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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 November 9

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Born, Benjamin Banneker, American clockmaker, astronomer, publisher

Benjamin Banneker (9 November 1731 - 9 October 1806) was an American Negro clockmaker, astronomer, and publisher and was instrumental in surveying the District of Columbia. He built the first striking clock constructed in America at the age of 21. His study of astronomy, beginning at age 58, enabled him to make the calculations to predict solar and lunar eclipses and to compile an ephemeris for his Benjamin Banneker's Almanac, which he published from 1792 through 1797.

This date is the origin of Carrington rotation numbers, a count of the rotation of the Sun.

A Carrington Rotation is the time of one full rotation of the Sun as seen from the Earth. The mean period for a single rotation is 27.2753 days. Carrington Rotation numbers are arbitrarily referenced to the time the term came into use, on November 9, 1853.

Born, Hermann Weyl, German mathematician and physicist

Hermann Weyl (9 November 1885 - 8 December 1955) was a German mathematician and physicist, one of the first people to combine general relativity with the laws of electromagnetism. From 1913 to 1930 he held the chair of mathematics at the Technische Hochschule of Zurich.

Weyl published works on space, time, matter, philosophy, logic, and the history of mathematics. Weyl researched mainly topological space and geometry (of the Bernhard Riemann derivation); he also researched quantum mechanics and number theory. His research is the framework for nonconservation of parity, a characteristic of weak interactions between subatomic lepton particles.

Born, Hugo Broetler, welding engineer in the German Rocket Team in the USSR after World War II, worked on rocket engine development in Glushko's design bureau in the Oxygen Plant, Shop 55 (1947-1952)

The Wright brothers made their first airplane flight that lasted more than 5 minutes.

Born, Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph, German guided missile engineer and expert during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, worked on the Pershing missle and Saturn V

W Baade discovered asteroids #966 Muschi, #967 Helionape and #1103 Sequoia.

Born, Carl Sagan, American astronomer

Carl Edward Sagan (9 November 1934 - 20 December 1996) was an American astronomer and science popularizer. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He is also famous for his popular science books and the television series Cosmos, which he co-wrote and presented. In his works he frequently advocated the scientific method.

L Boyer discovered asteroid #1851 Lacroute.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #3265.

1961 17:57:00 GMT
NASA/USAF launched X-15A Mach 6, Aero, Stab Test mission # 45. The outer right windshield shattered, the design speed was achieved, and USAF Major Robert M White attained a world record maximum speed of 6587 kph (Mach 6.04) and an altitude of 30.968 km.

1962 18:23:00 GMT
NASA/USAF launched X-15A VO Stab, Bound.Layer Test mission # 74 with maximums of 1640 kph (Mach 1.49), 16.450 km altitude. The engine only gave 35% power, gear failure seriously damaged the the X-15 in a Mud Lake emergency landing, John McKay was injured.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #1888 Zu Chong-Zhi #1972 Yi Xing, #2027 Shen Guo, #2169 Taiwan amd #2963.

1965 17:16:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 occurred: All of New York State, portions of seven neighboring states, and parts of eastern Canada were hit by a series of power failures which lasted up to 13.5 hours.

1967 12:00:01 GMT
NASA launched the unmanned Apollo 4 mission from Cape Kennedy, Florida, the first Saturn V flight, to test the Apollo reentry module.

The unmanned Saturn/Apollo 4 (AS-501) flight was launched 9 November 1967 in the first all-up test of the three stage Saturn V launch vehicle, and of the CM heatshield. The Saturn V, used for the first time, carried a Lunar Module test article (LTA-10R) and a Block I Command and Service Module (CSM 017) into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, Pad A, lifting off at 7:00:01 AM EST - one second later than planned.

This was the first flight of the Saturn V, the largest launch vehicle ever constructed. It was also the first launch from Launch Complex 39, which was specifically built for the Saturn V. As well as being the first launch of the S-IC first stage and S-II second stage, it was also the first time that the S-IVB third stage was restarted in Earth orbit, and the first time that the Apollo spacecraft reentered the Earth's atmosphere at speeds approaching those of a Lunar return trajectory. Because of all these firsts, there were 4,098 measuring instruments on board the rocket and spacecraft.

It was also the first test of the "all-up" doctrine: It had been decided in 1963 that instead of testing each component of the rocket separately as had been done by Wernher von Braun in Germany during World War II, the rocket would be tested all at once. This cut down on cost, but meant that everything had to work properly the first time.

The mission was designed to test all aspects of the Saturn V launch vehicle, to demonstrate the structural and thermal integrity of the space vehicle, to verify adequacy of the Block II heatshield design for entry at Lunar return conditions, and also returned pictures of Earth taken by the automatic Command Module apogee camera from about one hour before to one hour after apogee. Mission objectives included testing of structural integrity, compatibility of launch vehicle and spacecraft, heat shield and thermal seal integrity, overall reentry operations, launch loads and dynamic characteristics, stage separation, launch vehicle subsystems, the emergency detection system, and mission support facilities and operations. These objectives were accomplished.

The S-IC stage cutoff occurred 2 minutes 30 seconds into the flight at an altitude of about 63 kilometers. The S-II stage ignition occurred at 2 minutes 32 seconds, and the burn lasted 6 minutes 7 seconds, followed by the S-IVB stage ignition and burn of 2 minutes 25 seconds. Orbital insertion of the S-IVB and spacecraft combination was achieved by ignition of the third (S-IVB) stage, putting the spacecraft (S-IVB and CSM) into a 184 x 192 km parking orbit with a period of 88.2 minutes and an inclination of 32.6 degrees. After two orbits, which required about three hours, the S-IVB stage was reignited to place the spacecraft in a simulated Lunar trajectory, with a burn that lasted five minutes putting the spacecraft into an Earth-intersecting trajectory with an apogee of 17,346 km. About ten minutes after completion of the S-IVB burn, the spacecraft and S-IVB stage were separated, and less than 2 minutes later the service propulsion subsystem (SPS) ignited for 16 seconds, raising the apogee to 18,216 km. The spacecraft was placed in an attitude with the thickest side of the CM heatshield away from the solar vector. During the following 4.5 hour cold-soak period, the spacecraft coasted to its highest apogee - 18,256.3 kilometers. A 70 mm still camera photographed the Earth's surface every 10.6 seconds, taking 715 good-quality, high-resolution pictures.

About 8 hours 11 minutes after liftoff the service propulsion system was again ignited for 271 seconds to increase the spacecraft inertial velocity to beyond Lunar return trajectory velocities, to simulate entry from a translunar mission. SPS cutoff was followed by separation of the Command Module (CM) from the Service Module and orientation of the CM for reentry. Atmospheric entry at 122 km altitude occurred at a flight path angle of 7.077 degrees with a velocity of 11.140 km/second. The CM landed in the primary recovery area in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii at 20:37 UT 9 November 1967, 8 hours 37 minutes after liftoff, about 16 km from the target landing point, at 30.06 N 172.32 W. Although it landed 16 km from the target, its descent was visible from the deck of the carrier USS Bennington, the prime recovery vessel. The Command Module, apex heatshield, and one main parachute were recovered.

Recovery time of 2 hours 28 minutes was longer than anticipated, with the cause listed as sea conditions - 2.4-meter (8 foot) swells.

The Apollo 4 Command Module is on display at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

The colorful photo shown here of the Apollo 4 Instrument Unit can be found at

Apollo 4 Instrument Unit

Apollo 4 launch, NASA photo

1970 06:00:00 GMT
NASA launched a Scout B from Wallops Island, Virginia, carrying the OFO 1 (Orbiting Frog Otolith) and RM-1 (Radiation Meteoroid) satellites into orbit.

OFO 1 (Orbiting Frog Otolith) was launched 9 November 1970. The satellite carrying the OFO-A experiment remained in orbit for almost seven months, reentering the atmosphere on 9 May 1971. Recovery of the spacecraft was not planned. The objective of the experiment was to investigate the effect of microgravity on the otolith, a sensory organ that responds to changes in an animal's orientation within the Earth's gravitational field.

The payload was the Frog Otolith Experiment Package (FOEP), instrumented to obtain the first direct recordings of otolith response during prolonged periods of weightlessness. In-dwelling microelectrodes were implanted in the vestibular nerves of two bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) to measure the bioelectric action potential in the animals during weightlessness and during repeated simulated gravity stimulus obtained by activation of a small centrifuge. The primary data obtained include (1) the instantaneous rate of firing from single vestibular units (data were recorded from two microelectrodes implanted in each of the frogs), (2) centrifugal acceleration profiles measured at the head of each frog, (3) EKG as a vital index of animal welfare, and (4) water environment temperature, because of the relation of temperature to vestibular activity. The instrumentation for the experiment was contained in a biopackage configured to assure survival and normal function of the two frogs for the duration of the experiment. Data were telemetered to ground stations.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2075 Martinez; P Wild discovered asteroid #2950.

N G Thomas discovered asteroid #2089 Cetacea.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #2600 Lumme and #3015 Candy.

1997 01:34:26 GMT
A Delta 7000 launched from Vandenberg, California, carried 5 Iridium commercial communication satellites into orbit (Iridium 38-41, 43), which were placed in Plane 6 Ascending nodes at 325.7 +/-0.1 degrees.

A total Lunar eclipse was seen in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Central Asia, the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2003.

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