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Space History for October 30

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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
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Died (yellow fever, age 53), Ormsby Mcknight Mitchel, US astronomer, Union Major General in US Civil War

A. Schwassmann discovered asteroids #905 Universitas and #906 Repsolda; M. Wolf discovered asteroid #919 Ilsebill.

J. Comas Sola discovered asteroid #1136 Mercedes.

Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, a hoax portraying a Martian invasion, allegedly causing a nationwide panic in the United States when many people believed it to be true.

Born, Robert Lee "Hoot" Gibson (at Cooperstown, New York, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 41B, STS 61C, STS 27, STS 47, STS 71; 36d 4.25h total time in spaceflight), married to astronaut M. Rhea Seddon MD

Astronaut Robert Lee "Hoot" Gibson, NASA photo S84-42271 (24 September 1984)
Source: Wikipedia ( unavailable October 2019)

Born, Aleksandr Fyodorovich Poleshchuk (at Cheremkhovo, Irkutsk Oblast, Russian SFSR), Captain Russian AF Reserve, Russian cosmonaut (Mir 13; nearly 179d 0.75h in spaceflight)

S. Arend discovered asteroid #2538 Vanderlinden.

Born, Aleksandr I. Lazutkin (at Moscow, Russian SFSR), Russian cosmonaut (Mir 23; over 184d 22h in spaceflight)

Cosmonaut Aleksandr Lazutkin, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia

Y. C. Chang discovered asteroid #1125 China.

The Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb "Tsar Bomba" over Novaya Zemlya; at a yield of 58 megatons, it is still the largest nuclear device ever detonated by humanity (2022).

Born, Sandra Hall Magnus (at Belleville, Illinois, USA), American engineer, NASA astronaut (STS 112, ISS 18, STS 135), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics executive director (2012-2018)

Astronaut Sandra Magnus, STS 135 mission specialist, NASA photo (11 February 2011)
Source: Wikipedia

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #3405 and #3556.

L. Kohoutek and A. Kriete discovered asteroid #3769; L. Kohoutek discovered asteroids #2667, #2767 and #3303.

1967 08:09:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 188 from Baikonur, which performed the first automatic docking of spacecraft in orbit (with Cosmos 186) during the first orbit.

Cosmos 188, launched 30 October 1967, was the docking target craft for Cosmos 186, which achieved the world's first automatic rendezvous and docking in orbit on the second attempt, also on 30 October. Mutual search, approach, mooring, and docking were performed automatically. Capture was achieved, but hard docking and electric connections were unsuccessful due to misalignment of the spacecraft. After 3.5 hr of joint flight, the satellites parted on a command sent from Earth, and continued to orbit separately.

Cosmos 188 incorporated a reentry body (capsule) for landing scientific instruments and test objects. Its ion flow sensor failed, and Cosmos 188 had to make a high-G uncontrolled re-entry on 2 November 1967. When it deviated too far off course, it was destroyed by the on-board self-destruct system. However, the Soviet Union officially reported that it landed succesfully at 09:10 GMT, and that its mission was "investigation of outer space, development of new systems and elements to be used in the construction of space devices."

1967 09:00:00 GMT
USSR's Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188 made the first automatic docking of vehicles in space. (estimated time)

Cosmos 186, the active spacecraft, 7K-OK(A)#6, was launched 27 October 1967 from Baikonur Launch Complex 31. It was followed on 30 October by Cosmos 188, the passive spacecraft. The passive spacecraft was placed in the planned orbit, only 24 km from Cosmos 186, and an automatic first orbit rendezvous and docking was commanded. "To the astonishment of the ground crews," the spacecraft proceeded to accomplish the first-ever automated rendezvous and docking. Unfortunately, the docking occurred out of range of ground tracking stations, so only post-facto analysis of telemetry indicated that problems had occurred:

The first docking attempt failed when the active spacecraft flew past Cosmos 188 at a distance of 900 meters after the system lost contact. The spacecraft set itself up for a second attempt, and achieved soft-dock. However, when hard-dock was attempted, an excessive lateral movement led to the directional steering of the active spacecraft torquing, and the detailed interface latches and connectors of the docking rings did not join. The spacecraft had hard docking but without full latching and electrical connections. There was also a significant over-expenditure of propellant in the docking process.

1968 07:25:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz 3 (call sign Argon) landed after almost 4 days in orbit in which cosmonaut Georgiy Beregovoy performed rendezvous maneuvers with Soyuz 2, but did not dock.

Soyuz 3, the second manned Soyuz flight, was launched on 26 October 1968 when the unmanned Soyuz 2 passed over the Soviet Space Station at 11.34 Moscow time, officially for complex testing of spaceship systems; development, in joint flight with Soyuz 2, of the processes of spaceship maneuvring and docking in artificial Earth satellite orbit; development of elements of celestial navigation; and conduct of research under space flight conditions. The spacecraft had a command module (the recoverable portion of the ship) and a work compartment, separated by an air lock. It was piloted by cosmonaut Lieutenant Colonel Georgiy Timofeyevich Beregovoi.

Soyuz 3 went into a co-orbit with Soyuz 2, performed a radio search for it, and accomplished an automatic approach to it until they were 200 meters apart. Repeated manual approaches toward Soyuz 2 were made, reducing the difference in velocity between the two spacecraft to less than 1 mph. Television coverage of the operations was provided by external cameras. However, actual docking was not accomplished. The failed docking was blamed on manual control of the Soyuz by Beregovoi, who repeatedly put the spacecraft in an orientation that nulled the automatic docking system. Beregovoi used nearly all of his orientation fuel in his first attempt to dock: Of 80 kg allocated, only 8 to 10 kg remained after the attempt. Telemetry analysis showed Soyuz 3 used 30 kg of propellant during 20 minutes of maneuvring in the automatic regime during docking, followed by 40 kg consumed in two minutes of manual maneuvring. Essentially, Beregovoi was trying to dock the spacecraft upside down. This was either due to incorrect configuration of the running lights, or cosmonaut error: Soyuz 2 had two continuously illuminated lights on its upper side and two blinking lights on the lower side. Evidently Beregovoi didn't identify these correctly in weightlessness.

Soyuz 2 landed on 28 October 1968, and Soyuz 3 continued its flight. During the flight, different modes of orientation were tested, regular TV reports were made from orbit, and scientific and technological experiments - including observing the stellar sky, the Earth, and celestial luminaries, photographing the cloud canopy and snow cover for resource studies, detecting typhoons and cyclones, and investigating biomedical phenomena - were performed. Beregovoi was instructed to conduct experiments with the 45K stellar sensor on: He was to disengage the 45K, orient the spacecraft to the Sun, then reengage the sensor and the automatic orientation system. This did two complete turns of the spacecraft searching for the star, but not acquiring it. To Kamanin this showed the uselessness of the system, and the wastage of propellant it caused.

An orbit correction was made during the 36th revolution.

Be-2 seaplanes were in the air on 30 October 1968 in case Beregovoi had to do a ballistic re-entry and perform a splashdown in the Aral Sea. On his 81st orbit, Beregovoi manually oriented the spacecraft for retrofire, then engaged the vertical sensor and ion orientation system. The spacecraft hit an ion pocket, and it took between two and three minutes for the automated system to engage. Retrofire started 3 seconds late, coming at 9:45:05 Moscow time and continuing for 149 seconds, producing a delta V of 95 m/s. The main parachute deployed at 10:12:24 at 7 km altitude. Beregovoi spent 13 minutes under the main parachute, descending at 4 to 5 m/s. Soyuz 3 landed 10 km from the aimpoint at 10:25 Moscow time on 30 October 1968.

P. Wild discovered asteroids #1844 Susilva, #1845 Helewalda and #2868.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #2263 Shaanxi, #2355 Nei Monggol, #2851 and #3650.

1979 14:16:00 GMT
NASA GSF launched Magsat from Vandenberg, California, on a Scout booster, which measured the near-Earth magnetic field and crustal anomalies.

Joint NASA/USGS satellite Magsat
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

1981 06:04:00 GMT
USSR launched Venera 13 from Baikonur toward a landing on Venus on 1 March 1982.

Venera 13, launched 30 October 1981, consisted of a bus (81-106A) and an attached descent craft (81-106D). It was identical to Venera 14, the two spacecraft were built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity and launched five days apart. After launch and a four month cruise to Venus, the descent vehicle separated and plunged into the Venus atmosphere on 1 March 1982. As it flew by Venus, the bus acted as a data relay for the brief life of the descent vehicle, and then continued on into a heliocentric orbit. The bus carried instruments built by Austrian and French specialists, as well as Soviet scientific equipment, equipped with instrumentation including a gamma-ray spectrometer, retarding potential traps, UV grating monochromator, electron and proton spectrometers, gamma-ray burst detectors, solar wind plasma detectors, and two-frequency transmitters which made measurements before, during, and after the Venus flyby.

The Venera 13 descent craft/lander was a hermetically sealed pressure vessel, which contained most of the instrumentation and electronics, mounted on a ring-shaped landing platform and topped by an antenna, a design similar to the earlier Venera 9-12 landers. It carried instruments to take chemical and isotopic measurements, monitor the spectrum of scattered sunlight, and record electric discharges during its descent phase through the Venusian atmosphere. The spacecraft utilized a camera system, an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a screw drill and surface sampler, a dynamic penetrometer, and a seismometer to conduct investigations on the surface.

After entering the atmosphere, a parachute was deployed. At an altitude of 47 km the parachute was released and simple aerobraking was used the rest of the way to the surface. Venera 13 landed about 950 km northeast of Venera 14 at 7 deg 30 min S, 303 E, just east of the eastern extension of an elevated region known as Phoebe Regio. The area was composed of bedrock outcrops surrounded by dark, fine-grained soil. After landing an imaging panorama was started, and a mechanical drilling arm reached to the surface and obtained a sample. The sample was deposited in a hermetically sealed chamber, maintained at 30 degrees C and a pressure of about .05 atmospheres. The composition of the sample determined by the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer put it in the class of weakly differentiated melanocratic alkaline gabbroids. The lander survived for 127 minutes (the planned design life was 32 minutes) in an environment with a temperature of 457 degrees C (855 degrees F) and a pressure of 84 Earth atmospheres. The descent vehicle transmitted data to the bus, which acted as a data relay as it flew by Venus.

Venera 13 orbiter bus
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

1985 12:00:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 61-A (Challenger 9, Shuttle 22) carrying the Navy GLOMR communications satellite and Spacelab D-1 (the first German-dedicated Spacelab) into orbit.

The STS 61-A launch on 30 October 1985 proceeded as scheduled with no delays.

The dedicated German Spacelab (D-1) mission was conducted in the long module configuration, which featured the Vestibular Sled designed to give scientists data on the functional organization of the human vestibular and orientation systems. Spacelab D-1 encompassed 75 numbered experiments, most of which were performed more than once. The mission included basic and applied microgravity research in fields of materials science, life sciences and technology, and communications and navigation.

Though the orbiter was controlled from the Johnson Space Center, scientific operations were controlled from the German Space Operations Center at Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich.

STS 61-A also deployed the Global Low Orbiting Message Relay (GLOMR) satellite from a Get Away Special canister.

STS 61-A ended 6 November 1985 when Challenger landed on revolution 112 on Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,304 feet. Rollout time: 45 seconds. Launch weight: 243,762 pounds. Landing weight: 214,171 pounds. Orbit altitude: 207 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, zero hours, 44 minutes, 53 seconds. Challenger was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 11 November 1985.

The flight crew for STS 61-A was: Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., Commander; Steven R. Nagel, Pilot; James F. Buchli, Mission Specialist 1; Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Mission Specialist 2; Bonnie J. Dunbar, Mission Specialist 3; Reinhard Furrer, Payload Specialist 1; Ernst Messerschmid, Payload Specialist 2; Wubbo J. Ockels (ESA), Payload Specialist 3.

K. Suzuki and T. Urata discovered asteroid #3533 Toyota.

The US Navy PANSAT student satellite was deployed from STS 95 (Discovery 25) into a 550 km x 561 x 28.5 degree orbit.

STS 95 was launched 29 October 1998 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The flight of STS 95 provoked more publicity for NASA than any other flight in years, due to the presence of ex-astronaut Senator John Glenn on the crew which also included the first Spanish astronaut, Pedro Duque.

During STS 95, the crew of Discovery spent nine days in orbit successfully completing a large variety of experiments, including investigations in the astronomical, human physiology and physical science fields. A SPACEHAB module in the shuttle's payload bay provided a complete pressurized laboratory and work space for the crew's science activities.

One highlight of the mission was the free-flight of SPARTAN 201, an experiment package that was carried to orbit in Discovery's cargo bay. Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson used the shuttle's robotic arm to lift the payload from its berth and gently release it to fly on its own on 1 November 1998. The spacecraft spent two days gathering data before being retrieved and stored on the shuttle on on 3 November 1998. Researchers used the SPARTAN data to better understand the solar wind, a phenomenon that sometimes can cause widespread disruptions of communications and power supplies on Earth.

A payload carried in Discovery's cargo bay verified the flight readiness of hardware destined for the Hubble Space Telescope maintenance mission to be carried out a year later.

STS 95 carried former US Senator John Glenn to space. In 1962, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. At the age of 77, he added another milestone to NASA's history by becoming the oldest human to fly in space, a record which stood until it was surpassed by Wally Funk (age 82) on 20 July 2021.

Glenn's first flight - aboard the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7 - lasted less than five hours. Thirty-five years later, his second flight lasted almost nine days. During STS 95, Glenn conducted a series of investigations into the physiology of the human aging process: Scientists recognize several parallels between the effects of space flight on the human body and the natural changes that take place as a person ages. Glenn's experiments were designed to test how his body responded to the microgravity environment.

Cargo Bay payloads flown on STS 95 were: SPACEHAB, SPARTAN 201-5, HST Orbital Systems Test Platform (HOST), International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH-3), Cryogenic Thermal Storage Unit (CRYOTSU), Space Experiment Module-4 (SEM-4), four Getaway Special (GAS) cannisters: G-467 (Capillary Pumped Loop), G-779 (Hearts in Space), and two experiments, G-238 and G-764, that were part of the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker (IEH)-03 payload. The In-Cabin payloads were: Biological Research In Canisters (BRIC) and Electronic Nose (E-NOSE).

STS 98 ended on 7 November 1998 when Discovery landed on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, completing its 8 day 21 hour 44 minute, 3.6 million mile mission flown with an orbit altitude of 300 nautical miles and an orbit inclination of 28.5 degrees. For Payload Specialist Glenn, the landing was a gentler return home than he experienced more than 36 years earlir when he splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean in his Friendship 7 capsule after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth: Glenn experienced only about 3 g's of acceleration during the shuttle reentry, half of what he experienced during his Mercury capsule mission in 1962.

The flight crew for STS 95 was: Curtis L. Brown, Commander; Steven W. Lindsey, Pilot; Stephen K. Robinson, Mission Specialist 1; Scott E. Parazynski, Mission Specialist 2; Pedro Duque (ESA, Spain), Mission Specialist 3; Chiaki Mukai (NASDA), Payload Specialist 1; John H. Glenn, Payload Specialist 2.

2002 03:11:00 GMT
Russia launched Soyuz TMA-1 (Soyuz-TM 35) from Baikonur to the International Space Station (ISS), carrying the EP-4 visiting crew of three astronauts for their ten day stay.

Soyuz-TMA 1 (a.k.a. Soyuz-TM 35) was a Russian automatic passenger craft launched 30 October 2002. Its launch was delayed from 22 October and 28 October, pending investigation of the cause of failure of another Soyuz booster on 15 October. It carried the EP-4 visiting crew of three astronauts (Russians Yuri Lonchakov and Sergey Zalyotin, and Belgian Frank De Winne) to automatically dock with the International Space Station (ISS). This was the first flight of the new Soyuz-TMA model. It remained parked at the ISS as the escape craft, relieving Soyuz TM-34. The crew, whose birthdays are coincidentally all in April and between 1961 and 1965, conducted several microgravity experiments on the ISS during their 10 day stay. On 9 November 2002, the Soyuz TMA-1/EP-4 crew boarded Soyuz TM-34 and undocked from the Zarya nadir port at 20:44 GMT, leaving Soyuz TMA-1 for the resident crew. Soyuz TM-34 landed in Kazakstan just after midnight, on 10 November.

2003 13:43:00 GMT
Russia launched Japan's SERVIS-1 (Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System) test satellite from Plesetsk to test commercial components in space with an aim toward reducing future satellite costs.

SERVIS 1 (Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System) was a Japanese test satellite launched by a Rokot rocket from Plesetsk on 30 October 2003. The 900 kg, 1.4 x 1.4 x 2.3 m, 1.2 kW satellite carried mostly commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) household items like PCs and cell phones (including a computer, star tracker, battery, and laser gyro) to ascertain the viability of such inexpensive components in satellites. It also carried parts evaluation monitors to measure the degradation of the studied components due to gamma rays and energetic particles.

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