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Space History for December 30


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1924
Edwin Hubble announced that he had determined spiral nebulae are indeed distant galaxies, beyond the bounds of the Milky Way, after he was able to resolve individual stars using the 100 inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory.
http://cosmictimes.gsfc.nasa.gov/teachers/downloads/newsletters/1929NL_HomeEd.pdf

1929
G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1140 Crimea.

1930
Robert Goddard launched a rocket to 600 meters (2000 feet) altitude, the first liquid fuel rocket to exceed 100 meters.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Goddard#Launch_History

1937
M Laugier discovered asteroid #1461 Jean-Jacques.

1940
Y Vaisala discovered asteroid #2750 Loviisa.

1953
Born, Daniel T. Barry MD PhD (at Norwalk, Connecticut, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 72, STS 96, STS 105)

Astronaut Daniel T. Barry, STS-105 mission specialist, NASA photo
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/barry.html

1958
Born, Steven L. Smith (at Phoenix, Arizona, USA), NASA astronaut (STS 68, STS 82, STS 103, STS 110)

Astronaut Steven L. Smith, STS 110 mission specialist, NASA photo (8 August 1997)
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/smith-s.pdf

1965
NASA's IMP A (Explorer 18) reentered Earth's atmosphere after its mission of interplanetary and distant magnetospheric studies of energetic particles, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and plasmas.

Explorer 18 (IMP 1) was a solar-cell and chemical-battery powered spacecraft instrumented for interplanetary and distant magnetospheric studies of energetic particles, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and plasmas. Initial spacecraft parameters included a local time of apogee of 1020 h, a spin rate of 22 rpm, and a spin direction of 115 deg right ascension and -25 deg declination. Each normal telemetry sequence of 81.9 second duration consisted of 795 data bits. After every third normal sequence there was an 81.9 second interval of rubidium vapor magnetometer analog data transmission. The spacecraft performed normally until 30 May 1964, then intermittently until 10 May 1965, when it was abandoned. The principal periods of data coverage were 27 November 1963 to 30 May 1964; 17 September 1964 to 7 January 1965; and 21 February 1965 to 25 March 1965; however, only the first of these periods was very useful.

Launch Date: 1963-11-27 at 02:24:00 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Delta
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Decay Date: 1965-12-30


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1963-046A

1965
Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2197 Shanghai.

1978
Harvard College discovered asteroid #2240 Tsai.

1980
A Mrkos discovered asteroid #2971; and Z Vavrova discovered asteroid #2365 Interkosmos.

1981
E Bowell discovered asteroids #2984 Chaucer, #3247 Di Martino and #3549 Hapke; and F Dossin discovered asteroid #3198 Wallonia.

2000
The Cassini spacecraft passed Jupiter at a distance of 9.7 millon km on its way to Saturn.

NASA's Cassini Orbiter's mission consists of delivering an ESA probe, Huygens, to Titan, then remaining in orbit around Saturn for detailed studies of the planet and its rings and satellites. The principal objectives are to: (1) determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the rings; (2) determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object; (3) determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus' leading hemisphere; (4) measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamical behavior of the magnetosphere; (5) study the dynamical behavior of Saturn's atmosphere at cloud level; (6) study the time variability of Titan's clouds and hazes; and, (7) characterize Titan's surface on a regional scale.

The Cassini/Huygens probe was launched on 15 October 1997. Unable to be launched directly to Saturn with propulsion systems available at the time, Cassini took a roundabout route to reach the ringed planet, referred to as a VVEJGA (Venus-Venus-Earth-Jupiter Gravity Assist) trajectory. Cassini made two flybys of Venus (April 1998 and June 1999), one of the Earth (August 1999), and one of Jupiter (December 2000). Various observations were made at each of these encounters in order to verify instrument and spacecraft systems as well as to perform calibration observations. At Jupiter, numerous simultaneous observations were made using Cassini, Galileo, and the Hubble Space Telescope, among other missions.

On 1 July 2004 UTC, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft fired its main engine to reduce its speed, allowing the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn's gravity and enter orbit. The spacecraft then started a four-year mission to explore the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, the stunning rings and its complex magnetic environment.

The first two orbits around Saturn set up the necessary trajectory for deployment of the Huygens probe on the third orbit. The maneuver placed the paired spacecraft on an intersect course with Titan and the probe was released on 25 December 2004. The two spacecraft separated with a relative velocity of 0.3-0.4 m/s but remained in the same orbit for about three weeks. Cassini then executed a deflection maneuver to enable it to fly by Titan at an altitude of 60,000 km, positioning it to receive transmissions from Huygens as it entered Titan's atmosphere, some 2.1 hours prior to Cassini's closest approach. Huygens landed on Titan on 14 January 2005.

During the Saturn Tour, Cassini was initially planned to complete 74 orbits of the ringed planet, 44 close flybys of the hazy moon Titan, and numerous flybys of Saturn's other icy moons. Cassini completed its initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn system in June 2008 and the first extended mission, called the Cassini Equinox Mission, in September 2010. The healthy spacecraft is continuing to make exciting new discoveries in a second extended mission called the Cassini Solstice Mission. This extension, which goes through September 2017, is named for the Saturnian summer solstice occurring in May 2017. The northern summer solstice marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. Since Cassini arrived at Saturn just after the planet's northern winter solstice, the extension will allow for the first study of a complete seasonal period.

See also NASA's Cassini Orbiter page and NASA's Huygens page in the NSSDC Master Catalog.


http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/solar_system/planets/jupiter_missions.html
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/


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