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Space History for November 13

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During the Leonid meteor storm, an estimated 100,000 meteors per hour were seen.

Born, John William Strutt (Lord Rayleigh), Langford Grove, Essex, England, physicist

John William Strutt (Lord Rayleigh), (12 November 1842 - 30 June 1919) was an English physicist. He discovered scattering of light makes the sky blue, and published numerous papers on the wave nature of sound. One of the important pieces of experimental work he carried during his time as Cavendish professor was a standardisation of the ohm (the unit measure of electrical resistance). His work that led to the discovery of the inert gas argon brought him a Nobel prize in 1908.

Alberto Santos-Dumont of Brazil proved an airship is maneuverable by circling the Eiffel Tower in Paris three times.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #622 Esther.

French cyclist Paul Cornu flew the first helicopter, a twin rotor design.

Born, Georgi Nikolayevich Babakin, Russian Chief Designer of Lavochkin design bureau (1965-1971), supervised development of unmanned spacecraft that returned Lunar soil, placed the Lunokhod rover on the Lunar surface, and landed probes on Mars and Venus

Born, John A Manke (at Selby, South Dakota, USA), NASA test pilot (HL-10 "lifting body" research aircraft) (inactive)

In papers read before the British Interplanetary Society, H. E. Ross described a manned satellite station in Earth orbit and a manned Lunar landing mission.

In a paper presented to the British Interplanetary Society, H. E. Ross described a manned satellite station in Earth orbit that would serve as an astronomical and zero-gravity and vacuum research laboratory. Ross' proposed design was a circular structure that housed the crew of the space laboratory (24 specialists and support personnel) and telescopes and research equipment. The station, he suggested, could be resupplied with oxygen and other life-support essentials by supply ships launched every three months.

A paper Ross read described a manned Lunar landing mission which would require a combination of the Earth orbit and Lunar orbit rendezvous techniques. Three spacecraft would be launched simultaneously into Earth orbit, each carrying a pilot. After rendezvous, the crew would transfer to ship A, which would refuel from ships B and C. Ship C would be discarded completely, but ship B would be fueled with the surplus not needed by A. Spacecraft A would then be fired into a translunar trajectory. Upon reaching the Moon, the spacecraft would go into Lunar orbit, detach fuel tanks, and descend to the Lunar surface. For its return to Earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with the fuel tanks, refuel, and fire into a transearth trajectory. Approaching Earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with ship B, the crew would transfer to ship B, then descend to Earth. The ability to rendezvous in space was seen to be the essential element of such a project. The total payload weight at launch would be 1,326 tons equally divided among the three ships, as compared to 2.6 times this weight required for a direct ascent and return from the Moon.

1966 10:34:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
During EVA Gemini 12-2, astronaut Buzz Aldrin photographed star fields, retrieved a micrometeorite collector and did other chores, at last demonstrating the feasibility of extravehicular activity.

Gemini 12 was the tenth and final flight of the Gemini series, which bridged the Mercury and Apollo programs. This mission, carrying astronauts Jim Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, was scheduled to perform rendezvous and docking with the Agena target vehicle, to conduct three ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) operations, to conduct a tethered stationkeeping exercise, to perform docked maneuvers using the Agena propulsion system to change orbit, and to demonstrate an automatic reentry. There were also 14 scientific, medical, and technological experiments on board.

Gemini 12 was launched from Complex 19 on 11 November 1966 at 3:46:33 PM EST (20:46:33.419 UT) and inserted into a 160.8 x 270.6 km Earth orbit at 3:52:40 PM EST. At 7:32 PM EST, rendezvous was achieved with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV), which had been launched an hour and a half before Gemini 12. Docking with the GATV was accomplished 28 minutes later, at 4:14 Ground Elapsed Time (GET) on the third orbit, relying heavily on visual sightings due to problems with the onboard radar. During insertion of the GATV into orbit, an anomaly was noted in the primary propulsion system, so the plan to use the GATV to lift the docked spacecraft into a higher orbit was abandoned. Instead, two phasing maneuvers using the GATV secondary propulsion system were accomplished to allow the spacecraft to rendezvous with the 12 November total eclipse visible over South America at about 9:20 AM EST, with the crew taking pictures through the spacecraft windows.

The first standup EVA took place with the hatch opening at 11:15 AM EST (19:29 GET) on 12 November and Aldrin standing on his seat with his upper body out of the hatch. The EVA lasted 2 hours 29 minutes during which Aldrin mounted a camera to the side of the spacecraft and collected a micrometeorite experiment, with the hatch closing at 1:44 PM.

At 7:16 AM on 13 November, the crew reported little or no thrust was available from two of the maneuvering thrusters.

At 10:34 AM on 13 November (42:48 GET), the hatch was opened for the second EVA. Aldrin was outside the spacecraft at 10:38, attached to a 9 meter umbilical cord. He first worked in the hatch and nose area, and then moved along a handrail he had installed to the adapter section where he used foot restraints and tethers to position himself in front of a work panel mounted on the rear of the adaptor where he performed 17 relatively simple manual tasks. He then moved to the target vehicle adapter area and carried out another series of tasks, including use of a torque wrench while tethered. He attached a 30 meter long tether stowed in the GATV adapter to the Gemini adapter bar. About a dozen two-minute rest periods were scheduled during the EVA to prevent Aldrin from becoming overtaxed as happened to previous spacewalkers. Aldrin reentered the capsule at 12:33 PM and closed the hatch at 12:40 PM. All tasks were accomplished, and total EVA time was 2 hours 6 minutes.

At 3:09 PM Gemini 12 undocked from the GATV, moved to the end of the tether connecting the two vehicles, and began the tether experiment by moving in a circular orbit about the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, but the crew believed the two craft slowly attained gravity-gradient stabilization. The tether was released at 7:37 PM. On 14 November the hatch was opened at 9:52 AM (66:06 GET) and Aldrin began the second standup EVA which included photography, additional experiments and jettison of unused equipment. The EVA ended after 55 minutes when the hatch was closed at 10:47 AM. Minor fuel cell and thruster problems were reported, but did not affect the remainder of the mission.

The automatically controlled reentry sequence began with retrofire at the end of revolution 59 on 15 November at 1:46:31 PM EST, 94 hours after liftoff. Splashdown occurred at 2:21:04 PM EST in the western Atlantic at 24.58 N, 69.95 W, 4.8 km from target point. The crew was picked up by helicopter and brought aboard the USS Wasp at 2:49 PM, and the spacecraft was picked up at 3:28 PM. Total mission elapsed time was 94:34:31. All primary mission goals were successfully accomplished except performance of maneuvers using the Agena propulsion system due to fluctuations in the system noticed by ground controllers. There were minor fuel cell and attitude control thruster problems during the mission. The successfully performed scientific experiments were (1) frog egg growth under zero-g, (2) synoptic terrain photography, (3) synoptic weather photography, (4) nuclear emulsions, (5) airglow horizon photography, (6) UV astronomical photography, and (7) dim sky photography. Two micrometeorite collection experiments, as well as three space phenomena photography experiments, were not fully completed.

Gemini 12 astronaut Buzz Aldrin performing EVA tasks outside the capsule, NASA photo

Born, Sergei Nikolayevich Ryazansky (at Moscow, Russian SFSR), physician, cosmonaut (ISS 37/38, over 166 days in space)

NASA launched HEAO 2 (High Energy Astronomical Observatory), which was renamed Einstein after launch.

NASA's HEAO 2 (High Energy Astronomical Observatory, renamed Einstein after its launch on 13 November 1978) was the world's first orbiting imaging X-ray telescope and returned detailed quasar images and discovered that Jupiter and Earth emit X-rays. The satellite also made over 5,000 targeted observations and discovered several thousand "serendipitous" sources that fell within the field of view of its imaging instruments. The spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 25 March 1982.

Communications with the Viking 1 Lander on Mars ended, the last operating Viking craft.

Following its launch on 20 August 1975 and a 10 month cruise to Mars, the Viking 1 Orbiter began returning global images of Mars about 5 days before orbit insertion. It was inserted into Mars orbit on 19 June 1976 and trimmed to a 1513 x 33,000 km, 24.66 hr site certification orbit on 21 June. Imaging of candidate sites was begun and the landing site was selected based on these pictures. The lander separated from the orbiter on 20 July 08:51 UT and landed at Chryse Planitia at 11:56:06 UT. (The landing had been planned for the US Bicentennial on July 4, but was delayed until a suitable landing site was located.) The lander collected the first-ever samples taken from the surface Mars with its robot arm on 28 July. The orbiter primary mission ended at the beginning of solar conjunction on 5 November 1976. The extended mission commenced on 14 December 1976 after solar conjunction. Operations included close approaches to Phobos in February 1977. The periapsis was reduced to 300 km on 11 March 1977. Minor orbit adjustments were done occasionally over the course of the mission, primarily to change the walk rate - the rate at which the planetocentric longitude changed with each orbit, and the periapsis was raised to 357 km on 20 July 1979. On 7 August 1980, the Viking 1 Orbiter was running low on attitude control gas and its orbit was raised from 357 x 33943 km to 320 x 56000 km to prevent impact with Mars and possible contamination until the year 2019. Orbital operations were terminated on 17 August 1980 after 1485 orbits, and communications with the lander were terminated on 13 November 1982.

David Levy, prolific amatuer comet hunter, found his first comet.

1986 00:23:00 GMT
A Scout G launched from Vandenberg, California, carried the Polar Bear (Polar BEacon And Research) satellite into orbit to study the Earth's magnetosphere.

1986 06:14:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 1791 Tsikada military navigation satellite from Plesetsk, which replaced Cosmos 1553, and was positioned in plane 11 of the constellation.

1996 22:40:00 GMT
An Ariane 44L launched from Kourou carried the Arab States' Arabsat 2B and Malaysia's Measat 2 communications satellites into space, which were initially positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 21.9 deg E and 148 deg E, respectively.

Died (natural causes), John Paul Stapp, Colonel USAF, physician, test pilot (USAF), survived 46.2 G deceleration on a rocket sled test

1999 21:55:00 GMT
An Ariane 44LP launched from Kourou carried the GE 4 satellite into space, which provided C and Ku-band communications services for GE Americom, replacing Spacenet 4, and was positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 74 deg W.

ESA's SMART-1 probe entered its initial Lunar orbit.

ESA's SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology 1), launched 27 September 2003, was a Lunar orbiter designed to test spacecraft technologies for future missions. It entered an initial Lunar orbit on 13 November 2004. The primary technology tested was a solar-powered ion drive. It also carried an experimental deep-space telecommunications system and an instrument payload to monitor the ion drive and study the Moon. The primary scientific objectives of the mission were to return data on the geology, morphology, topography, mineralogy, geochemistry, and exospheric environment of the Moon, in order to answer questions about planetary formation accretional processes, origin of the Earth-Moon system, the Lunar near/far side dichotomy, long-term volcanic and tectonic activity, thermal and dynamical processes involved in Lunar evolution, and water ice and external processes on the surface.

The primary objective of SMART-1 was to test the solar-powered ion thruster (Solar Electric Primary Propulsion, SEPP). It also tested miniaturized scientific instruments for use on future ESA missions. A secondary objective was to learn more information about the Moon, such as how it was created. SMART-1 was to map the Lunar surface using X-ray and infrared imaging, taking images from several different angles so the Moon's surface could be mapped in three dimensions. It was also to determine the Moon's chemical composition using X-ray spectroscopy. A specific goal was to use infrared light to search for frozen water at the Moon's south pole, where some areas of the surface are never exposed to direct sunlight, and to map the Moon's Peak of Eternal Light (PEL), an eerie mountaintop permanently bathed in sunlight and surrounded by craters shaded in eternal darkness.

SMART-1 was a box-shaped spacecraft roughly a meter on a side, with two large solar panel wings spanning 14 meters extending from opposite sides. The launch mass, including fuel, was 366.5 kg (815 pounds), the mass at the time it reached the Moon was expected to be about 305 kg. Its solar-electric propulsion system (a Stationary Plasma Hall-effect thruster, PPS-1350) used xenon gas as a propellant, ionizing the xenon and accelerating and discharging the plasma from the spacecraft at high speed. Electrons were also released into the flow to maintain a neutral charge on the spacecraft. A thrust of 70 milliNewtons and a specific impulse of 16.1 kN-s/kg (1640 seconds), more than three times the maximum for chemical rockets, was produced. 82 kg of supercritical xenon propellant (60 liters, about 16 gallons) was carried aboard SMART-1 in a tank mounted in the center of the structure above the thruster. The spacecraft was three-axis stabilized using four skewed reaction wheels and eight 1-N hydrazine thrusters mounted on the corners of the spacecraft bus. Attitude knowledge was provided by a star tracker, Sun sensor, and angular rate sensors.

1190 W was available for powering the thruster, giving a nominal thrust of 68 mN, and an acceleration of 0.2 mm/s/s (0.7 m/s per hour, 2/10,000 G). Consequently, orbital maneuvers are not carried out in short bursts, as with chemical rockets, but very gradually, with engine on-time typically once every orbit for about one third to one half of the orbit (when spiralling out, at the perigee side). Over an operating lifetime of 5,000 hours, a delta-v of 4 km/s results, corresponding to a total impulse of 1.5 MN-s.

1850 W of power was produced from an array of gallium-indium-phosphide gallium arsenide germanium (GaInP/GaAs/Ge) solar cells covering an active surface on the wings of about 10 square meters. Solar array power was regulated to 50 V in the power control and distribution unit, distributed via solid-state power controllers, and stored in five 130 W/hr lithium ion battery cells. Roughly 75% of the power was used to run the propulsion system during flight. Thermal control was achieved through the use of radiators, heat pipes, multilayer insulation blankets, thermistor controlled heaters, and high emissivity optical properties. Communication took place via a medium gain and two low gain S-band antennas, as well as the antenna for the experimental Ka/X system. The medium gain antenna provided a telemetry rate of 65 kb/s. The two low gain antennas provided omin-directional ground coverage at 2 kb/s. The medium gain, Ka/X band, and one low gain antenna were mounted on one side panel of the spacecraft bus, and the other low gain antenna was mounted on the opposite panel.

The spacecraft carried a suite of science and technology instruments with a total mass of 19 kg. The science instruments included a pan-chromatic camera (AMIE) for Lunar imaging, Langmuir probes mounted on booms (SPEDE) to measure the plasma environment, and radio science experiments (RSIS). Science instruments being tested as part of the technology verification were a miniaturized visible/near-infrared spectrometer (SIR) for Lunar crustal studies, a miniature X-ray spectrometer for astronomy and Lunar chemistry (D-CIXS), and an X-ray spectrometer to calibrate D-CIXS and to study the Sun (XSM). The Electric Propulsion Diagnostic package (EPDP) was a multi-sensor suite designed specifically to monitor the ion propulsion system; it also worked in concert with the SPEDE to study the space plasma environment. The RSIS was also used to monitor the ion propulsion system. An experimental telecommunication and tracking system, the Ka/X-band TTC (Telemetry and Telecommand) Experiment (KaTE) was included in the payload for technology assessment. The AMIE camera was also to be used to support a test of an image-based On-Board Autonomous Navigation (OBAN) system. OBAN was designed to minimize the amount of ground intervention required for the mission.

The SMART-1 spacecraft was launched on 27 September 2003 from Kourou, French Guiana, as an auxiliary passenger on an Ariane 5 Cyclade, which launched two other large satellites (India's Insat 3E and Eutelsat E-bird) as its primary payload. SMART-1 was put into a geostationary transfer orbit, 742 x 36,016 km, inclined 7 degrees with respect to the equator. The spacecraft used its ion drive over a period of 14 months to elongate its Earth orbit, utilizing three Lunar resonance maneuvers in August, September, and October 2004 to minimize propellant use. Its final continuous thrust maneuver took place over 100 hours from 10 to 14 October 2004. Lunar orbit capture occurred on 13 November 2004 at a distance of 60,000 km from the Lunar surface. The ion engine began firing in orbit at 05:24 UT (12:24 AM EST) on 15 November to start a 4.5 day period of thrust to lower the orbit. The first perilune took place on 15 November at 17:48 UTC (12:48 PM EST) at an altitude of about 5000 km above the Lunar surface. The engine was then used to lower the initial 4962 x 51477 km altitude, 5 day, 9 hour period, 81 degree inclination orbit, putting SMART-1 into a 300 x 3000 km polar orbit. Lunar commissioning began in mid-January 2005, and Lunar science operations in February 2005. The mission was extended from its originally planned six month lifetime by a year. As a result, SMART-1 was able to conduct mapping of the Moon's surface and evaluating the new technologies onboard from Lunar orbit until it impacted the Moon's surface on 3 September 2006.

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