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Meteorites notably fell in L'Aigle, France. Jean-Baptiste Biot, sent by the French Academy of Sciences to investigate the event, wrote a "passionate" paper arguing their extraterrestrial origin that effectively gave birth to the science of meteoritics.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

A. De Gasparis discovered asteroid #83 Beatrix.

J. Perrotin discovered asteroid #163 Erigone.

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #236 Honoria.

Born, Aleksandr Mikhailov, a leading Russian astronomer, member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, director of the Pulkovo Observatory
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Charles Richter, geophysicist, inventor (Richter Magnitude Scale, for measurement of earthquake intensity)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #756 Lilliana.

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #868 Lova.

Harlow Shapley and Heber D. Curtis held a "great debate" on the nature of nebulae.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Y. Vaisala discovered asteroid #2091 Sampo.

1962 10:04:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 4 (also called Sputnik 14).

Cosmos 4, launched 26 April 1962, was one of a series of Soviet Earth satellites whose purpose was to study outer space, the upper layers of the atmosphere, and Earth. Its purpose was to measure radiation before and after the US nuclear tests conducted during project Starfish. Scientific data and measurements were relayed to Earth by multichannel telemetry systems equipped with space borne memory units.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1962 12:49:53 GMT
NASA Ranger 4 became the first US craft to reach the Moon, impacting the far side without returning any scientific data because a timer failure prevented its solar panels from being deployed after launch.

Ranger 4, launched 23 April 1962, was designed to transmit pictures of the Lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting on the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of Lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. Due to an apparent failure of a timer in the spacecraft's central computer and sequencer following launch, the command signals for the extension of the solar panels and the operation of the Sun and Earth acquisition system were never given. The instrumentation ceased operation after about 10 hours of flight. The spacecraft was tracked by the battery-powered 50 milliwatt transmitter in the Lunar landing capsule. Ranger 4 impacted the far side of the Moon (229.3 degrees E, 15.5 degrees S) at 9600 km/hr on 26 April 1962 after 64 hours of flight, without returning any scientific data.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1962 18:00:00 GMT
The joint US/UK satellite Ariel 1 was launched to contribute to the current knowledge of the ionosphere and of sun-ionosphere relationships, the first satellite [partly] built by a nation other than US or USSR.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1967 10:04:00 GMT
San Marco 2 was launched from platform off the coast of Kenya to study atmospheric density, electron density irregularities and ducted radio propagation. It was the first launch from a sea-based platform, and the first from a facility on the Equator.
San Marco 2 satellite, NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog san_marco_1_2.jpg
San Marco 2 satellite, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

NASA announced the decision to discontinue the quarantine of astronauts returning from the Moon for the remaining Apollo flights.
ref: www.hq.nasa.gov

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #3649.

1978 10:20:00 GMT
NASA launched the HCMM spacecraft to provide comprehensive, accurate, high-spatial-resolution thermal surveys of the surface of the Earth..
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1986 01:23:00 Moscow Time (GMT +3:00:00)
Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear plant exploded, creating the world's worst nuclear disaster to date (2022). Thirty-one people were killed directly by the incident, thousands more were exposed to signifcant radioactive contamination.
Chernobyl Reactor 4 several months after the disaster.Source:Wikipedia 288px-IAEA_02790015_%285613115146%29.jpg
Chernobyl Reactor 4 several months after the disaster.

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. The accident started during a safety test on an RBMK-type nuclear reactor. The test was a simulation of an electrical power outage to help create a safety procedure for maintaining reactor cooling water circulation until the back-up electrical generators could provide power. During the planned decrease of reactor power in preparation for the electrical test, the power unexpectedly dropped to a near-zero level. The operators were able to only partially restore the specified test power, which put the reactor in an unstable condition. Upon completion of the test, the operators triggered a reactor shutdown, but a combination of unstable conditions and reactor design flaws caused an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction instead. Two explosions ruptured the reactor core and destroyed the reactor building. This was immediately followed by an open-air reactor core fire that released considerable airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days that precipitated onto parts of the USSR and western Europe, especially Belarus, 16 km away. The fire gradually released about the same amount of contamination as the initial explosion. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles - roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation. Nuclear clean-up of the site is scheduled for completion in 2065, but the radiation from the fallout is expected to last for nearly a thousand years.
ref: www.angelfire.com
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1988 01:57:00 GMT
The US Navy launched Transit-O 23 and Transit-O 32 on a Scout G1 booster from Vandenburg AFB, California, part of the Navy Navigation Satellite system.
ref: space.skyrocket.de

1993 10:50:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 55 (Columbia 14, 55th Shuttle mission) for the D-2 Spacelab Mission (the second German-dedicated Spacelab).

The launch of STS 55 was first set for late February 1993, but was slipped to early March after questions arose about turbine blade tip seal retainers in the high pressure oxidizer turbopumps on the orbiter main engines. When engineers could not verify whether old or new retainers were installed on Columbia, NASA opted to replace all three turbopumps at the pad as a precautionary measure.

The new launch date of 14 March slipped again after a hydraulic flex hose burst in the aft compartment during the Flight Readiness Test. All 12 hydraulic lines in the aft compartment were removed and inspected; nine lines were re-installed, and three new lines were put in.

The launch set for 21 March was pushed back 24 hours due to range conflicts caused by a Delta II one day launch delay. The liftoff attempt on 22 March was aborted at T-3 seconds by the orbiter computers due to incomplete ignition of the number three main engine. A liquid oxygen preburner check valve leaked internally, causing an overpressurized purge system, which in turn precluded full engine ignition. This was the first on-the-pad main engine abort since the return to flight following the Challenger disaster, and third in the program history (STS 51-F (July 1985) and STS 41-D (August 1984) were the other two). The valve leak was later traced to contamination during manufacturing. NASA decided to replace all three main engines on Columbia with spares.

The launch was then reset for 24 April, but scrubbed early on the launch morning when one of the three Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) on the orbiter gave a possible faulty reading. Liftoff was postponed 48 hours to allow removal and replacement of the IMU. The final launch countdown on 26 April 1993 proceeded smoothly.

Spacelab D-2 was the second Spacelab flight under German mission management; around the clock operations were performed by the crew, divided into two teams. 88 experiments were conducted, covering materials and life sciences, technology applications, Earth observations, astronomy and atmospheric physics. Material science investigations were: Material Science Experiment Double Rack for Experiment Modules and Apparatus (MEDEA); Werkstofflabor (WL); Holographic Optics Laboratory (HOLOP); and on the Unique Support Structure (USS) located aft of D-2 in the cargo bay, Material Science Autonomous Payload (MAUS), and Atomic Oxygen Exposure Tray (AOET). Also located on the USS were Radiation Detectors (RD) experiments. One crystal growth experiment yielded 0.78-inch (20-mm) crystal of gallium arsenide, the largest produced in space to date.

Life science research performed with Anthrorack (AR); Biolabor (BB); and Baroreflex (BA). Anthrorack, an advanced mini-diagnostic laboratory, allowed the most comprehensive medical screening to date of human adaptation to weightlessness. Harris, a medical doctor, set up the first IV (intravenous) line in space, injecting Schlegel with saline as part of the study to replace body fluids lost during adaptation to weightlessness. Other payload crew members also participated.

Tests with Robotics Experiment (ROTEX), an advanced robotic assembly provided by Germany, were highly successful. The ROTEX robotic arm performed first by capturing a free-floating object in space via remote control from Earth. The crew achieved two-way communications with the Crew Telesupport Experiment, which featured an onboard Macintosh computer to establish a data link with ground control. Five crew members communicated with school children worldwide through the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX); Nagel also made contact with Russian cosmonauts aboard the Mir space station.

Problems encountered were an overheating orbiter refrigerator/freezer unit in the middeck which forced reliance on a backup to store experiment samples, and a leaking nitrogen line in the wastewater tank which required an on-orbit fix. Communications with Columbia were lost for about hour and a half on 4 May due to an errant command from Mission Control in Houston. On 2 May, mission managers determined enough electrical power remained to extend the flight by one day.

STS 55 ended 6 May 1993 when Columbia landed on revolution 160 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The landing originally set for Kennedy Space Center was moved to Edwards because of cloud cover. Rollout distance: 10,125 feet (3,086 meters). Rollout time: 61 seconds. Landing weight: 244,400 pounds. Orbit altitude: 163 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.45 degrees. Mission duration: nine days, 23 hours, 39 minutes, 59 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.2 million.

With Columbia's return, the Shuttle fleet had accumulated a flight time totaling 365 days, 23 hours and 48 minutes: The Shuttle fleet had achieved total flight time of over one year.

The flight crew for STS 55 was: Steven R. Nagel, Commander; Terence T. Henricks, Pilot; Jerry L. Ross, Mission Specialist 1; Charles J. Precourt, Mission Specialist 2; Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., Mission Specialist 3; Dr. Ulrich Walter, Payload Specialist 1; Hans Schlegel, Payload Specialist 2.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1998 06:45:00 PDT (GMT -7:00:00)
The Cassini space probe flew by Venus as part of its trajectory to Saturn.
ref: web.archive.org

2003 03:54:00 GMT
Russia launched Soyuz TMA-2 from Baikonur to the International Space Station.

Soyuz TMA-2 was a Russian passenger transport craft launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur on 26 April 2003, carring two astronauts, US astronaut Edward Lu and Russian Yuri Malenchenko, for a six month stay at the International Space Station (ISS) to perform microgravity biology experiments. It docked with the ISS on 28 April 2003. The two man crew provided minimal manning for the station following the Columbia re-entry failure. The previous three man crew on the ISS left the station on 4 May 2003 in the earlier Soyuz TMA-1 that had remained docked since it arrived.

Russia's Soyuz TMA-2 landed 28 October 2003 with US astronaut Edward Lu, Russian Yuri Malenchenko and Spaniard Pedro Duque returning from the International Space Station (ISS), 35 kilometers south of Arkalyk. Crew recovery was delayed by a snowstorm in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, and by heavy fog grounding all of the rescue party's helicopters.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

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