research. During his long tenure as President of the Society, the twelve founding members grew to an organization of 1300 in 14 countries by 1963, and the Society conducted pioneering sounding rocket experiments at Cuxhaven. Staats founded the magazine Astronautik and served as its Chief Editor. He also founded and led a series of International Spaceflight Congresses in Salzburg. In 1990, he stepped down to Vice-Presidency of the HOG, which merged into the current Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt - Lilienthal - Oberth eV (DGLR) in 1993. He received numerous honors, including the Gold Medal of Salzburg, the German State Service Cross First Class, an honorary doctorate from the University of Barcelona, and the Wernher von Braun Medal of the DGLR.


http://www.astronautix.com/s/staats.html

1916
G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #952 Caia.

1921
J. Palisa discovered asteroid #964 Subamara.

1927
K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1119 Euboea.

1929
G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1137 Raissa.

1946
Born, Steven R. Nagel (at Canton, Illinois, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 51-G, STS 61-A, STS 37, STS 55, 30d 1.5h total time in spaceflight) (deceased)

Astronaut Steven R. Nagel in Launch/Entry Suit (LES), NASA photo (7 Dec. 1992)
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/nagel.html

1946
Born, Terry J. Hart (at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 41-C, over 6d 23.5h time in spaceflight)

Astronaut Terry J. Hart, NASA photo
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/hart-tj.html

1949
S. Arend discovered asteroid #1573 Vaisala.

1961
The first test flight of a Saturn 1 booster carried a dummy payload to a 135 km altitude.

The largest known rocket to date, the Saturn first stage booster was successfully launched on its first test flight from Atlantic Missile Range on 27 October 1961. With eight clustered engines developing almost 1.3 million pounds of thrust at launch, the Saturn (SA-1) hurled waterfilled dummy upper stages to an altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down range.


https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/Timeline/1961-4.html

1967 09:29:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 186 from Baikonur, which performed the first automatic docking of spacecraft, with Cosmos 188, on 30 October 1967.

USSR launched Cosmos 186 on 27 October 1967, which docked with Cosmos 188 on 30 October, the first automated rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft. The docking was timed to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution, in lieu of a succession of manned space feats that all had to be cancelled due to schedule delays.

The two spacecraft achieved automatic rendezvous on the second attempt. Mutual search, approach, mooring, and docking were automatically performed. Capture was achieved, but hard docking and electric connections were unsuccessful due to misallignment of the spacecraft. After 3.5 hr of joint flight, the satellites parted on a command sent from the Earth and continued to orbit separately.

Cosmos 186 incorporated a reentry body (capsule) for landing scientific instruments and test objects. Its star tracker failed, and it had to make a high-G ballistic re-entry. The capsule was recovered on 31 October 1967 after a soft landing in a predetermined region of the USSR.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1967-105A

1970
USSR's Zond 8 splashed down in the Indian Ocean, the Soviet Union's second water recovery, at the end of the USSR's final circumlunar flight.

The USSR's final circumlunar flight, Zond 8 was launched 20 October 1970 from an Earth orbiting platform, Tyazheliy Sputnik (70-088B), towards the Moon for further demonstration of circumlunar flight, Lunar and planetary photography. The announced objectives were investigations of the Moon and circumlunar space, and testing of onboard systems and units.

The spacecraft obtained photographs of the Earth on 21 October from a distance of 64,480 km, and transmitted flight images of the Earth for three days. Zond 8 flew past the Moon on 24 October 1970 at a distance of 1110.4 km, and obtained both black and white and color photographs of the Lunar surface. Scientific measurements were also obtained during the flight.

Zond 8 reentered the Earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Indian Ocean on 27 October 1970. The spacecraft used a new variant of the double-dip re-entry, coming in over the North Pole, bouncing off the atmosphere, tracked by Soviet radar stations as it soared south over the Soviet Union, then making a final precision re-entry followed by splashdown at the recovery point in the Indian Ocean, the Soviets' second water recovery.

Zond 8 was recovered only 15 minutes after splashdown by the vessel Taman. Of five Zonds recovered, this was the only one to fly over the North Pole, the remainder re-entered over the South Pole. The reason for the different trajectory was the need to fly over tracking stations on Soviet territory in order to get trajectory updates that allowed a precise landing after the second plunge into the atmosphere. Mishin subsequently wanted a water landing for the L3, the dilemma being that after a first dip into the atmosphere over the North Pole, tracking for a precision landing is possible, but then the spacecraft cannot land on Soviet territory. Re-entering first over the South Pole would mean that no trajectory updates were available, but the spacecraft could land only imprecisely somewhere on Soviet territory.

15 L1's were completed, of which only five ever returned to Earth. Following this successful final recovery, the program was cancelled. The main cause of the project's failure was the unreliability of the UR-500K rocket.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1970-088A

1972
NASA's Mariner 9 spacecraft was shut down after depleting its supply of attitude control gas after nearly a year in orbit around Mars.

Mariner 9 was launched 30 May 1971 on a 398 million km direct ascent trajectory to Mars. A planned midcourse maneuver was executed on 5 June. Mariner 9 arrived at Mars on 14 November 1971 after a 167 day flight. A 15 minute 23 second rocket burn put the spacecraft into Mars orbit, making Mariner 9 the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The insertion orbit had a periapsis of 1398 km and a period of 12 hr, 34 min. Two days later a 6 second rocket burn changed the orbital period to just under 12 hours with a periapsis of 1387 km. A correction trim maneuver was made on 30 December on the 94th orbit which raised the periapsis to 1650 km and changed the orbital period to 11:59:28 so that synchronous data transmissions could be made to the Goldstone 64 m Deep Space Network antenna.

The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mariner 8 was to map 70% of the Martian surface, and Mariner 9 was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and on the Martian surface. The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. For the survey portion of the mission, the planetary surface was to be mapped with the same resolution as planned for the original mission, although the resolution of pictures of the polar regions would be decreased due to the increased slant range. The variable features experiments were changed from studies of six given areas every 5 days to studies of smaller regions every 17 days.

Imaging of the surface of Mars by Mariner 9 was delayed by a dust storm which started on 22 September 1971 in the Noachis region. The storm quickly grew into one of the largest global storms ever observed on Mars. By the time the spacecraft arrived at Mars, no surface details could be seen except the summits of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis volcanoes. The storm abated through November and December, and normal mapping operations began. The spacecraft gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature and also the surface composition, temperature, gravity, and topography of Mars.

The Mariner 9 mission resulted in a global mapping of the surface of Mars, including the first detailed views of the Martian volcanoes, Valles Marineris, the polar caps, and the satellites Phobos and Deimos. It also provided information on global dust storms, the triaxial figure of Mars, and the rugged gravity field as well as evidence for surface aeolian activity. A total of 54 billion bits of scientific data were returned, including 7329 images covering the entire planet.

After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on 27 October 1972. Mariner 9 was left in an orbit which should not decay for at least 50 years, after which the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1971-051A

1972 22:05:00 GMT
USSR launched the Meteor 1-13 weather satellite from Plesetsk.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1972-085A

1973
Freimut Borngen and Karsten Kirsch discovered asteroids #2424 Tautenburg and #3245 Jensch; Freimut Borngen discovered asteroid #3540 Protesilaos.

1975
P. Wild discovered asteroid #2353.

1977 21:52:00 PDT (GMT -7:00:00)
The US Navy launched Transit-O 11 from Vandenberg AFB, California, on a Scout D rocket. The Transit spacecraft were originally developed to update inertial navigation systems on US Navy Polaris submarines.

Transit-O 11 (aka OSCAR(NAV) 11 and NNSS 30110) was a 94 kg US Navy navigation satellite launched 27 October 1977 at 9:52PM PDT (0452 UTC 28 October 1977) from Vandenberg AFB, California, on a Scout D rocket. Transit, one of the first operational satellite systems, was also known as the Navy Navigation Satellite (NNS).

The Transit spacecraft were originally developed for updating the inertial navigation systems on board US Navy Polaris submarines, and were later made available for civilian use. Transit receivers used the known characteristics of the satellite's orbit, measured the Doppler shift of the satellite's radio signal, and thereby calculated the receivers position on Earth. As a single spacecraft travelled overhead, the user measured the Doppler shift over a 15 minute period by receiving timing marks and satellite orbital information on two separate frequencies, 149.99 and 399.97 MHz. These signals were corrected for ionospheric refraction and the information was then fed into the users navigation system.

Individual Transit satellites operated for over 10 years. Technical breakthroughs during the program included gravity gradient stabilization, use of radio-isotope thermoelectic generators (RTG), and navigation satellite technologies later used in the GPS system. Transit was superseded by the Navstar global positioning system. Use of the satellites for navigation was discontinued at the end of 1996, but the satellites continued transmitting and became the Navy Ionospheric Monitoring System (NIMS).


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1977-106A

1978
P. Wild discovered asteroid #2970.


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