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

Died (Gregorian calendar date), Otto von Guericke, German scientist, inventor, politician (physics of vacuums)

Otto von Guericke (originally spelled Gericke) (born 30 November 1602 (Gregorian calendar, 20 November Julian calendar) in Magdeburg, Germany, died 21 May 1686 (Gregorian calendar, 11 May Julian calendar) in Hamburg, Germany; was a German scientist, inventor, and politician (mayor of Magdeburg from 1646 to 1676).

His major scientific achievement was the establishment of the physics of vacuums. He invented the piston air pump to produce a vacuum and investigated the properties of the vacuum in many experiments.

He demonstrated the force of air pressure with dramatic experiments, e.g. in 1663 at the court of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Brandenburg, Guericke had joined two copper hemispheres of 51 cm diameter (Magdeburg hemispheres) and pumped the air out of the enclosure. Then he harnessed a team of eight horses to each hemisphere and showed that they were not able to separate the hemispheres. When air was again let into the enclosure, they were easily separated. He repeated this demonstration in Berlin in 1663 with 24 horses.

With his experiments Guericke disproved the hypothesis of "horror vacui", that nature abhors a vacuum, that for centuries was a problem for philosophers and scientists. Guericke proved that substances were not pulled by a vacuum, but were pushed by the pressure of the surrounding fluids.

Guericke applied the barometer to weather prediction and thus prepared the way for meteorology.

His later works focussed on electricity, but little is preserved of his results. He invented the first electrostatic generator, the "Elektrisiermaschine."
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Glenn Hammond Curtiss, aviation pioneer, airplane builder
ref: en.wikipedia.org

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #197 Arete.

Born, Sergei Konstantinovich Tumansky, Russian Chief Designer and General Designer of OKB-300 1955-1973, specialized in aircraft turbine engines, also produced spacecraft attitude control engines
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf and L. Carnera discovered asteroid #480 Hansa.

Died, Williamina Fleming, Scottish/American astronomer, helped develop a common designation system for stars, catalogued thousands of stars and other astronomical phenomena, discovered the Horsehead Nebula (1888)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf discovered asteroids #872 Holda and #873 Mechthild.

H. E. Wood discovered asteroid #982 Franklina.

Born, Pavel Artemyevich Agadzhanov, Russia, Deputy Chief for Scientific Research at Central KIK Tracking Centre, 1957-1971; assigned to 4-NII to study tracking of liquid propellant rockets (1945), space tracking stations for the first Sputnik in 1957
ref: www.astronautix.com

1927 22:22:00 GMT
Charles Lindbergh touched down at Le Bourget Field, Paris, after completing the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
ref: www.charleslindbergh.com

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1304 Arosa.

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1196 Sheba.

Born, Anatoli Semyonovich Levchenko (at Krasnokutsk, Kharkov Oblast, Ukrainian SSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-4/Mir/Soyuz TM-3; nearly 7d 22h in spaceflight) (deceased)
ref: www.spacefacts.de

Born, Robert C. Springer (at St Louis, Missouri, USA), Colonel USMC, NASA astronaut (STS 29, STS 38; over 9d 21.5h total time in spaceflight)
Astronaut Robert Springer, NASA photo Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable May 2019) Robert_Springer.jpg
Astronaut Robert Springer, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable May 2019)
ref: www.nasa.gov

Born, Dr. Ernst Willi Messerschmid (at Reutlingen, Germany), ESA astronaut (STS 61A; nearly 7d 0.75h in spaceflight)
ESA astronaut Dr. Ernst Willi Messerschmid, NASA photoSource: Wikipedia Ernst_Messerschmid_1.jpg
ESA astronaut Dr. Ernst Willi Messerschmid, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia
ref: www.esa.int

In the first US transcontinental round-trip flight made in one day, Lt. John M. Conroy piloted an F-86 Sabrejet from Los Angeles to New York and back.
ref: www.infoplease.com

Born, Ivan Bella (at Dolna Lehota, Slovakia), Lt Colonel Slovakian AF, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-29/Soyuz TM-28; nearly 7d 22h in spaceflight)
Slovakian cosmonaut Ivan Bella (30 April 2009)Source: Wikipedia 320px-Ivan_Bella_%28Author_-_Rudolf_Csiba%29.jpg
Slovakian cosmonaut Ivan Bella (30 April 2009)
Source: Wikipedia
ref: www.spacefacts.de

1964 17:39:00 GMT
NASA launched X-15A SUV/BLN test mission # 108 which had a premature engine shutdown at 41 sec. and was forced to make an emergency landing at Cuddleback Lake. Max speed: 1864 mph (3001 kph, Mach 2.90), max altitude: 64,200 ft (19.568 km, 12.159 mi).
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1969 20:44:54 GMT
NASA's Apollo 10 entered its initial 315.5 km x 110.4 km (196 x 68.6 mi) Lunar orbit during the final "dry run" mission prior to the first manned Moon landing.

Apollo 10, launched 18 May 1969, was the second Apollo mission to orbit the Moon, and the first to travel to the Moon with the full Apollo spacecraft, consisting of the Command and Service Module (CSM-106, "Charlie Brown") and the Lunar Module (LM-4, "Snoopy"). The CSM mass of 28,834 kg included propellants and expendables; the LM mass including propellants was 13,941 kg. The primary objectives of the mission were to demonstrate crew, space vehicle, and mission support facilities during a manned Lunar mission and to evaluate LM performance in cislunar and Lunar environment. The mission was a full "dry run" for the Apollo 11 mission, in which all operations except the actual Lunar landing were performed. The flight carried a three man crew: Commander Thomas P. Stafford, Command Module (CM) Pilot John W. Young, and Lunar Module (LM) Pilot Eugene A. Cernan.

After launch, the spacecraft was inserted into a 189.9 km x 184.4 km Earth parking orbit at 17:00:54 UT, followed by translunar injection after 1 1/2 orbits at 19:28:21 UT. The CSM separated from the Saturn V 3rd stage (S-IVB) at 19:51:42 UT, transposed, and docked with the LM at 20:06:37. TV coverage of the docking procedures was transmitted to the Goldstone, California tracking station for worldwide commercial viewing. Having achieved a trajectory towards the Moon, the Apollo 10 LM and CSM decoupled from the SIVB at 20:45 UT on 18 May and made a course correction to head for Lunar orbit. The SIVB stage was put on a ballistic trajectory by venting residual propellants where it flew by the Moon on 21 May and entered solar orbit.

On 19 May, the crew elected not to make the first of a series of midcourse maneuvers. A second preplanned midcourse correction that adjusted the trajectory to coincide with a July Lunar landing trajectory was executed at 3:19 pm EDT. The maneuver was so accurate that the preplanned third and fourth midcourse corrections were canceled. During the translunar coast, five color TV transmissions, totaling 72 minutes, were made of the spacecraft and the Earth.

After a three day cruise, Apollo 10 entered an initial 315.5 km x 110.4 km Lunar orbit on 21 May 1969 at 20:44:54 UT, using a 356 sec. SPS burn. A second SPS burn lasting 19.3 seconds circularized the orbit to 113.9 km x 109.1 km.

On 22 May, Stafford and Cernan entered the LM and fired the SM reaction control thrusters to separate the LM from the CSM at 19:36:17 UT. The LM was put into an orbit to allow low altitude passes over the Lunar surface, the closest approach bringing it to within 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) of the Moon. All systems on the LM were tested during the separation including communications, propulsion, attitude control, and radar. The tests included a test of the landing radar, visual observation of Lunar lighting, stereo photography of the Moon, and execution of a phasing maneuver using the descent engine. The LM made a low-level pass over the planned site for the first Lunar landing. Numerous close-up photographs of the Moon's surface, in particular the planned Apollo landing sites, were taken. The LM descent stage was jettisoned into Lunar orbit. An error in switch positions brought a heart-stopping moment when the LM ascent stage went into wild gyrations after separation from the descent stage, possibly a fatal error if it had occurred during take off from the surface on a landing mission. The LM and CSM rendezvous and redocking occurred 8 hours after separation at 03:22 UT on 23 May.

Later on 23 May, the LM ascent stage was jettisoned into solar orbit after its batteries were burned to depletion. On 24 May, at 10:25:29 UT, after 61.5 hours in 31 Lunar orbits, the CSM rockets were fired for transearth injection. During the return trip, the astronauts made star-Lunar landmark sightings, star-Earth horizon navigation sightings, and live television transmissions. CM-SM separation took place on 26 May at 16:22:26 UT, and Apollo 10 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 26 May 1969 at 16:52:23 UT (12:52:23 p.m. EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 192 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds. The splashdown point was 15 deg 2 min S, 164 deg 39 min W, 400 miles east of American Samoa and 5.5 km (3.4 mi) from the recovery ship USS Princeton.

All systems on both spacecraft functioned nominally, the only exception being an anomaly in the automatic abort guidance system aboard the LM. In addition to extensive photography of the Lunar surface from both the LM and CSM, television images were taken and transmitted to Earth.

The Apollo 10 Command Module "Charlie Brown" is on display at the Science Museum, London, England.

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two Lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a Lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of these six missions walked on the Moon (Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt), the only humans to have set foot on another solar system body (as of 2015).
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3018 Godiva; and P. Wild discovered asteroid #2731 Cucula.

1986 08:21:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz TM-1, an unmanned test of the new Soyuz TM, which docked with the space station Mir.

Soyuz TM-1 was launched 21 May 1986, an unmanned test of the new Soyuz vehicle. It docked with the Mir space station on 23 May 1987, undocked 29 May, and was recovered 30 May 1986.

Officially, Soyuz TM-1 was a comprehensive experimental testing of the spacecraft in independent flight and jointly with the Mir orbital station.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1986 17:30:00 GMT
USSR launched Foton 2 from Plesetsk materials science research.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1988 17:57:00 GMT
USSR launched a Proton rocket carrying three Glonass satellites for testing components and apparatus of the space navigation system being set up to determine positions of Soviet civil aircraft and vessels in the Soviet merchant marine and fishing fleet.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1997 21:04:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA STS 48 (Atlantis) undocked from the Russian Mir space station at the close of the sixth Shuttle-Mir mission.

NASA's launch of STS 84 on 15 May 1997 occurred on time following a smooth countdown. The sixth Shuttle-Mir docking was highlighted by the transfer of the fourth successive US crew member to the Russian Space Station when astronaut Mike Foale exchanged places with Jerry Linenger, who arrived at Mir on 15 January with the crew of STS 81. Linenger spent 123 days on Mir and just over 132 days in space from launch to landing, placing him second behind US astronaut Shannon Lucid for most the time spent on-orbit by an American. Another milestone reached during his stay was the one year anniversary of a continuous US presence in space that began with Lucid's arrival at Mir on 22 March 1996.

Other significant events during Linenger's stay included the first US-Russian space walk: On 29 April, Linenger participated in a five hour extravehicular activity (EVA) with Mir 23 Commander Vasily Tsibliev to attach a monitor to the outside of the station. The Optical Properties Monitor (OPM) was to remain on Mir for nine months to allow study of the effect of the space environment on optical properties, such as mirrors used in telescopes.

On 23 February, a fire broke out on the 11 year old station. It caused minimal damage, but required station's inhabitants to wear protective masks for about 36 hours until the cabin air was cleaned. Besides Linenger, crew members aboard Mir at the time included two Mir 22 cosmonauts and a German cosmonaut, and two Mir 23 cosmonauts.

STS 84 docked with Mir on 16 May above the Adriatic Sea. Hatches between two spacecraft opened at 12:25 am EDT, 17 May. Greetings were exchanged between the STS 84 crew and Mir 23 Commander Vasily Tsibliev, Flight Engineer Alexander Lazutkin and Linenger, followed by a safety briefing. Linenger and Foale officially traded places at 10:15 am EDT on 17 May 1997.

Transfer of items to and from Mir proceeded smoothly and was completed ahead of schedule. One of first items transferred to the station was an Elektron oxygen generating unit. Altogether, 249 items were moved between the two spacecraft, and about 1,000 pounds of water moved to Mir, for a total of about 7,500 pounds of water, experiment samples, supplies and hardware.

The research program planned for Foale during his stay aboard Mir featured 35 investigations (33 on Mir, two on STS 84, with a preflight/postflight component) in six disciplines: advanced technology, Earth observations and remote sensing, fundamental biology, human life sciences, space station risk mitigation, and microgravity sciences. Twenty-eight of these were conducted during previous missions and were to be continued, repeated or completed during Foale's stay. Seven new experiments were planned in biological and crystal growth studies and materials processing.

Undocking occurred on 21 May. Unlike prior dockings, no flyaround of the station by the orbiter was conducted, but the orbiter was stopped three times while backing away to collect data from a European sensor device designed to assist future rendezvous of a proposed European Space Agency resupply vehicle with the International Space Station.

Other activities conducted during the mission included investigations using the Biorack facility, located in the SPACEHAB Double Module in Atlantis' payload bay, a photo survey of Mir during docked operations, environmental air samplings and radiation monitoring.

STS 84 ended 24 May 1997 when Atlantis landed on revolution 144 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the second KSC opportunity after being waved off from the first due to low clouds in the vicinity. Orbit altitude: 184 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Rollout distance: 8,384 feet (2,555 meters). Rollout time: 51 seconds. Mission duration: nine days, five hours, 19 minutes, 56 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.6 million.

The flight crew for STS 84 was: Charles J. Precourt, Mission Commander; Eileen M. Collins, Pilot; Jean-Francois Clervoy, (ESA) Mission Specialist; Carlos I. Noriega, Mission Specialist; Edward T. Lu, Mission Specialist; Elena V. Kondakova, (RSA) Mission Specialist; C. Michael Foale, Mission Specialist (returned on STS 86); Jerry M. Linenger returned from Mir (launched on STS 81).
ref: www.nasa.gov

2001 22:42:00 GMT
Russia launched Progress M1-6 to the International Space Station, also designated as ISS supply mission 4P.

Progress M1-6 was an ISS Servicing flight launched 20 May 2001, delayed from 12 April. This Progress resupply mission to the ISS was launched by the first Soyuz-FG rocket, a modified Soyuz-U with 5 percent improved perfomance using new fuel utilization systems. Progress M1-6, after launch, was also designated as ISS supply mission 4P. It carried 2.5 tons of food, fuel, water, life-support material, and equipment, including spare computer equipment for the ISS Destiny module. Nearly one ton of the fuel was for raising the altitude of the ISS. Progress M1-6 docked with Zvezda's aft (-Y) port at 0024 GMT on 23 May. It undocked at 0601 GMT on 22 August, and deorbited at around 0900 GMT the same day.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

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