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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 16

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J R Hind discovered asteroid #22 Kalliope.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #301 Bavaria.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #736 Harvard.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #845 Naema.

G H Peters discovered asteroid #886 Washingtonia.

M Wolf discovered asteroid #1053 Vigdis.

L Oterma discovered asteroid #1540 Kevola.

The United States controversially imported 88 German scientists under "Operation Paperclip" to help in the production of rocket technology.

Born, Carl Joseph Meade (at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, USA), Colonel USAF, NASA astronaut (STS 38, STS 50, STS 64)

Astronaut Carl Meade, NASA photo

1962 17:45:00 GMT
NASA launched Saturn-Apollo 3, the third suborbital test of the Saturn I rocket.

Saturn-Apollo 3 (Saturn C-1, later called Saturn I) was launched 16 November 1962 from the Atlantic Missile Range. The upper stages of the launch vehicle were filled with 23,000 gallons of water to simulate the weight of live stages. At its peak altitude of 167 kilometers (104 miles), four minutes 53 seconds after launch, the rocket was detonated by explosives upon command from the ground. The water was released into the ionosphere, forming a massive cloud of ice particles several miles in diameter. By this experiment, known as "Project High Water II," scientists had hoped to obtain data on atmospheric physics, but poor telemetry made the results questionable. The flight verification tests, however, were all met. The flight was the third straight success for the Saturn C-1, and the first with maximum fuel on board.

1965 04:19:00 GMT
USSR launched Venera 3 toward Venus, the first spacecraft to land there.

Venera 3 was launched on 16 November 1965 from a Tyazheliy Sputnik (65-092B) toward Venus. Its mission was to land on the surface. The entry body contained a radio communication system, scientific instruments, and medallions bearing the coat of arms of the USSR. The vehicle impacted Venus on 1 March 1966, making Venera 3 the first spacecraft to impact on the surface of another planet. However, the communications systems had failed, so no planetary data could be returned.

USSR Venera 3, photo courtesy of NASA

Died, Count Helmut Zborowski PhD, Austrian rocket engineer

Helmut Zborowski (21 August 1905 - 16 November 1969) was an Austrian rocket engineer, designed liquid rocket motors and an expert in anti-tank missiles. Zborowski received over 300 patents in the air and rocket industry. After the Nazis took over, Zborowski joined the SS but continued his research. He contributed to development of the V-1 cruise missile and V-2 ballistic missile. Zborowski was Director of the camoflauged BMW facility at Muenchen-Allach where aircraft engines were mass produced using a total of 20,000 workers, including 3,000 POWs and 5,000 inmates from the Dachau concentration camp. Zborowski also supervised a rocket group at the facility which concentrated on new weapon research. In January 1947, he was detained at POW Camp 317, Goettingen. After being released, Zborowski was taken by the French to do research at a chateau near Paris, then brought back to Bonn.

1973 14:01:23 GMT
NASA launched the Skylab 4 crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission.

Skylab 4 was the last of NASA's Skylab missions. The crew of Gerald P. Carr, Commander; Edward G. Gibson, Science Pilot; and William R. Pogue, Pilot was launched on 16 November 1973. They returned to Earth on 8 February 1974, after spending 84 days in space.

One of its first tasks was to unload and stow within Skylab thousands of items needed for their lengthy mission. The schedule for the activation sequence dictated lengthy work periods with a large variety of tasks to be performed. The crew soon found themselves tired and behind schedule. As the activation progressed, the astronauts complained of being pushed too hard. Ground crews disagreed; they felt that the flight crew was not working long enough or hard enough. During the course of the mission, these disagreements continued, eventually leading to the crew going on strike until their workload was reduced. By the end of their mission, the crew had completed even more work than had been planned before launch.

The crew spent many hours looking at the Earth. Carr and Pogue alternately manned controls, operating the sensing devices which measured and photographed selected features on the Earth's surface. When not otherwise occupied, they watched through the workshop window as the Earth rolled steadily beneath them.

Solar observations were made, with about 75,000 new telescopic images of the Sun recorded. Images were taken in the X-ray, ultraviolet, and visible portions of the spectrum. As the end of their mission drew closer, Gibson continued his watch of the solar surface. On 21 January 1974, an active region on the Sun's surface formed a bright spot which intensified and grew. Gibson quickly began filming the sequence, as the bright spot erupted, he had filmed the birth of a solar flare from space, the first such recording in history.

On 13 December, the crew sighted Comet Kohoutek and trained the solar observatory and hand-held cameras on it. They continued to photograph it as it approached the Sun. On 30 December, as it swept out from behind the Sun, Carr and Gibson spotted it as they were performing a spacewalk.

The Skylab 4 crew completed 1,214 Earth orbits and four EVAs totalling 22 hours, 13 minutes. They traveled 34.5 million miles (55,500,000 km) in 84 days, 1 hour and 16 minutes in space.

Died, Walther Johannes Riedel, German guided missile propulsion expert in World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, hired by North American to expand on German technology for the Rocketdyne division, UFO study group member

Died, Walther Meissner, German physicist (Meissner effect - damping of the magnetic field in superconductors)

Harvard College discovered asteroid #2076 Levin.

The first attempted intentional interstellar radio message was transmitted from the Arecibo telescope towards globular star cluster M13, approximately 25,000 light years away.

Died, Alexandr Pavlovich Vinogradov, Russian scientist, Director of Institute of Chemical and Analytical Chemistry, specialized in Lunar sample analysis

1982 06:33:26 PST (GMT -8:00:00)
NASA's STS 5 (Columbia 5, Shuttle 5) landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, completing the first "operational" Shuttle flight, which deployed Canada's ANIK C-3 and Satellite Business Systems' SBS-C commercial communications satellites.

The STS 5 launch on 11 November 1982 proceeded as scheduled with no delays.

STS 5, the first operational Shuttle mission, deployed two commercial communications satellites, ANIK C-3 for TELESAT Canada, and SBS-C for Satellite Business Systems. Each was equipped with a Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) solid rocket motor, which fired about 45 minutes after deployment, placing each satellite into a highly elliptical orbit. One Get Away Special and three Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments were conducted. The first scheduled space walk in the Shuttle program was cancelled due to a space suit malfunction.

STS 5 ended 16 November 1982 when Columbia landed on revolution 82 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California, with a rollout distance of 9,553 feet, and a rollout time of 63 seconds. Orbit altitude: 184 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. The mission's duration was five days, two hours, 14 minutes, 26 seconds, traveling 2.1 million miles. Columbia was returned to the Kennedy Space Center 22 November 1982.

The flight crew for STS 5 was: Vance D. Brand, Commander; Robert F. Overmyer, Pilot; Joseph P. Allen, Mission Specialist; William B. Lenoir, Mission Specialist.

1984 06:59:56 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA STS 51-A (Discovery 2, Shuttle 14) landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, after deploying TELESAT-H (ANIK) and SYNCOM IV-1, and retrieving PALAPA-B2 and WESTAR-VI.

The STS 51-A shuttle mission launch attempt on 7 November 1984 was scrubbed during a built-in hold at T-20 minutes due to wind shears in the upper atmosphere. The countdown 8 November 1984 proceeded as scheduled.

The Canadian communications satellite TELESAT-H (ANIK), attached to a Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D), was deployed into geosynchronous orbit on flight day two. On the third flight day, the defense communications satellite SYNCOM IV-1 (also known as LEASAT-1) was deployed. Allen and Gardner, wearing jet-propelled manned maneuvering units, retrieved two malfunctioning satellites: PALAPA-B2 and WESTAR-VI, both deployed on Mission 41-B. Fisher operated the remote manipulator system, grappling the satellites and depositing them in payload bay. The middeck payloads were the Diffusive Mixing of Organic Solutions (DMOS) and Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME) experiments.

STS 51-A ended on 16 November 1984 when Discovery landed on revolution 127 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 9,454 feet. Rollout time: 58 seconds. Launch weight: 263,324 pounds. Landing weight: 207,505 pounds. Orbit altitude: 185 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 56 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million.

The crew for STS 51-A was: Frederick H. Hauck, Commander, David M. Walker, Pilot, and Mission Specialists Anna L. Fisher (the first "mom" in orbit), Dale A. Gardner, and Joseph P. Allen.

1996 20:48:53 GMT
Russia launched Mars 96, which failed to leave Earth orbit and re-entered the atmosphere.

The Mars 96 spacecraft was launched 16 November 1996 into Earth orbit, but failed to achieve insertion into Mars cruise trajectory and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at about 00:45 to 01:30 UT on 17 November 1996 and crashed within a presumed 320 km by 80 km area which includes parts of the Pacific Ocean, Chile, and Bolivia. The cause of the crash is not known.

The Russian Mars 96 mission was designed to send an orbiter, two small autonomous stations, and two surface penetrators to Mars to investigate the evolution and contemporary physics of the planet by studying the physical and chemical processes which took place in the past and which are currently take place. The Mars 96 Orbiter was a 3-axis sun/star stabilized craft based on the Phobos design with two platforms for pointing and stabilizing instruments. The propulsion units were mounted on the bottom, and two large solar panels extended out from opposite sides of the craft. The two penetrators were mounted on the bottom by the propulsion system, the two small stations were connected on top of the spacecraft, and a dish antenna extended off one of the sides perpendicular to the solar panels. The Mars 96 spacecraft had a launch mass (including propellant) of 6180 kg.

Mars 96 was scheduled to arrive at Mars on 12 September 1997, about 10 months after launch, on a direct trajectory. About 4 to 5 days before arrival the small surface stations would have been released. The orbiter was to go into an elliptical 3-day transfer orbit about Mars, and the two penetrators to descend to the surface during the first month of orbit. The final orbit would have been a 14.77 hour elliptical orbit with a periapsis of 300 km.

The Mars 96 Orbiter carried 12 instruments to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars, 7 instruments to study plasma, fields, and particles, and 3 instruments for astrophysical studies. There were also radio science, a navigation TV camera, and a radiation and dosimetry control complex. The instruments were located directly on the sides of the craft, on one of the two platforms attached to the sides of the craft, or on the edges of the solar panels.

2001 19:03:00 GMT
NASA's ill-fated Genesis solar wind sample return spacecraft arrived at the Sun-Earth L1 point and went into a halo orbit around it.

The primary objective of the Genesis mission was to collect samples of solar wind particles and return them to Earth for detailed analysis. The science objectives were to obtain precise measurements of solar isotopic and elemental abundances and provide a reservoir of solar matter for future scientific analysis. Specifically, the primary scientific objectives were to obtain precise measurements of isotope ratios of oxygen, nitrogen, and solar wind isotopic fractionation. Study of these samples would allow testing of theories of solar system formation and evolution and early nebular composition. A total sample mass of roughly 10 to 20 micrograms was expected.

The Genesis spacecraft had a launch mass of 636 kg, including 142 kg of fuel, and consisted of a 2.3 meter long, 2 meter wide spacecraft deck with two fixed solar panel wings with a total span of 7.9 meters, and a sample return capsule mounted on top of the deck. The spacecraft was spin stabilized at one revolution every 37.5 seconds. Propulsion was provided by a hydrazine monopropellant thruster using a helium pressurant. Communication was in the S-band via a fixed antenna. The solar panels provided a maximum of 254 Watts of power to a nickle-hydrogen storage battery. Temperatures were maintained by heaters and passive thermal control. The spacecraft was also equipped with ion and electron electrostatic monitors to determine which solar wind regime was being encountered, and to help set the appropriate collector voltage. Spacecraft subsystems and monitors were mounted beneath the sample return capsule.

The sample return capsule was disc shaped with a blunt conical top and bottom, 1.5 meters in diameter and 1.31 meters high, with a total mass of about 225 kg. It contained a 97.3 cm diameter science cannister which held a concentrator and three collector arrays. The collector arrays were flat discs made of ultra-pure silicon, silicon carbide, germanium, sapphire, chemically deposited diamond, gold, aluminum, and metallic glass wafers which were exposed to the solar wind. Isotopes of helium, oxygen, nitrogen, neon, radon, and other elements were implanted in the top 100 nm of these materials. The concentrator was an electrostatic mirror which concentrated elements up to neon by a factor of approximately 20. Each collector array was to be deployed for a different solar wind regime.

Genesis was launched successfully at 16:13:40.324 UT on 8 August 2001 on a Delta 7326 (a Delta II Lite launch vehicle with three strap-on solid rocket boosters and a Star 37FM third stage). The first burn of the Delta second stage put Genesis in a 185 x 197 km x 28.5 deg parking orbit at 1624 GMT. At 1712 GMT a second burn raised the orbit to 182 x 3811 km, and at 1713 GMT the third stage fired to put Genesis on its trajectory towards the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian libration point, 0.01 AU from Earth, with a nominal apogee of around 1.2 million km, a three month journey. The L1 point is beyond the influences of the geomagnetic field and its trapped particles. Genesis reached the L1 point on 16 November 2001 and fired its hydrazine thrusters for 268 seconds to insert itself into a halo orbit at 19:03 UT (2:03 PM EST). A malfunctioning thermal radiator caused some concern for the health of the sample return capsule's critical battery, which was overheating, but Genesis began collecting solar wind samples on schedule. On 3 December 2001 it opened its collector arrays and began gathering samples of solar wind particles. It completed 5 halo orbits over 30 months collecting samples. In April 2004, it ended sample collection and shut the door to the sample collection cannister.

The samples were stowed and sealed in the contamination-tight canister within the Sample Return Capsule and returned to Earth over a five month period, flying past the Earth and returning in order to be positioned for daylight entry. On 8 September 2004, the Genesis space probe became the first spacecraft to return from beyond Lunar orbit to the Earth's surface. The sample return capsule was released from the main spacecraft bus at about 12:00 UT, 66,000 km above the Earth, and successfully re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at 15:52:47 UT (11:53 AM EDT, 9:53 AM local MDT) over Oregon at 11 km/s, and should have deployed a drogue parachute 2 minutes 7 seconds after entry at 33 km altitude, but a wiring error resulted in the drogue parachute release mortar failing to fire. The parachute never deployed, and the capsule crashed in the desert in the Dugway Proving Ground at 40 07 40 N 113 30 29 W at a speed of 86 m/s (311 km/hr, 193 mph), severely damaging the capsule. The science cannister was removed to a clean room and the sample collection fragments were shipped to Johnson Space Center. The cause of the parachute failure was believed to be incorrectly installed accelerometers which were to deploy the parachutes. The science team was confident that most of the planned science could be recovered from the salvaged sample collectors.

The spacecraft bus looped around Earth after the capsule was released and headed back out towards the L1 point.

The original plan for re-entry was as follows: Six minutes after drogue chute deployment, the main parafoil was to deploy at an altitude of 6 km over the USAF Utah Test and Training Range, where it would be aerocaptured by one of two specially equipped helicopters at an altitude of about 2.5 km. The spacecraft had the capability of going into a parking orbit if the weather at the capture site was unsuitable. The capsule was taken to a clean room at the US Army Dugway Proving Ground, transported to Johnson Space Center for contamination control and curation, and distributed to selected Advanced Analytical Instrument Facilities for analysis.

There was some concern that the sample return capsule battery would fail, jeopardizing the re-entry. The battery was overheating in space, but ground tests showed that the battery should have been unaffected by the amount of heating it had endured, and should have operated to deploy the parachute on reentry.

NASA's X-43A Scramjet set a new speed record for air-breathing vehicles, reaching nearly Mach 10, flying 7000 mph.

NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books (again) on Tuesday 16 November 2004, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.6, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet.

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