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Space History for December 26


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1791
Born, Charles Babbage, mathematician and inventor of computing machines

Charles Babbage (26 December 1791 - 18 October 1871) was an English mathematician, analytical philosopher and (proto-)computer scientist who is commonly identified as the first person to come up with the idea of a programmable computer. Parts of his uncompleted mechanisms are on display in the London Science Museum. In 1991, working from Babbage's original plans, a Difference Engine was completed, and functioned perfectly. They were built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, indicating that Babbage's machine would have worked.


http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/charlesbabbage/

1878
John Wanamaker's store in Philadelphia became the first department store to install electric lights.
http://www.famousdaily.com/history/wanamaker-installs-electric-lights-dept-store.html

1928
Robert Goddard launched his third liquid fuel rocket, four times larger than previous models, which reached a speed of 60 mph: The Hoopskirt rocket cleared the tower and flew for 3.2 seconds, covering a distance of 204.5 feet (62 m).
https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/rocket-liquid-fuel-hoopskirt-rh-goddard

1931
Died, Melvil Dewey, librarian, creator of the Dewey Decimal Classification system
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melvil_Dewey

1933
Edwin H. Armstrong received five US patents covering the basic features of FM radio.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Howard_Armstrong#Wide-band_FM_radio

1973 08:50:35 GMT
USSR Soyuz 13 landed after 8 days in orbit.

USSR launched Soyuz 13 on 18 December 1973, the flight lasted 188 hours 32 minutes, landing on 26 December 1973. Its basic flight objectives were: Observation of stars in the ultraviolet range using a special system of telescopes; survey of separate sections of Earth's surface and acquisition of data; continuation of comprehensive verification of onboard systems; test of manual and automatic control and methods of autonomous navigation in various flight conditions. The flight was successful.

Soyuz 13 was a second test flight of the redesigned Soyuz capsule that first flew as Soyuz 12. This particular spacecraft was further specially modified to carry a large camera for astrophysical observations. Using the instrument, cosmonauts Valentin Lebedev and Pyotr Klimuk carried out ultraviolet photography of stars and spectroscopic photography of the Earth.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_13

1974 04:15:00 GMT
USSR launched the Salyut 4 orbiting workshop. It was unmanned at launch.

Salyut 4 basic flight objectives: Unmanned orbiting space workshop to further test design, onboard systems, and equipment; scientific-technical studies conducted by visiting Soyuz crews. Summary of results: Successful; manned by Soyuz 17 (11 January 1975 - 10 February 1975, 30 days) and Soyuz 18 (May 1975 - July 1975, 63 days).

Salyut 4 (DOS 4) was a Salyut space station launched on 26 December 1974 into an orbit with an apogee of 355 km, a perigee of 343 km and an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3, and unlike its ill-fated sibling it was a complete success. Three crews attempted to make stays aboard Salyut 4 (Soyuz 17 and Soyuz 18 docked; Soyuz 18a suffered a launch abort). The second stay was for 63 days duration, and an unmanned Soyuz capsule remained docked to the station for three months, proving the systems' long-term durability. Salyut 4 was deorbited on 2 February 1977, re-entering the atmosphere and destroyed on 3 February.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salyut_4


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1974-104A

1992
Died, John G. Kemeny, US computer pioneer (wrote BASIC, with Kurtz)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Kemeny


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