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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
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Died, Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Renaissance architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, geometer, astronomer, painter
ref: en.wikipedia.org

N. R. Pogson discovered asteroid #80 Sappho.

Born, E[dward] E[lmer] "Doc" Smith, US science fiction author
ref: en.wikipedia.org

E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1926 Demiddelaer.

The US FCC approved regular scheduled commercial TV broadcasts to begin on July first.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Werner von Braun and his German rocket team surrendered to the US Army in the interest of avoiding Soviet capture, successfully evading German SS troops sent to kill them and destroy their records.
ref: www.nmspacemuseum.org

A piece entitled "Preliminary Design of Experimental World Circling Spaceship" was published by the RAND Corporation.
ref: www.rand.org

The first commercial jet passenger airplane, a BOAC Comet, was put into service on a route between London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa.
ref: news.bbc.co.uk

C. H. Mayer, at the US Naval Research Laboratories in Washington, DC, first detected high temperature microwave radiation from Venus.
ref: adsabs.harvard.edu

Near Cuxhaven, Berthold Seliger launched a three stage rocket that reached a maximum flight altitude of more than 100 kilometers. It was the only sounding rocket developed in Germany.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

A. R. Klemola discovered asteroid #2014 Vasilevskis.

N. Chernykh discovered asteroids #2269 Efremiana, #2476 Andersen and #2625 Jack London.

Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers held a free concert at the Johnson Space Center Rocket Park, Houston, Texas for 15,000 space workers to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first manned Lunar landing.
ref: www.rolandnote.com

NASA's Mercury capsule Liberty Bell 7, flown by Gus Grissom, was located 3 miles (4.8 km) under water northwest of Grand Turk Island where it had sunk during post-flight recovery efforts.

Mercury Redstone 4 (MR-4, commonly known as "Liberty Bell 7"), launched 21 July 1961, was the second flight of an American rocket with a human on board (Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom) and NASA's last suborbital manned flight. Its objectives were to: (1) familiarize man with a brief but complete space flight experience, including the lift-off, powered flight, weightless flight (approximately 5 minutes), re-entry, and landing; (2) evaluate man's ability to perform as a functional unit during space flight by demonstrating manual control of spacecraft attitude before, during, and after retrofire, and by use of voice communications during flight; (3) study man's physiological reactions during space flight; and, (4) qualify the explosively-actuated side egress hatch.

From lift-off to re-entry, operational sequences were similar to those of the first manned suborbital flight, and Grissom's flight experience was similar to Shepard's in that there was a five minute period of weightlessness. As with Shepard, no ill effects resulting from this condition were reported. Control tests of spacecraft attitude in manual mode were also successfully completed and demonstrated their ease of use. The main configuration differences from the MR-3 spacecraft was the addition of a large viewing window and an explosively actuated side hatch.

During the 15 minute, 37 second flight, the spacecraft attained a maximum velocity of 5140 mph (8270 km/hour) and an altitude of 117 miles (189 km). The capsule landed 300 miles (483 km) down range from Cape Canaveral.

After splash-down, the explosive hatch activated prematurely while Grissom was waiting for helicopter pickup. Grissom immediately exited the capsule, and remained in the water while a helicopter attempted to lift the rapidly sinking spacecraft, though his suit was filling up with water through open oxygen inlet lines. The attempt to raise the spacecraft failed, Liberty Bell 7 thus became the first spacecraft to sink at sea. Grissom was lifted to another helicopter after spending 3-4 minutes in the water, and transported to the aircraft carrier USS Randolph.

Despite the functional failure of the explosive hatch and the loss of the spacecraft, MR-4 was deemed a successful mission. Subsequent investigation into the premature firing of the egress hatch resulted in more testing, but no premature firings occurred. A mechanical hatch was designed to replace the explosive hatch, but was never implemented due to weight constraints. The incident did result in a change of procedures which required the firing safety pin to remain in place until after the helicopter hook was attached and tension applied to the recovery cable.

Liberty Bell 7 came to rest some 4.8 km below the surface, 830 km northwest of Grand Turk Island. It was finally raised from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1999 after a number of expeditions. Two explorations of the area, in 1992 and 1993, were unsuccessful in locating the capsule. The next effort succeeded in locating the capsule on 2 May 1999, but the cable which linked the surface ship to the submersible (which would have towed the capsule to the surface) broke, resulting in the loss of the submersible, and temporarily dashing the hopes of those who intended to retrieve a piece of history. A final expedition, to recover both the submersible and the capsule, succeeded on 20 July 1999 in raising the capsule to the surface. Still attached to the capsule was the recovery line from the helicopter which tried to save it from sinking in 1961. Among the artifacts found inside were some of Grissom's gear, and some Mercury dimes which had been taken into space as souvenirs.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

US President Bill Clinton announced that GPS access equivalent to that available to the US military would be made available for civilian use.
ref: www.edn.com

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