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

John Herschel began using a camera obscura for photographs with a 48" (120cm) telescope.
ref: brightbytes.com

The destroyer USS Terry made the first rescue of an airplane at sea, saving the life of James McCurdy, 10 miles from Havana, Cuba.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Orville Wright, aviation pioneer

Orville Wright (19 August 1871 - 30 January 1948) and his brother Wilbur are generally credited with the design and construction of the first practical airplane, and making their first controllable, powered, heavier-than-air flight on 17 December 1903.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Ernst Heinkel, German aircraft designer and manufacturer (first jet- and rocket-powered aircraft)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The first commercial two way moving sidewalk at an airport went into service in Dallas, Texas. Moving sidewalks are being considered as a primary transportation system within space colonies.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1964 15:49:00 GMT
NASA launched the Ranger 6 Lunar impact mission which failed to return any pictures from the Moon.
Ranger 6 Lunar impact probe, NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog 64-041A.gif
Ranger 6 Lunar impact probe, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Ranger 6 was launched 30 January 1963 on a Lunar impact trajectory. It was planned the probe would transmit high-resolution photographs of the Lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish the photography objective. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality video pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft. Due to a failure of both camera systems no images were returned.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroids #2162 Anhui, #2456 Palamedes and #2592 Hunan.

1969 06:43:00 GMT
The US/Canadian ISIS 1 (International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies) was launched to study the ionosphere.

ISIS 1, launched 30 January 1969, was an ionospheric observatory instrumented with sweep- and fixed-frequency ionosondes, a VLF receiver, energetic and soft particle detectors, an ion mass spectrometer, an electrostatic probe, an electrostatic analyzer, a beacon transmitter, and a cosmic noise experiment. The sounder used two dipole antennas (73 and 18.7 m long). The satellite was spin-stabilized at about 2.9 rpm after antenna deployment. Some control was exercised over the spin rate and attitude by using magnetically induced torques to change the spin rate and to precess the spin axis. A tape recorder with a one hour capacity was included on the satellite. The satellite could be programmed to take recorded observations for four different time periods for each full recording period. The recorder data were dumped only at Ottawa, Canada. For non-tape-recorded observations, data for the satellite and subsatellite regions could be acquired and telemetered when the spacecraft was in the line of sight of telemetry stations. The selected telemetry stations were in areas that provided primary data coverage near the 80-degree-W meridian and in areas near Hawaii, Singapore, Australia, the UK, Norway, India, Japan, Antarctica, New Zealand, and Central Africa. NASA support of the ISIS project was terminated on 1 October 1979. A significant amount of experimental data, however, was acquired after this date by the Canadian project team. ISIS 1 operations were terminated in Canada on 9 March 1984. The Radio Research Laboratories (Tokyo, Japan) then requested and received permission to reactivate ISIS 1. Regular ISIS 1 operations were started from Kashima, Japan, in early August 1984. ISIS 1 was deactivated effective 24 January 1990.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

E. Bowell discovered asteroids #2603 Taylor, #2954 Delsemme, #2955 Newburn and #3192 A'Hearn.

Died, John Bardeen, physicist, two-time winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (transistor and superconductivity)

John Bardeen (23 May 1908 - 30 January 1991) was an American physicist. He is the only person to have won two Nobel prizes in Physics, in 1956 for the transistor, along with William Bradford Shockley and Walter Brattain, and in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity, now called BCS theory, together with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer.
ref: www.nobelprize.org

1992 08:07:17 PST (GMT -8:00:00)
NASA's STS 42 (Discovery 14, 45th Shuttle mission) landed at Edwards AFB after 8 days in space on the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 mission.

NASA launched the shuttle Discovery as flight STS 42 on 22 January 1992. On board was Dr. Roberta Bondar, a neurobiologist, a professor at University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada, and the first Canadian woman to go into space, as a payload specialist. The primary payload was the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1), making its first flight and using a pressurized Spacelab module. The international crew was divided into two teams for around-the-clock research on the human nervous system's adaptation to low gravity and effects of microgravity on other life forms such as shrimp eggs, lentil seedlings, fruit fly eggs, and bacteria. Materials processing experiments were also conducted, including crystal growth from a variety of substances such as enzymes, mercury iodide and a virus. On flight day six, mission managers concluded enough onboard consumables remained to extend the mission one day to continue the science experiments.

Secondary payloads were: 12 Get Away Special (GAS) canisters attached to a GAS Bridge Assembly in the cargo bay, containing a variety of US and international experiments.

Additional experiments in the middeck were: Gelation of Sols: Applied Microgravity Research-1 (GOSAMR-1); IMAX camera; Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP); Radiation Monitoring Experiment III (RME III); and two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments.

STS 42 ended on 30 January 1992 when Discovery landed on revolution 129 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,841 feet (3,000 meters). Rollout time: 58 seconds. Launch weight: 243,396 pounds. Landing weight: 1,218,016 pounds. [Really, NASA?] Orbit altitude: 163 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: eight days, one hour, 14 minutes, 44 seconds. Miles traveled: 2.9 million. Discovery was returned to KSC on 16 February 1992.

The STS 42 flight crew was: Ronald J. Grabe, Commander; Stephen S. Oswald, Pilot; Norman E. Thagard, Mission Specialist 1; David C. Hilmers, Mission Specialist 2; William F. Readdy, Mission Specialist 3; Roberta L. Bondar, Payload Specialist 1 (Canada); Ulf D. Merbold, Payload Specialist 2 (ESA/Germany).
ref: www.nasa.gov

Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Yuji Hyakutake.

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter completed its orbit adjustments as it was stabilized in its 400x400 km polar science orbit.

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey is the remaining part of the Mars Surveyor 2001 Project, which originally consisted of two separately launched missions, The Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter and the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander. The lander spacecraft was cancelled as part of the reorganization of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA. The orbiter, renamed the 2001 Mars Odyssey, was nominally planned to orbit Mars for three years with the objective of conducting a detailed mineralogical analysis of the planet's surface from orbit and measuring the radiation environment. The mission had as its primary science goals to gather data to help determine whether the environment on Mars was ever conducive to life, to characterize the climate and geology of Mars, and to study potential radiation hazards to possible future astronaut missions. The orbiter also acted (and is acting, as of 2022) as a communications relay for [future] missions to Mars. It has enough propellant to function until 2025.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey was launched aboard a Delta II 7425 on 7 April 2001. In August, during the cruise to Mars, the MARIE instrument failed to respond during a routine data transfer and was put into hibernation. (Attempts to revive the instrument were successful in March 2002, and MARIE began taking scientific data from orbit on 13 March 2002.) After a seven month cruise the spacecraft reached Mars on 24 October 2001. The spacecraft used a 19.7 minute propulsive maneuver to transfer into an 18.6 hour elliptical capture orbit and used aerobraking until 11 January 2002, when the spacecraft pulled out of the aerobraking orbit into a 201 x 500 km orbit. This orbit was trimmed over the next few weeks until it became a 2-hour, approximately 400 x 400 km polar science orbit on 30 January 2002. The science mapping mission began on 19 February 2002, and on 28 May 2002, NASA reported that Odyssey's GRS had detected large amounts of hydrogen, a sign that there must be ice lying within a meter of the planet's surface. The Orbiter acts as a communications relay for the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) which arrived in January 2004, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, and will possibly also do so for other future missions. Data was collected from orbit until the end of the 917 day nominal mission in July 2004, and the mission was first extended for another Martian year, until September 2006.

One of the orbiter's three flywheels failed in June 2012. However, Odyssey's design included a fourth flywheel, a spare carried against exactly this eventuality. The spare was spun up and successfully brought into service. Since July 2012, Odyssey has been back in full, nominal operation mode following three weeks of 'safe' mode on remote maintenance.

On 11 February 2014, mission control accelerated Odyssey's drift toward a morning-daylight orbit to "enable observation of changing ground temperatures after sunrise and after sunset in thousands of places on Mars". The desired change occurred gradually until the intended orbit geometry was reached on 12 November 2015 when another maneuver was conducted to halt the drift. The new observations could yield insight about the composition of the ground and about temperature-driven processes, such as warm-season flows observed on some slopes, Martian morning clouds seen by the Viking Orbiter 1 in 1976, and geysers fed by spring thawing of carbon dioxide (CO2) ice near Mars' poles.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey carries star cameras, the Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE), which measures the near-space radiation environment as related to the radiation-related risk to human explorers, the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS), which maps the mineralogy of the Martian surface using a high-resolution camera and a thermal infrared imaging spectrometer, and the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS), which maps the elemental composition of the surface and determines the abundance of hydrogen in the shallow subsurface.

The main body of the 2001 Mars Odyssey is a box of 2.2 meters x 1.7 meters x 2.6 meters. The orbiter is divided into two modules, the upper equipment module and the lower propulsion module. The equipment module holds the equipment deck which supports the engineering components and the science instruments. Above the equipment module, connected by struts, is the science deck, holding the star cameras, high energy neutron detector, UHF antenna, the THEMIS instrument and a deployable 6 meter boom holding the gamma sensor head for the GRS. A set of solar array panels extends out from one side of the main bus. A parabolic high-gain dish antenna is mounted on a mast extending from one corner of the bottom of the bus. The MARIE instrument is mounted inside the spacecraft. In the propulsion module are the fuel, oxidizer and helium pressurization tanks, and the main engine. The main engine is a hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide rocket which can produce 65.3 kg thrust, mounted in the bottom part of the propulsion module. The spacecraft had a launch mass of 725.0 kg, including 348.7 kg of fuel.

Attitude control is provided by four 0.1 kg thrusters and the spacecraft can be turned using four 2.3 kg thrusters. The spacecraft is three-axis stabilized using three primary reaction wheels and one backup. Navigation is provided by a Sun sensor, a star camera, and an inertial measurement unit. Power is provided by the gallium arsenide solar cells in the solar panel and a 16 amp-hr nickel hydrogen battery. Communications between the orbiter and Earth are in X-band via the high-gain antenna, and communications between the orbiter and any Mars landers are via the UHF antenna. Thermal control is achieved using a system of heaters, radiators, louvers, insulating blankets and thermal paint. Command and data handling is through a RAD6000 computer with 128 Mbytes RAM and 3 Mbytes of non-volatile memory.

See also the NASA/JPL 2001 Mars Odyssey Home Page
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

2020 14:30:00 PDT (GMT -7:00:00)
NASA retired the Spitzer Space Telescope, the final element in NASA's Great Observatories Program.

The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) is a 0.85-meter telescope with three cryogenically cooled instruments, operating in the 3 - 180 micron range. The observatory is the final element in NASA's Great Observatories Program. The science capabilities include imaging/photometry at 3 - 180 microns, spectroscopy at 5 - 40 microns, and spectrophotometry at 50 - 100 microns. Spitzer will study a wide variety of astronomical phenomena, extending from our Solar System to the distant reaches of the early Universe.

SIRTF was launched by the second Delta II Heavy on 25 August 2003. The second stage entered a 166 x 167 km x 31.5 deg Earth parking orbit, and after about 33 minutes of coast, passing south of Madagascar, restarted at 0613 UTC to enter a hyperbolic orbit with a perigee of 170 km, an eccentricity of 1.0061, and a velocity of 11.05 km/s. This placed it in a solar orbit of 0.996 x 1.019 AU x 1.14 deg with a year about 4 days longer than Earth's: Spitzer has an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit.

The spacecraft consists of an octagonal bus structure, and a solar array to power the science instruments. The pointing control subsystem employs a celestial-inertial, three-axis stabilized control system.

The Spitzer telescope is a lightweight reflector of Ritchey-Chretien design. The telescope has an 85 cm diameter aperture. The instruments selected include: 1) a four-channel infrared array camera imaging at 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8 microns; 2) an imaging photometer, with three detector arrays imaging at 24, 70, and 160 microns (one array will also take low-resolution spectra at 50 - 100 microns); 3) a spectrograph providing high- and low-resolution spectroscopy at mid-infrared wavelengths (5 - 40 microns).

Spitzer depleted its cryogenic cooling supplies on 15 May 2009. As of 25 August 2015, Spitzer's "warm" mission with instruments at 28K is continuing as investigators from around the world use the facility to study the cosmos. The 3.6 and 4.5 micron cameras are still working at peak performance in the near- to mid-infrared portion of the spectrum. Astronomers use the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) to study everything from comets and asteroids in our solar system, planets orbiting other stars, to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

See also NASA's Spitzer Final Voyage page which tells its story, showcases new science and highlights its most outstanding achievements during the 16 years it was active in space.
ref: www.spitzer.caltech.edu
ref: www.spitzer.caltech.edu

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