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

Died (French revolutionary guillotine), Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, the "father of modern chemistry" (stated the first version of the Law of Conservation of Matter, recognized and named oxygen)
ref: www.famousscientists.org

Jerome Lalande, a French astronomer whose tables of planetary positions were the most accurate until the 19th Century, observed Neptune without recognising that it was not a star.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Eadweard Muybridge, photographer, motion picture pioneer (horse trot)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Alan Shepard received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in Washington, DC for his 5 May 1961 flight in Freedom 7 (MR-3) that made him the first American to reach space.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The first practical conversion plant for producing drinking water from sea water was opened by the US Department of Interior in Freeport, Texas.
ref: web.archive.org

1962 18:49:00 GMT
The first Atlas Centaur was launched. At about T+53 seconds the Centaur ruptured and disintegrated, liquid hydrogen spilled down the side of the first stage, igniting on contact with the Atlas' engine exhaust, destroying the launch vehicle.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1967 21:54:00 GMT
NASA's Lunar Orbiter 4 was injected into an elliptical, near polar, high orbit around the Moon.

Lunar Orbiter 4, launched 4 May 1967, was designed to take advantage of the fact the three previous Lunar Orbiters had completed the required needs for Apollo mapping and site selection. It was given a more general objective, to "perform a broad systematic photographic survey of Lunar surface features in order to increase the scientific knowledge of their nature, origin, and processes, and to serve as a basis for selecting sites for more detailed scientific study by subsequent orbital and landing missions." It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near polar high Lunar orbit on 7 May 1967 for data acquisition. The orbit was 2706 km x 6111 km with an inclination of 85.5 degrees and a period of 12 hours.

After initial photography on 11 May 1967, problems started occurring with the camera's thermal door, which was not responding well to commands to open and close. Fear that the door could become stuck in the closed position, covering the camera lenses, led to a decision to leave the door open. This required extra attitude control manuevers on each orbit to prevent light leakage into the camera which would ruin the film. On 13 May it was discovered that light leakage was damaging some of the film, and the door was tested and partially closed. Some fogging of the lens was then suspected due to condensation resulting from the lower temperatures. Changes in the spacecraft's attitude raised the temperature of the camera and generally eliminated the fogging. Continuing problems with the readout drive mechanism starting and stopping beginning on 20 May resulted in a decision to terminate the photographic portion of the mission on 26 May. Despite problems with the readout drive, the entire film was read and transmitted. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from 11 May to 26 May 1967, and readout occurred through 1 June 1967. The orbit was then lowered to gather orbital data for the upcoming Lunar Orbiter 5 mission.

A total of 419 high resolution and 127 medium resolution frames were acquired covering 99% of the Moon's near side at resolutions from 58 meters to 134 meters. Accurate data were acquired from all other experiments throughout the mission. Radiation data showed increased dosages due to solar particle events producing low energy protons. The spacecraft was used for tracking purposes until it impacted the Lunar surface due to the natural decay of the orbit on 31 October 1967, between 22 and 30 degrees W longitude.

Results of the Lunar Orbiter Program

NASA's Lunar Orbiter program consisted of 5 Lunar Orbiters which returned photographs of 99% of the surface of the Moon (both the near and far sides) with resolution down to 1 meter. Altogether the Orbiters returned 2180 high resolution and 882 medium resolution frames. The micrometeoroid experiments recorded 22 impacts showing the average micrometeoroid flux near the Moon was about two orders of magnitude greater than in interplanetary space but slightly less than the near Earth environment. The radiation experiments confirmed that the design of the Apollo hardware would protect the astronauts from average and greater-than-average short term exposure to solar particle events. The use of the Lunar Orbiters for tracking to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program was successful, with three Lunar Orbiters (2, 3, and 5) being tracked simultaneously from August to October 1967. The Lunar Orbiters were all eventually commanded to crash on the Moon before their attitude control gas ran out so they would not present navigational or communications hazards to the later Apollo flights.

See also Wikipedia, Lunar Orbiter 4
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

L. Brozek discovered asteroid #3419.

Died, Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction writer often called the "dean of science fiction writers", an influential and controversial author of the genre in his time
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1989 12:43:26 PDT (GMT -7:00:00)
NASA's STS 30 (Atlantis 4, 29th Shuttle mission) landed after carrying the Magellan/Venus Radar Mapper spacecraft to orbit, the first US planetary mission in 11 years, and the first carried into orbit on the Shuttle.

The STS 30 launch on 28 April 1989 was scrubbed at T-31 seconds due to a problem with the liquid hydrogen recirculation pump on the number one main engine and a vapor leak in a four inch liquid hydrogen recirculation line between the orbiter and the external tank. Repairs were made and the launch was reset for 4 May 1989. Liftoff was delayed until the last five minutes of the 64 minute window due to cloud cover and high winds at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle runway, violating return-to-launch site limits.

The primary payload aboard STS 30, the Magellan/Venus radar mapper spacecraft and its attached Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), were deployed six hours, 14 minutes into the flight. The IUS first and second stage fired as planned, boosting the Magellan spacecraft on the proper trajectory for its 15 month journey to Venus. Magellan was the first US planetary science spacecraft launched in eleven years, and the first to be carried into space aboard a Shuttle.

The secondary payloads on STS 30 were: the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment (MLE), microgravity research with the Fluids Experiment Apparatus (FEA), and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

One of the five general purpose computers (GPC) failed and had to be replaced with a sixth onboard hardware spare. This was the first time a GPC was switched on orbit.

STS 30 ended 8 May 1989 when Atlantis landed on revolution 65 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 10,295 feet. Rollout time: 64 seconds. Launch weight: 261,118 pounds. Landing weight: 194,789 pounds. Orbit altitude: 184 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.8 degrees. Mission duration: four days, zero hours, 56 minutes, 27 seconds. Miles traveled: 1.7 million. The orbiter returned to Kennedy Space Center on 15 May 1989.

The flight crew for STS 30 was: David M. Walker, Commander; Ronald J. Grabe, Pilot; Norman E. Thagard, Mission Specialist 1; Mary L. Cleave, Mission Specialist 2; Mark C. Lee, Mission Specialist 3.
ref: www.nasa.gov

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