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Space History for November 20


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1715
Born, Pierre Charles Le Monnier (or Lemonnier), French astronomer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Charles_Le_Monnier

1866
Pierre Lallemant received a US patent for the first rotary crank bicycle design. Bicycle-like systems are currently used for exercise in space, and bicycles will likely be common transportation inside space colonies.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lallement-bicycle-patent-1866.gif

1882
Died, Henry Draper, doctor, astronomer, astrophotography pioneer, first to photograph the Orion Nebula (1880)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Draper

1889
Born, Edwin Hubble, American astronomer

Edwin Powell Hubble (20 November 1889 - 28 September 1953) was a noted American astronomer, generally credited for discovering and proving redshift and that the universe is expanding. (The redshift had actually been observed by Vesto Slipher in the 1910s, but the world was largely unaware.)

Hubble's studies at the University of Chicago concentrated on mathematics and astronomy. After earning a law degree at Oxford, and teaching high school in New Albany, Indiana, he returned to astronomy at the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1917. In 1919 Hubble was offered a staff position by George Ellery Hale, the founder and director of Carnegie Institution's Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena, California, where he remained until his death. Shortly before his death, Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope was completed, Hubble was the first to use it.

His arrival at Mount Wilson coincided roughly with the completion of the 100-inch Hooker Telescope, then the world's most powerful telescope. Hubble's observations in 1923-1924 with the Hooker Telescope established beyond doubt that the fuzzy "nebulae" seen earlier with less powerful telescopes were not part of our galaxy, as had been thought, but were galaxies themselves, outside the Milky Way. He announced his discoveries on 30 December 1924.

Subsequently, with Milton Humason, Hubble discovered the velocity-distance relation, now know as the Hubble's law, which led to the concept of the expanding universe.

NASA's orbiting Hubble Space Telescope is named in his honor.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Hubble

1919
The first municipally owned airport in the US opened, at Tucson, Arizona.
http://www.tucsonrodeoparade.com/the-museum/tucson-municipal-flying-field/

1925
K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1054 Forsytia.

1938
Died, Edwin H. Hall, US physicist (Hall effect)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Hall

1953
Scott Crossfield became the first to break Mach 2 (more than 1,290 mph, 2076 km/h) in the Douglas Skyrocket.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_D-558-2_Skyrocket

1954
Died, Clyde Cessna, founder of the Cessna Aircraft Company
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Cessna

1961
NASA's Ranger 2 spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere after its booster failed to restart.

Ranger 2 was launched into a low Earth parking orbit on 18 November 1961. The spacecraft was a flight test of the Ranger spacecraft system designed for future Lunar and interplanetary missions. Ranger 2 was designed to test various systems for future exploration and to conduct scientific observations of cosmic rays, magnetic fields, radiation, dust particles, and a possible hydrogen gas "tail" trailing the Earth. Following its launch into orbit, an inoperative roll gyro prevented the Agena booster from being restarted. Consequently, the spacecraft could not be put into its planned deep-space trajectory, resulting in Ranger 2 being stranded in low Earth orbit upon separation from the Agena stage. The orbit decayed and the spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere on 20 November 1961.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1961-032A

1965
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2301 Whitford; Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2185 Guangdong.

1969
NASA's Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean visited Surveyor 3 where it had landed on the Moon on 20 April 1967 to take photographs and retrieve parts from the earlier space probe for examination on Earth.

Surveyor 3, launched 17 April 1967, was the second spacecraft in the Surveyor series to acheive a soft landing on the Lunar surface. The main purpose of the mission was to determine various characteristics of the Lunar terrain in preparation for Apollo Lunar landing missions. Equipment on board included a television camera and auxiliary mirrors, a soil mechanics surface sampler, strain gages on the spacecraft landing legs, and numerous engineering sensors. The spacecraft landed on the Moon at 3.01 deg S latitude, 23.42 deg W longitude in the southeastern part of Oceanus Procellarum at 00:04:53 UT on 20 April 1967 (19 April 19:04:53 EST). Touchdown on the Lunar surface occurred three times because the Vernier engines continued to fire during the first two touchdowns causing the spacecraft to lift off the surface. A large volume of new data on the strength, texture, and structure of Lunar material was transmitted by the spacecraft, in addition to the Lunar photography transmission. The last data were returned on 4 May 1967.

On 19 November 1969, the Apollo 12 Lunar Module (LM) landed within about 180 meters of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean visited the earlier spacecraft on their second moonwalk on 20 November, examining Surveyor 3 and its surroundings, taking photographs, and removing about 10 kg of parts from the spacecraft, including the TV camera, for later examination back on Earth.

The Surveyor 3 camera is now on display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.



Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad examines Surveyor 3's TV camera prior to detaching it
original 6515x6515 image at https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/as12-48-7134_0.jpg
https://www.nasa.gov/content/astronauts-pay-a-visit-to-surveyor-3
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1967-035A

1969 14:25:47 GMT
NASA's Apollo 12 Lunar Module Intrepid lifted off from the Moon.

Apollo 12, launched on 14 November 1969 under cloudy, rain-swept skies, was the second mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth. On 19 November 1969, two astronauts (Apollo 12 Commander Charles P. "Pete" Conrad and LM Pilot Alan L. Bean) landed on the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) within walking distance (182.88 meters) of Surveyor 3, in Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms). Meanwhile, the Command and Service Module (CSM) continued in Lunar orbit with CM pilot Richard F. Gordon aboard. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts examined Surveyor 3 (which had landed on the Moon 2.5 years earlier, on 20 April 1967) and removed pieces for later examination on Earth, set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples on two moonwalk EVA's. The LM took off from the Moon on 20 November, and the astronauts returned to Earth on 24 November.

Apollo 12 was launched on Saturn V SA-507 on 14 November 1969 at 16:22:00 UT (11:22:00 AM EST) from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The spacecraft was struck by lightning 36 seconds after launch and again 52 seconds after launch, which momentarily shut off electrical power and cut out telemetry contact. The first strike was visible to spectators at the launch site. Power was automatically switched to battery backup while the crew restored the primary power system. There were no further problems with the power system and the spacecraft entered planned Earth parking orbit at 11 minutes 44 seconds after liftoff.

After 1.5 orbits, the S-IVB stage was re-ignited at 19:15:14 UT for a translunar injection burn of 5 minutes 45 seconds, putting the spacecraft on course for the Moon. The CSM separated from the S-IVB stage containing the LM 25 minutes later, turned around and docked with the LM at 19:48:53 UT. After achieving trajectory towards the Moon, the LM and CSM decoupled from the S-IVB at 20:35 UT on 14 November 1969 and made a course correction to head for Lunar orbit. Propellants were fired to target the SIVB stage past the Moon and into solar orbit, but the stage did not go close enough to the Moon to permit escape, and it ended in a highly elliptical Earth orbit due to an error in the instrument unit.

During Lunar coast, the LM was checked out to ensure no electrical damage had been caused by the lightning. Astronauts Conrad and Bean transferred to the LM one-half hour earlier than planned in order to obtain full TV coverage through the Goldstone tracking station. The 56-minute TV transmission showed excellent color pictures of the CSM, the intravehicular transfer, the LM interior, the Earth, and the Moon. A midcourse correction was made on 16 November at 02:15 UT.

A six minute SPS burn on 18 November at 03:47:23 UT put the Apollo 12 into Lunar orbit of 312.6 x 115.9 kilometers. Two orbits later, a second burn circularized the orbit with a 122.5 kilometer apolune and a 100.6 kilometer perilune. Conrad and Bean again entered the LM, where they perfomed housekeeping chores, a voice and telemetry test, and an oxygen purge system check. They then returned to the CM.

Conrad and Bean entered the LM, checked out all systems, and separated from the CSM at 04:16:03 UT on 19 November with a reaction control system thruster burn. The LM descent engine fired for 29 seconds at 05:47 UT, and the LM landed at 06:54:35 UT (1:54:35 a.m. EST) in the Oceanus Procellarum area at 3.0124 S latitude, 23.4216 W longitude (IAU Mean Earth Polar Axis coordinate system) within about 180 meters of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft.

Conrad and Bean took two moonwalks with a total duration of 7 hours 45 minutes, covering a total traverse distance of 1.35 km. The first was from 11:32:35 to 15:28:38 UT and involved deployment of the ALSEP. Conrad, shorter than Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon, 20 July 1969), had a little difficulty negotiating the last step from the LM ladder to the Lunar surface. When he touched the surface at 6:44 AM EST on 19 November, he exclaimed, "Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small step for Neil, but that's a long one for me." Bean joined Conrad on the surface at 7:14 AM EST. They immediately collected a 1.9 kilogram contingency sample of Lunar material, and later a 14.8 kilogram selected sample. They also deployed an S-band antenna, solar wind composition experiment, and the American flag. An Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package with a SNAP-27 atomic generator was deployed about 182 meters from the LM. After 3 hours 56 minutes on the Lunar surface, the two astronauts entered the Intrepid to rest and check plans for the next EVA.

To improve the television pictures from the Moon, a color camera was taken on Apollo 12, unlike the monochrome camera used on Apollo 11. Unfortunately, when Bean carried the camera to the place near the Lunar Module where it was to be set up, he inadvertently pointed it directly into the Sun, destroying the vidicon tube. Television coverage of this mission was thus terminated almost immediately.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) consisted of a set of scientific instruments emplaced at the landing site by the astronauts. The instruments were arrayed around a central station which supplied power to run the instruments and relayed data collected by the experiments to Earth. The central station was a 25 kg box with a stowed volume of 34,800 cubic cm. Thermal control was achieved by passive elements (insulation, reflectors, thermal coatings) as well as power dissipation resistors and heaters. Communications with Earth were achieved through a 58 cm long, 3.8 cm diameter modified axial-helical antenna mounted on top of the central station, pointed towards Earth by the astronauts. Transmitters, receivers, data processors and multiplexers were housed within the central station. Data collected from the instruments were converted into a telemetry format and transmitted to Earth. The ALSEP system and instruments were controlled by commands from Earth. The uplink frequency for all Apollo mission ALSEP's was 2119 MHz, the downlink frequency for the Apollo 12 ALSEP was 2278.5 MHz.

All ALSEP instruments were deployed on the surface by the astronauts and attached to the central station by cables. The Apollo 12 ALSEP instruments consisted of: (1) a passive seismometer, designed to measure seismic activity and physical properties of the Lunar crust and interior; (2) a suprathermal ion detector, designed to measure the flux, composition, energy, and velocity of low-energy positive ions; (3) a cold cathode ion gauge, designed to measure the atmosphere and any variations with time or solar activity such atmosphere may have; (4) a Lunar dust detector, to measure dust accumulation, radiation damage to solar cells, and reflected infrared energy and temperatures; (5) a Lunar surface magnetometer (LSM), designed to measure the magnetic field at the Lunar surface; and (6) a solar wind spectrometer, which measured the fluxes and spectra of the electrons and protons that emanate from the Sun and reach the Lunar surface. The central station, located at 3.0094 S latitude, 23.4246 W longitude, was turned on at 14:21 UT on 19 November 1969 and shut down along with the other ALSEP stations on 30 September 1977.

On the second moonwalk, on 20 November from 03:54:45 to 07:44:00 UT, Conrad and Bean retrieved the Lunar module TV camera for return to Earth for a failure analysis, obtained photographic panoramas, core and trench samples, a Lunar environment sample, and assorted rock, dirt, bedrock, and molten samples. The crew then examined and retrieved about 10 kg of parts of Surveyor 3, including the TV camera and soil scoop. After 3 hours 49 minutes on the Lunar surface during the second EVA, the two crewmen entered the LM at 2:44 AM EST on 20 November. Meanwhile, astronaut Gordon, orbiting the moon in the Yankee Clipper, had completed a Lunar multispectral photography experiment and photographed proposed future landing sites.

The LM lifted off from the Moon on 20 November at 14:25:47 UT after 31 hours 31 minutes on the Lunar surface with 34.4 kilograms of Lunar samples. Rendezvous maneuvers went as planned. The last 24 minutes of the rendezvous sequence was televised. After docking with the CSM at 17:58:22 UT, the crew transferred the samples, equipment, and film to the Yankee Clipper. The LM was jettisoned at 20:21:30 and intentionally crashed into the Moon at 22:17 UT (5:17 PM EST), striking at 3.94 S, 338.80 E, about 72.2 kilometers southeast of the seismic station at the Apollo 12 landing site, creating the first recorded artificial moonquake. The seismometers the astronauts had left on the Lunar surface registered the vibrations for more than an hour.

Transearth injection began at 20:49:16 UT on 21 November with a firing of the CSM main engine after 89 hours 2 minutes in Lunar orbit. During the transearth coast, views of the receding Moon and the interior of the spacecraft were televised, and a question and answer session with scientists and the press was conducted. A mid-course correction was made on 22 November. The CM separated from the SM on 24 November at 20:29:21. Apollo 12 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 November 1969 at 20:58:24 UT (3:58:24 PM EST) after a mission elapsed time of 244 hours, 36 minutes, 24 seconds. The splashdown point was 15 deg 47 min S, 165 deg 9 min W, near American Samoa and 6.9 km (4.3 mi) from the recovery ship USS Hornet.

Performance of the spacecraft, the first of the Apollo H-series missions, was very good for all aspects of the mission. The primary mission goals of an extensive series of Lunar exploration tasks, deployment of the ALSEP, and demonstration of the ability to remain and work on the surface of the Moon for an extended period were achieved. Conrad was a Navy Commander on his third spaceflight (previously on Gemini 5 and 11, later to fly on Skylab 2), Bean was a Navy Lt. Commander on his first flight (he later flew on Skylab 3), and Gordon was a Navy Commander on his second flight (Gemini 11). The backup crew for this mission was David Scott, Alfred Worden, and James Irwin.

The Apollo 12 Command Module "Yankee Clipper" is on display at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Virginia. The returned Surveyor 3 camera is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo12info.html

1969 20:21:30 GMT
NASA's Apollo 12 Lunar Module Intrepid was jettisoned, leading to its impact on the Moon, creating the the first recorded artificial moonquake, reverberations of which were detected for over an hour by seismometers the astronauts had left on the surface.
see above

1973
NASA selected the Thiokol Chemical Company/Wasatch Division for the initial six-year Shuttle SRM (solid rocket motor) contract.
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/5.pdf

1976
Harvard College discovered asteroid #2133 Franceswright.

1980
Janice Brown made the first flight of a human-carrying aircraft driven by solar power alone, in the Solar Challenger.
http://www.donaldmonroe.com/solar_challenger.html

1981
E Bowell discovered asteroids #3387 Greenberg and #3545 Gaffey.

1982
T Seki discovered asteroid #2835 Ryoma.

1984
E Bowell discovered asteroid #3638 Davis.

1990 21:42:42 GMT
NASA's STS 38 (Atlantis 7) landed after a classified Department of Defense (DoD) mission.

The launch of STS 38 was originally scheduled for July 1990. However, a liquid hydrogen leak found on the orbiter Columbia during the STS 35 countdown prompted three precautionary mini-tanking tests on Atlantis at the pad on 29 June, 13 July and 25 July. The tests confirmed the hydrogen fuel leak on the external tank side of the external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect umbilical. The problem could not be repaired at the pad, and Atlantis was rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on 9 August, demated and transferred to the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF). During the rollback, the vehicle was parked outside the VAB about a day while the Columbia stack was transferred to the pad for the STS 35 launch. Outside, Atlantis suffered minor hail damage to tiles during a thunderstorm. After repairs were made in the OPF, Atlantis was transferred to the VAB for mating on 2 October. During hoisting operations, a platform beam that should have been removed from the aft compartment fell and caused minor damage which was repaired. The vehicle was rolled out to Pad A on 12 October. A fourth mini-tanking test was performed on 24 October, with no excessive hydrogen or oxygen leakage detected. At the Flight Readiness Review, the launch date set for 9 November. The launch was then reset for 15 November due to payload problems. Liftoff finally occurred during a classified launch window lying within a launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 PM EST on 15 November 1990.

STS 38 was the seventh Shuttle mission dedicated to the US Department of Defense. The astronauts deployed the NRO's USA 67 Magnum 3 signal intercept satellite on 15 November, which was boosted to geostationary orbit.

STS 38 ended on 20 November 1990 when Atlantis landed on revolution 79 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The rollout distance was 9,003 feet, the rollout time 56 seconds, with a mission duration of four days, 21 hours, 54 minutes, 31 seconds. The launch weight was classified, the landing weight 191,091 pounds. The mission was extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Continued adverse conditions led to a decision to shift the landing to KSC. It was the first KSC landing for Atlantis, and the first end-of-mission landing at KSC since April 1985. Orbit altitude: 142 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Miles traveled: 2 million.

The flight crew for STS 38 was: Richard O. Covey, Commander; Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., Pilot; Robert C. Springer, Mission Specialist 1; Carl J. Meade, Mission Specialist 2; Charles D. Gemar, Mission Specialist 3.


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-38.html

1994 00:39:37 GMT
Russia launched the Cosmos 2294, 2295 and 2296 Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) satellites.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1994-076A

1995 12:01:27 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 74 (Atlantis 15, Shuttle 73) landed at the close of the second Shuttle-Mir docking mission.

STS 74 launched 12 November 1995 with a countdown that proceeded smoothly to an on-time liftoff. The planned rendezvous with the Russian Mir space station necessitated a brief launch window of about seven minutes. The liftoff originally set for 11 November was scrubbed due to unacceptable weather at the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) sites.

STS 74 marked the second docking of US Space Shuttle to the Russian space station Mir, continuing Phase I activities leading to construction of the International Space Station (ISS). The mission illustrated the international flavor of the space station effort: The shuttle crew included Hadfield, the fourth Canadian to fly on the shuttle but the first Canadian mission specialist. The hardware in the payload bay included the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, the US-built Orbiter Docking System (ODS), the Russian-built 316GK Shuttle-Mir docking module and solar array, and a joint US/Russian solar array. Awaiting Atlantis aboard Mir were two Russian cosmonauts and a German cosmonaut, along with Russian and European Space Agency research samples and equipment.

Unlike the first docking flight during which a crew exchange took place, the second docking focused on delivery of equipment to Mir. The primary payload of the mission was the Russian-built Docking Module (DM), designed to become a permanent extension on Mir to afford better clearances for Shuttle-Mir linkups. Two solar arrays were stowed on the DM for later transfer to Mir by spacewalking cosmonauts.

On flight day three, Hadfield operated the RMS robot arm to lift the DM from its stowed position in the aft section of the payload bay, rotated it to vertical, and moved it to within five inches above the ODS in the forward part of the bay. The ODS is being flown on all Shuttle-Mir docking flights, and serves as a passageway between the two spacecraft. Cameron then fired downward steering jets to push Atlantis against the DM. Once mating was confirmed, the robot arm ungrappled from the DM, hatches between the DM and the ODS were opened, and a centerline camera was mounted inside the top hatch of the DM.

On flight day four, Atlantis caught up with Mir. The Terminal Phase Initiation (TI) burn started with Atlantis eight nautical miles (9.2 statute miles/14.8 kilometers) behind Mir to begin the final phase of the rendezvous. Air-to-air communications between Atlantis and the Mir 20 crew also began about the same time. The approach to Mir was same as for STS-71, along the R-bar, with Atlantis closing in on the station from directly below. Handheld lasers were used by the Shuttle crew during the final approach to supplement distance and closing rate information made by orbiter's navigational equipment.

The manual phase of the rendezvous began when Atlantis was about a half-mile (804.7 meters) from Mir, with Cameron taking control of the orbiter using the aft flight deck controls. At 170 feet (51.8 meters) from Mir, Cameron halted approach while Mir was maneuvered into alignment for docking. After a "go" from flight directors in Moscow and Houston, Cameron moved Atlantis to 30 feet (9.1 meters) from Mir, and then halted momentarily again to make final adjustments. The key camera for the final approach was the elbow camera on the RMS arm.

Hatches between Mir and Atlantis were opened at 4:02 AM EST on 15 November 1995. Control of the DM was transferred to the Mir 20 crew. During mated operations, nearly 1,000 pounds (453.6 kilograms) of water was transferred to Mir. Numerous experiment samples, including blood, urine and saliva, were moved to the orbiter for return to Earth. Shuttle crew also brought up gifts, including Canadian maple sugar candies and a guitar (the second guitar on Mir). Lithium hydroxide canisters, a late addition, were transferred to Mir in case the faulty environmental control system failed again and station's air needed to be "scrubbed."

Two spacecraft separated at 4:15 AM EST on 18 November, after which a flyaround of the station was initiated when Atlantis was 400 feet (121.9 meters) away.

Also flown on STS 74 were: IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC); Glow Experiment (GLO-4)/Photogrammetric Appendage Structural Dynamics Experiment (PASDE) Payload (GPP); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II.

No significant problems occurred with orbiter or any of cargo bay equipment.

STS 74 ended on 20 November 1995 when Atlantis landed on revolution 129 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Rollout distance: 8,607 feet (2,623 meters). Rollout time: 57 seconds. Orbit altitude: 213 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, four hours, 30 minutes, 44 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.4 million.

The flight crew for STS 74 was: Kenneth D. Cameron, Commander; James D. Halsell, Pilot; Jerry L. Ross, Mission Specialist; William S. McArthur Jr, Mission Specialist; Chris A. Hadfield, Mission Specialist.


http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/archives/sts-74.html

1999 19:41:00 GMT
China's Shenzhou 1 landed in Inner Mongolia after a 21 hour unmanned flight.

Shenzhou (variously translated as "Vessel of the Gods," "Divine Craft," "Divine Mechanism" but also a pun on a literary name for China) is the name of a spacecraft from the People's Republic of China which first carried a Chinese astronaut into orbit on 15 October 2003. Development began in 1992, with the first four unmanned test flights on 20 November 1999 (19 November UTC), 9 January 2001, and 25 March and 29 December in 2002. It was launched on a Long March 2F from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The basic shape and division into modules resembles that of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and there has been tight cooperation with Russian space agencies and companies beginning in 1994, which also provided blueprints and transfers of full-scale Soyuz spaceships to China. Russian help was also important in the area of astronaut training.

Both official Chinese sources as well as many Western analysts note that the Shenzhou is not merely a copy of the Soyuz and contains substantial amounts of indigenous design. In particular, the Shenzhou is substantually larger than the Soyuz and also contains a powered orbital module which is capable of autonomous flight.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1999-061A


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