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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
Visit RaceToSpaceProject.com to find out more!

Born, Peter Roget of thesaurus fame, inventor (pocket chessboard)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #221 Eos.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #468 Lina.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #501 Urhixidur.

A. Kopff discovered asteroid #677 Aaltje.

Eugene B. Ely flew from Tanforan Park and landed on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania stationed in San Francisco harbor, marking the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #972 Cohnia.

G. Reiss discovered asteroid #1299 Mertona.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #1523 Pieksamaki.

Three US B-52's set a record for around-the-world flight, 45 hours 19 minutes, in the first nonstop flight by jet aircraft around the world.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1969 07:59:12 GMT
USSR's Soyuz 5 landed after docking in space with Soyuz 4 and a reentry that nearly cost Commander Boris Volynov his life.

Soyuz 5 was launched 15 January 1969 piloted by Commander Boris Volynov and carrying flight engineers Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov. The flight conducted scientific, technical and medico-biological research, checking and testing of onboard systems and design elements of space craft, docking of piloted space craft and construction of an experimental space station, and transfer of cosmonauts from one craft to another in orbit. The mission rehearsed elements of the Soviet piloted Lunar mission plan.

The docking mission had EVA objectives similar to those planned for Apollo 9. Soyuz 4 launched first, and was the active vehicle in the docking with Soyuz 5. Automatic rendezvous began on 16 January at 13:37 GMT on the 34th revolution of Soyuz 4 and the 18th revolution of Soyuz 5. At 100 m distance Shatalov (in Soyuz 4) took over manual control and guided the spacecraft to an accurate docking on the first attempt, at 14:20 GMT. The TASS news agency stated "... there was a mutual mechanical coupling of the ships... and their electrical circuits were connected. Thus, the world's first experimental cosmic station with four compartments for the crew was assembled and began functioning..." Following docking, Khrunov and Yeliseyev immediately began preparing for their EVA as Volynov filmed them donning their Yastreb space suits. On the 35th revolution of the Earth, Khrunov and Yeliseyev left Soyuz 5 and spent 37 minutes spacewalking to Soyuz 4. The two spacecraft then separated after being docked 4 hours 35 minutes.

Yeliseyev and Khrunov transferred to Soyuz 4 for their return to Earth; Volynov remained behind for what was undoubtedly the most unbelievable re-entry ever survived: The Soyuz service module failed to separate after the retrorockets fired. While this had previously occurred on various Vostok and Voskhod flights, and on one Mercury flight, it was a much more serious problem for Volynov, where the Soyuz service module was much larger than the small retropack on the other vehicles. When the Soyuz started aerobraking, the spacecraft naturally sought the most aerodynamically stable position - nose forward, with the heavy descent module where Volynov was riding facing directly into the air stream with only its light metal entry hatch at the front to protect it. The gaskets sealing the hatch began to burn, filling the air with dangerous fumes. The acceleration, while normal for reentry, was pulling Volynov outward against his harness rather than against the padded seat. Fortunately, as the thermal and aerodynamic stresses on the increased, the struts between the descent and service modules broke off or burned through before the hatch failed. The descent module immediately righted itself once the service module was gone, heat shield forward to take the brunt of reentry. Because the stabilizing rocket fuel had run out and the spacecraft was spinning at a higher than normal rate, there was one final problem in store for Volynov during the flight: The parachute cables partially tangled and soft-landing rockets failed, resulting in a harder than usual impact which broke several of his teeth. To top it off, the capsule had come down in the Ural Mountains 2 km southwest of Kustani, near Orenburg, Russia, far short of its target landing site in Kazakhstan. The local temperature was -38 degrees C (-40 degrees F), and knowing that it would be many hours before rescue teams could reach him, Volynov abandoned the capsule and walked several kilometers to reach a local peasant's house to keep warm. It would be seven years until Volynov flew again, on Soyuz 21.

Volynov's brush with fiery death was a state secret so deep that it only came out recently: When he didn't die from the near disaster, the next order of business was to pretend it had never happened, and Volynov was ordered to NOT tell the story. No news was ever printed in the Soviet press at that time; this space-related accident was kept strictly secret. The post-Soviet Russian space program also kept the information under wraps until 1997, when an 'official' new history book briefly mentioned the incident; that cleared the way for a few newspaper accounts, and Volynov could at last finally be recognized as a hero.

See also Soyuz 5's Flaming Return by James Oberg
See also Soyuz 5 on astronautix.com
ref: www.jamesoberg.com
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

L. Chernykh discovered asteroid #2144 Marietta, #2296, #2448 and #2965.

Thiokol conducted the second test firing of the space shuttle's solid rocket booster (SRB) motors which lasted for just over two minutes, roughly equivalent to the duration of the motor during actual launch.

Testing of the second full-scale development motor (DM-2) in NASA's Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) program took place on 18 January 1978, lasting for just over two minutes, roughly equivalent to the duration of the motor during actual launch. During this test, the motor nozzle was gimbaled (swiveled) during roughly half the time. While the test was successful, detailed examination of the internal insulation of DM-2 indicated an unexpected erosion pattern. As a result, the inhibitor was redesigned, and the motor was reworked, reassembled, and successfully tested. The inhibitor design change was incorporated into all subsequent SRMs.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1980 01:26:00 GMT
The US Navy launched FLTSATCOM 3 on an Atlas-Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The FLEETSATCOM (Fleet Satellite Communications) system was built to serve as a world-wide UHF communications link for Navy vessels and ground stations.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1986 05:58:51 PST (GMT -6:00:00)
NASA's STS 61-C (Columbia 7, 24th Shuttle mission) returned to Earth at Edwards AFB, California, instead of the planned landing at Kennedy Space Center.

STS 61-C was launched 12 January 1986 with a countdown that proceeded with no delays after having been scrubbed from 6 previous launch attempts. During the mission, the SATCOM KU-1 (RCA Americom) satellite, attached to a Payload Assist Module-D2 (PAM-D2) motor, was deployed. The Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP) experiment, a 35mm camera to photograph Comet Halley, did not function properly due to battery problems. Other payloads were: Materials Science Laboratory-2 (MSL-2); Hitchhiker G-1; Infrared Imaging Experiment (IR-IE); Initial Blood Storage Experiment (IBSE); Hand-held Protein Crystal Growth (HPCG) experiment; three Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments and 13 Get Away Specials (GAS), 12 of them mounted on a special GAS Bridge Assembly.

The mission ended on 18 January 1986 when Columbia landed on revolution 98 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California after landing attempts at Kennedy for three days were abandoned due to bad weather. Rollout distance: 10,202 feet. Rollout time: 59 seconds. Launch weight: 256,003 pounds. Landing weight: 210,161 pounds. Mission duration: six days, two hours, three minutes, 51 seconds. Orbit altitude: 212 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Miles traveled: 2.5 million. Columbia was returned to KSC 23 January 1986.

The flight crew for STS 61-C was: Robert L. Gibson, Commander; Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Pilot; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist 1; Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist 1; George D. Nelson, Mission Specialist 2; Robert J. Cenker, Payload Specialist 1; Congressman Bill Nelson, Payload Specialist 2.
ref: www.nasa.gov

Observations during a seven-hour session at the four-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile appeared to be discovery of a pulsar in the remnants of Supernova 1987A. The signal proved to be local electronic interference.
ref: books.google.com

Asteroid 1991 BA came within 170,000 km of Earth 12 hours after it was found, the closest and smallest (5-10 m) asteroid observed outside the Earth's atmosphere as of 28 November 1991.
ref: www.nature.com

The Tagish Lake fireball/meteorite streaked across the western Canadian sky and exploded over the Yukon.
ref: dspace.mit.edu

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