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Space History for November 6


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1572
Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe spotted a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia, a supernova eruption, used to refute the centuries-old view of Aristotle that the heavens were static.

Tycho Brahe (14 December 1546 - 24 October 1601) was a Danish nobleman, well known as an astronomer/astrologer (the two were not yet distinct) and alchemist. He had Uraniborg built, which became an early "research institute." For purposes of publication, Tycho owned a printing press and paper mill.

Tycho realized that progress in the science of astronomy could be achieved not by occasional haphazard observations, but only by systematic and rigorous observation, night after night, and by using instruments of the highest accuracy obtainable. He is quoted as having asserted in 1563, at age 17, "I've studied all available charts of the planets and stars and none of them match the others. There are just as many measurements and methods as there are astronomers and all of them disagree. What's needed is a long term project with the aim of mapping the heavens conducted from a single location over a period of several years." He was able to improve and enlarge the existing instruments, and construct entirely new ones. Brahe's naked eye measurements of planetary parallax were accurate to the arcminute. (These measurements became the possessions of Johannes Kepler following Brahe's death.)

On 6 November 1572, Tycho had observed a very bright star which had unexpectedly appeared in the constellation Cassiopeia. Since it had been maintained since antiquity that the world of the fixed stars was eternal and unchangeable, other observers held that the phenomenon was something in the Earth's atmosphere. Tycho, however, observed that the parallax of the object did not change from night to night, suggesting that the object was far away. Tycho argued that a nearby object should appear to shift its position with respect to the background. He published a small book, De Stella Nova (1573), thereby coining the term nova for a "new" star. (We now know that Tycho's star was a supernova.)

King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway, impressed with Tycho's 1572 observations, financed the construction of two observatories for Tycho on the island of Hven in the Sont near Copenhagen, Uraniborg and Stjerneborg. Uraniborg also had a laboratory for Brahe's alchemical experiments. After a disagreement with Christian IV, the new king of Denmark, Brahe moved to Prague in 1599. Sponsored by Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor, he built a new observatory (in a castle in Benatky nad Jizerou 50 km away from Prague) and worked there until his death.


http://galileo.rice.edu/sci/brahe.html

1771
Born, Alois Senefelder, inventor (lithography)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alois_Senefelder

1771
Died, John Bevis, English physician and astronomer (discovered the Crab Nebula, 1731, compiled the Uranographia Britannica star catalog/atlas, 1750)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bevis

1877
J. Palisa discovered asteroid #178 Belisana.

1904
M. Wolf discovered asteroids #550 Senta and #551 Ortrud.

1923
V. Albitzk discovered asteroid #1028 Lydina.

1931
G. Neujmin discovered asteroids #1236 Thais and #1347 Patria.

1942
L. Oterma discovered asteroid #2268 Szmytowna.

1964
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2516 Roman.

1966 23:21:00 GMT
NASA launched the Lunar Orbiter 2 mapping probe.

The Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft, launched 6 November 1966, was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the Lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial Lunar orbit for data acquisition after 92.5 hours flight time, on 10 November 1966. The initial orbit was 196 km x 1850 km at an inclination of 11.8 degrees. The perilune was lowered to 49.7 km five days later after 33 orbits. A failure of the amplifier on the final day of readout, 7 December, resulted in the loss of six photographs. On 8 December 1966 the inclination was altered to 17.5 degrees to provide new data on Lunar gravity.

The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 18-25 November 1966, and readout occurred through 7 December 1966. A total of 609 high resolution and 208 medium resolution frames were returned, most of excellent quality with resolutions down to 1 meter. These included a spectacular oblique picture of Copernicus crater which was dubbed by the news media as one of the great pictures of the century. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Three micrometeorite impacts were recorded. The spacecraft was used for tracking purposes until it impacted the Lunar surface on command at 3.0 degrees N latitude, 119.1 degrees E longitude (selenographic coordinates) on 11 October 1967.



Lunar Orbiter 2, NASA photo
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1966-100A

1974
The USSR Luna 23 was damaged while landing on the Moon, preventing it from returning Lunar samples to Earth.

Luna 23 was a Moon lander mission which was intended to return a Lunar sample to Earth. Launched to the Moon by a Proton SL-12/D-1-e booster on 28 October 1974, the spacecraft was damaged during landing in Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises) on 6 November 1974 at ~12 deg N ~62 deg E. The sample collecting apparatus could not operate and no samples were returned. The lander continued transmissions for 3 days after landing. In 1976, Luna 24 landed several hundred meters away and successfully returned samples.


https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1974-084A

1980
Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2632 Guizhou.

1985 09:44:53 PST (GMT -8:00:00)
NASA's STS 61-A (Challenger 9, Shuttle 22) landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California after 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.


https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-61A.html

2000
Died, L[yon] Sprague de Camp, US science fiction author (Goblin Tower, Hand of Zei)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Sprague_de_Camp


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