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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 28

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Race To Space
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Born, Nathaniel Bliss, English astronomer, Britain's fourth Astronomer Royal (1762 - 1764)

Born, John Wesley Hyatt, mainly known for reducing production of celluloid (the first industrial plastic) to a practical process

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #235 Carolina.

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #347 Pariana and #348 S05.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #813 Baumeia.

J. Comas Sola discovered asteroid #1655 Comas Sola.

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1274 Delportia and #3605.

Died, Enrico Fermi, physicist (Nobel 1938 "for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons")

Enrico Fermi (29 September 1901 - 28 November 1954) was an Italian-American physicist most noted for his work on beta decay, the development of the first nuclear reactor and for the development of quantum theory. Fermi won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics.

See also Wikipedia re. Enrico Fermi

The US reported the first full-range firing of an ICBM, an Atlas missile.

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced in a televised address that Cape Canaveral would be renamed Cape Kennedy in memory of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated six days earlier.

1964 14:22:01 GMT
NASA launched Mariner 4 for a Mars flyby, the first spacecraft to transmit pictures and data from Mars.

Mariner 4, launched 28 November 1964, was the first spacecraft to get a close look at Mars. Flying as close as 9,846 kilometers (6,118 miles) on 15 July 1965, Mariner 4 revealed Mars to have a cratered, rust-colored surface, with signs on some parts of the planet that liquid water had once etched its way into the soil. In addition to various field and particle sensors and detectors, the spacecraft had a television camera, which took 22 television pictures covering about 1% of the planet. Initially stored on a 4-track tape recorder, these pictures took four days to transmit to Earth.

Mariner 4, expected to survive something more than the eight months to Mars encounter, actually lasted about three years in solar orbit, continuing long-term studies of the solar wind environment. Mariner 4 returned to the vicinity of Earth in 1967, when engineers then decided to use the aging craft for a series of operational and telemetry tests to improve their knowledge of the technologies that would be needed for future interplanetary spacecraft.

Mariner 4 was well on its way to Mars when an experiment was approved to study the effect of transmitting the spacecraft's radio signal through the Martian atmosphere just before the spacecraft disappeared behind the planet. This experiment would reveal much about the Martian atmosphere. In order to perform the experiment, the spacecraft's computer had to be reprogrammed from Earth. This engineering feat, pioneered on Mariner 4, has since been greatly refined and repeated numerous times in later missions, both for enhancement and salvage.

Mariner 4, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

The first astronomical pulsating radio source (pulsar PSR B1919+21 in the constellation Vulpecula) was detected by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish with a period of 1.3373 seconds and a pulse width of 0.04 seconds.

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #3241.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3758, and T. Seki discovered asteroid #3262 Miune.

1983 11:00:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 9 (Columbia 6, 9th shuttle mission), the first Spacelab mission, and with the first ESA astronaut aboard, Ulf Merbold of Germany.

The STS 9 launch set for 30 September 1983 was delayed 28 days due to a suspect exhaust nozzle on the right solid rocket booster. The problem was discovered while the Shuttle was on the launch pad. In the program's first rollback, the Shuttle was returned to the VAB and demated, where the suspect nozzle was replaced before the vehicle was restacked. The countdown on 28 November proceeded as scheduled.

STS 9 carried the first Spacelab mission, and first astronaut to represent the European Space Agency (ESA), Ulf Merbold of Germany. ESA and NASA jointly sponsored Spacelab-1 and conducted investigations which demonstrated a capability for advanced research in space. Spacelab is an orbital laboratory and observations platform composed of cylindrical pressurized modules and U-shaped unpressurized pallets which remain in orbiter's cargo bay during flight.

Altogether 73 separate investigations were carried out in astronomy and physics, atmospheric physics, Earth observations, life sciences, materials sciences, space plasma physics and technology. This flight was also the first time six persons were carried into space on a single vehicle.

The mission ended on 8 December 1983 when Columbia landed on revolution 167 on Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,456 feet. Rollout time: 53 seconds. Launch weight: 247,619 pounds. Landing weight: 220,027 pounds. Orbit altitude: 155 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: 10 days, seven hours, 47 minutes, 24 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.3 million. The landing was delayed approximately eight hours to analyze problems when general purpose computers one and two failed and inertial measurement unit one failed. During landing, two of the three auxiliary power units caught fire. The orbiter was returned to KSC 15 December 1983.

The STS 9 crew was: John W. Young, Commander; Brewster H. Shaw, Jr., Pilot; Owen K. Garriott, Mission Specialist; Dr. Robert A. Parker, Mission Specialist; Dr. Byron K. Lichtenberg, Payload Specialist; Dr. Ulf Merbold, Payload Specialist (ESA).

M. Antal discovered asteroid #3393.

Died, Cai Jintao, Chinese communications and telemetry systems engineer, made important contributions to China's space undertakings

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