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

Born, James Watt, Scottish engineer (steam engine improvements)

James Watt (19 January 1736 - 25 August 1819) was a Scottish mathematician and engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were a key stage in the Industrial Revolution.

He was born in Greenock, Scotland, and lived and worked in Birmingham, England. He was a key member of the Lunar Society. Many of his papers are now kept in the Birmingham Central Library.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Johann Bode, German astronomer, reformulated and popularized the Titius-Bode Law stating the relationship between planetary orbits
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Henry Bessemer, English metallurgist, engineer, inventor (Bessemer process for steel manufacture)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Ezra Daggett and his nephew Thomas Kensett received their patent for food storage in tin cans.
ref: www.archives.gov

Born, Jacobus Kapteyn, Dutch astronomer (extensive Milky Way studies, first discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation)

Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn, (19 January 1851 - 18 June 1922) was a Dutch astronomer, best known for his extensive studies of the Milky Way and as the first discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey, built by Thomas Edison as a demonstration that an entire community could be lit by electricity.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #502 Sigune; and R. S. Dugan discovered asteroid #503 Evelyn.

A. Schmitt discovered asteroid #1215 Boyer.

L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1412 Lagrula.

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroids #1533 Saimaa, #1646 Rosseland, #2464 Nordenskiold and #2802 Weisell.

L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1577 Reiss.

1965 14:03:59 GMT
NASA flew the Gemini 2 mission, the first successful suborbital reentry test flight of a Gemini capsule.
Exoatmospheric horizon view, taken from the unmanned Gemini 2 spacecraft, NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog gemini_2.jpg
Exoatmospheric horizon view, taken from the unmanned Gemini 2 spacecraft, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Gemini 2, launched 19 January 1965, was the second uncrewed Gemini test mission, consisting of a sub-orbital ballistic flight and reentry of the Gemini spacecraft. The primary objectives being to demonstrate the adequacy of the spacecraft reentry module's heat protection during a maximum heating rate return, the structural integrity of the spacecraft, and the performance of spacecraft systems. Secondary objectives included obtaining test results on communications, cryogenics, fuel cell and reactant supply system, and further qualification of the launch vehicle.

The flight was launched successfully to a maximum altitude of 106.4 mi (171.2 km). The spacecraft was run by an onboard automatic sequencer. At 6 minutes 54 seconds after launch retrorockets were fired and the spacecraft cartwheeled into a reentry attitude. The spacecraft reentered the atmosphere and landed by parachute in the Atlantic Ocean 2124 mi (3419 km) southeast of the launch site 18 minutes 16 seconds after launch. The landing was 16 mi (26 km) short of the planned impact point. The spacecraft was successfully recovered by the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain. All goals were achieved except test results on the fuel cells because the system had failed before liftoff and was turned off. The capsule was in excellent condition and the heat shield and retrorockets functioned as planned, although the temperature in the cooling system of the spacecraft was found to be too high.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Apple Computer, Inc. announced their first commercial personal computer with a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, the Apple Lisa. The proliferation of GUI+mouse personal computers dramatically improved the design tools available in aerospace.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1993 08:37:49 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 54 (Endeavour 3, 54th Shuttle mission) returned to Kennedy Space Center after six days in orbit.

STS 54 was launched 13 January 1993. Its liftoff was delayed about seven minutes due to concerns associated with upper atmospheric winds. The mission's primary payload was the fifth Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-6), which was deployed about six hours after liftoff. The attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster fired about one hour later to propel TDRS-6 to an intermediate checkout orbit. Also carried in the cargo bay was a Hitchhiker experiment, the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (DXS), which was used to collect data on X-ray radiation from diffuse sources in deep space.

The middeck payloads on STS 54 were: the Commercial General Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) for life sciences research; the Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space Experiment (CHROMEX) to study plant growth; the Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE) to examine skeletal system and adaptation of bone to space flight; the Space Acceleration Measurement Equipment (SAMS) to measure and record microgravity acceleration environment of middeck experiments; and the Solid Surface Combustion Experiment to measure rate of flame spread and temperature of burning filter paper.

On flight day five, Runco and Harbaugh spent nearly five hours walking in the open payload bay, performing a series of extravehicular activity (EVA) tasks designed to increase NASA's knowledge of working in space. The two mission specialists tested their abilities to move about freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without using their hands, and simulated carrying large objects in the microgravity environment.

STS 54 ended when Endeavor landed 19 January 1993 on revolution 96 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, delayed one orbit due to ground fog at KSC. Rollout distance: 8,724 feet (2,659 meters). Rollout time: 49 seconds. Mission duration: five days, 23 hours, 38 minutes, 19 seconds. Orbit altitude: 165 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees.

The STS 54 flight crew was: John H. Casper, Commander; Donald R. McMonagle, Pilot; Mario Runco, Jr., Mission Specialist 1; Gregory J. Harbaugh, Mission Specialist 2; Susan J. Helms, Mission Specialist 3.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1997 21:15:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 81 Atlantis flight undocked from the Russian space station Mir, completing the fifth Shuttle-Mir docking mission.

STS 81 was launched 12 January 1997 on time after a smooth countdown. The flight was highlighted by the return of U.S. astronaut John Blaha to Earth after a 118 day stay aboard the Russian Space Station Mir (his place was taken by U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger who remained on Mir when STS 81 returned to Earth), and the largest transfer to date of logistics between a Shuttle and Mir. Atlantis also returned carrying the first plants to complete a life cycle in space - a crop of wheat grown from seed to seed. This fifth of nine planned dockings continued Phase 1B of the NASA/Russian Space Agency cooperative effort, with Linenger becoming the third U.S. astronaut in succession to live on Mir. The same payload configuration flown on previous docking flight, featuring the SPACEHAB Double module, was flown again.

Blaha had joined the Mir 22 crew of Commander Valeri Korzun and Flight Engineer Aleksandr Kaleri on 19 September 1996 when he arrived there with the crew of STS 79. Linenger worked with the Mir 22 crew until the arrival in February of the Mir 23 crew of Commander Vasili Tsibliev, Flight Engineer Aleksandr Lazutkin and German researcher Reinhold Ewald (who returned to Earth with the Mir 22 crew). Linenger stayed on Mir until the STS 84 mission arrived in May 1997.

Docking occurred at 10:55 p.m. EST on 14 January, followed by hatch opening at 12:57 a.m. on 15 January. Linenger officially traded places at 4:45 a.m. with Blaha who had spent 118 days on the station and 128 days total on-orbit. During five days of mated operations, the crews transferred nearly 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) of logistics to Mir, including around 1,600 pounds of water; around 1,138 pounds of U.S. science equipment; and 2,206 pounds of Russian logistical equipment. About 2,400 pounds of materials returned with Atlantis from Mir. Undocking occurred at 9:15 p.m. EST on 19 January, followed by a flyaround of Mir.

The STS 81 crew also tested the Treadmill Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (TVIS) on the Shuttle, designed for use in the Russian Service Module of the International Space Station. Another activity related to the International Space Station involved firing the orbiter's small vernier jet thrusters during mated operations to gather engineering data.

The STS 81 mission ended on 22 January 1997 when Atlantis landed on revolution 160 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the second KSC opportunity for the day. Rollout distance: 9,350 feet (2,850 meters). Rollout time: one minute, nine seconds. Mission duration: 10 days, four hours, 55 minutes, 21 seconds. Orbit altitude: 184 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 51.60 degrees. Miles traveled: 4.1 million.

The flight crew for STS 81 was: Michael A. Baker, Mission Commander; Brent W. Jett, Jr, Pilot; John M. Grunsfeld, Mission Specialist; Marsha S. Ivins, Mission Specialist; Peter J.K. Wisoff, Mission Specialist; Jerry M. Linenger, Mission Specialist (returned on STS 84); John E. Blaha returned from Mir (launched on STS 79).
ref: www.nasa.gov

2006 14:00:00 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Artist's impression of the New Horizons Pluto Kuiper Belt Flyby, NASA JPL illustration Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog new_horizons.jpg
Artist's impression of the New Horizons Pluto Kuiper Belt Flyby, NASA JPL illustration
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

New Horizons is a NASA unmanned spacecraft originally scheduled for launch 11 January 2006, designed to fly by Pluto and its moon Charon and transmit images and data back to Earth. The launch was delayed until 17 January 2006 to allow borescope inspections of the Atlas rocket's kerosene tank, and high winds at the launch site and a power outage at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland (which operates the spacecraft while the mission is underway) interrupted the second attempt. The spacecraft was finally launched successfully 19 January 2006 at 2:00 PM EST directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory. It had an Earth-relative velocity of about 16.26 km/sec (58,536 km/hr, 10.10 mi/sec, 36,373 mi/hr) after its last engine shut down, leaving Earth at the fastest speed ever recorded for a human-made object. It flew by Jupiter on 28 February 2007 at 5:43:40 UTC and crossed Saturn's orbit on 8 June 2008 at 10:00 UTC. After visiting Pluto on 14 July 2015, it continued into the Kuiper Belt where it flew by Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 (Ultima Thule) at 12:33AM EST on 1 January 2019 and returned further data.

The mission's primary objectives were to characterize the global geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon, map the surface composition of Pluto and Charon, and characterize the neutral atmosphere of Pluto and its escape rate. Other objectives included studying time variability of Pluto's surface and atmosphere, imaging and mapping areas of Pluto and Charon in stereo, mapping the terminators and composition of selected areas of Pluto and Charon at high-resolution, characterizing Pluto's upper atmosphere, ionosphere, energetic particle environment, and solar wind interaction, searching for an atmosphere around Charon and characterizing its energetic particle environment, refining bulk parameters, orbits, and bolometric Bond albedos of Pluto and Charon, searching for additional satellites and rings, and possibly characterizing one or more Kuiper Belt objects.

Flyby of Pluto took place on 14 July 2015 with closest approach at 11:48:45 UT (7:48:45 EDT). The encounter period began 6 months prior to closest approach. Long range imaging included 40 km mapping of Pluto and Charon 3.2 days out, half the rotation period of Pluto-Charon, imaging the side of both bodies which were facing away from the spacecraft at closest approach. New Horizons flew within 12,500 km of Pluto at a relative velocity of 11 km/s at closest approach and came as close as 27,000 km to Charon. During the flyby the instruments were able to obtain images with resolution as high as about 25 m/pixel, 4-color global dayside maps at 0.7 km/pixel, hyper-spectral near infrared maps at 7 km/pixel globally and 0.6 km/pixel for selected areas, characterization of the atmosphere, and radio science results. Because of the limited power available, the instruments were duty cycled during encounter. The flyby took place at a distance of 33 AU from Earth with a round-trip light time of 9 hours. Encounter data was transmitted to Earth at 600 bps over a 9-month period. After passing by Pluto, New Horizons is headed out to the Kuiper Belt. A 16-minute hydrazine thruster maneuver on 22 October 2015 put the spacecraft on course towards Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69. Three more maneuvers on 25 and 28 October, and 4 November 2015 put it on course for an encounter with MU69 on 1 January 2019. Similar measurements to those at Pluto were made.

Having travelled many billions of miles over a time span of nearly 13 years, NASA's New Horizons probe passed just 2200 miles (3500 km) from Ultima Thule (21 miles (33 km) long, about the size of Washington DC) at a speed of 32,000 mph (51,000 km/h) and returned useful data that's going to take 20 months to fully download about the dark, dirt-colored Kuiper Belt object.

The spacecraft has a thick triangle (0.68 x 2.11 x 2.74 m) shape with a cylindrical radiothermal generator (RTG) protruding from one vertex in the plane of the triangle and a 2.1 m high-gain radio dish antenna affixed to one flank side. An aluminum central cylinder supports surrounding honeycomb panels. The central cylinder acts as the payload adapter fitting and houses the propellant tank. The 465 kg launch mass included 80 kg of propellant. The entire structure is covered in thermal multi-layer insulating blankets; thermal control is further achieved by electrical dissipation and RTG waste heat, thermal louvers, and external shunt plates. Communication from Pluto was via X-band at a rate of 600 bps through the high gain antenna to a 70-m DSN dish. There were also two low gain antennas for communications within 5 AU and a medium gain antenna with uplink capability to 50 AU. The RTG provided approximately 228 W at encounter in 2015. Hydrazine monopropellant is used for propulsion via four 4.4 N thrusters and twelve 0.8 N thrusters, a delta-V capability of 290 m/s was available after launch. The hydrazine is stored in a titanium tank separated from the gaseous nitrogen pressurant by a girth-mounted diaphragm. The spacecraft has both 3-axis stabilized and spin-stabilized modes. Star cameras are mounted on the side of the spacecraft for navigation.

The 31 kg science payload package required 21 W of power and consisted of seven scientific instruments. The Long Range Reconnaisance Imager (LORRI) was a visible light, high-resolution CCD Imager. The Ralph instrument was composed of two parts, a visible CCD imager (MVIC) and a near-infrared imaging spectrometer (LEISA). The Alice instrument was an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer. The plasma and high energy particle spectrometer suite (PAM) consisted of SWAP, a toroidal electrostatic analyzer and retarding potential analyzer, and PEPSSI, a time-of-flight ion and electron sensor. The Radio Science Experiment (REX) used an ultrastable oscillator to conduct radio science investigations. A student-built dust counter (SDC) made dust measurements in the outer solar system.

Total mission cost is planned to be under $550 million.

see also NSSDCA Master Catalog
see also New Horizons on Wikipedia
ref: pluto.jhuapl.edu

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