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

The Donati Comet was first seen, named after its discoverer.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Guglielmo Marconi filed a patent in England for his newest invention, the radio. The patent was granted 2 July 1897.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The first round trip flight over the English Channel without stopping was made by Sir Charles S. Rolls of England, covering 42 miles in 90 minutes.
ref: books.google.com

Born, Aleksei Fedorovich Bogomolov, Russian engineer, Chief Designer 1954-1988 of OKB MEI, supervised development of telemetry, communications, and guidance systems for many Soviet missiles, launch vehicles, and satellites
ref: encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com

Born, Lester del Rey, US science fiction author and publisher
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Charles Peter "Pete" Conrad Jr. (at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Apollo 12, Skylab 2; over 49d 3.5h total in spaceflight), third on the Moon, only one to fly in Gemini, Apollo, Skylab (deceased)
Astronaut Pete Conrad, NASA photo (29 October 1969) Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable June 2019) Conrad_cropped.jpg
Astronaut Pete Conrad, NASA photo (29 October 1969)
Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable June 2019)

Charles Peter "Pete" Conrad Jr. (2 June 1930 - 8 July 1999) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He attained the rank of Captain in the US Navy before retiring, and was a NASA astronaut, flying in the Gemini 5, Gemini 11, Apollo 12 and Skylab 2 missions. Over the course of his four flights, he accumulated a total time of 49 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes in spaceflight. He was the third person to walk on the Moon, and the only astronaut to fly in all three of the Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab programs.

After leaving NASA, Mr. Conrad served as Vice President of ATC (Denver, Colorado), Vice President of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and Chief of Universal Space Lines.

Conrad died at Ojai, California, USA of complications from internal bleeding caused by injuries received in a motorcycle accident.

See also Wikipedia
ref: www.nasa.gov

Born, Mark Lewis Polansky (at Paterson, New Jersey, USA), test pilot, NASA astronaut (STS 98, STS 116, STS 127; over 41d 10.75h total time in spaceflight)
Astronaut Mark Polansky, NASA photo (24 January 2001)Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021) 384px-Mark_Polansky.jpg
Astronaut Mark Polansky, NASA photo (24 January 2001)
Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021)
ref: www.nasa.gov

Captain Joseph Kittinger rode the Manhigh I balloon to 95,200 feet (29.017 km) in the first balloon ascent into the stratosphere.
ref: stratocat.com.ar

The New York Times reprinted a Pravda article describing putting objects in Earth orbit, something Victor Appleton's Tom Swift described in "Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship" three years earlier. See also https://www.thespacereview.com/article/1457/1
ref: er.jsc.nasa.gov

Died, Mikhail Vasilyevich Khrunichev, Russian Minister of Aviation Industries 1946-1953
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1962 00:43:00 GMT
The world's 100th launch into orbit placed the OSCAR 2 (ham radio) and US Air Force KH-4 9036 satellites in orbit.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1966 06:17:36 GMT
NASA's Surveyor 1 became the first US mission to make a soft landing on the Moon, from which it returned pictures from the surface.
Lunar surface imaged by Surveyor 1. Figure 7-41 of NASA SP-184 Source: Wikipedia 491px-Surveyor_1_Fig_7-41a2.jpg
Lunar surface imaged by Surveyor 1. Figure 7-41 of NASA SP-184
Source: Wikipedia

Surveyor 1, launched 30 May 1966, was the first spacecraft in NASA's Surveyor program, and the first to make a soft landing on the Moon for the US. The mission was considered a complete success, and demonstrated the technology necessary to achieve landing and operations on the Lunar surface. The primary objectives of the Surveyor program, a series of seven robotic Lunar soft landing flights, were to support the coming crewed Apollo landings by: (1) developing and validating the technology for landing softly on the Moon; (2) providing data on the compatibility of the Apollo design with conditions encountered on the Lunar surface; and (3) adding to the scientific knowledge of the Moon. The specific primary objectives for Surveyor 1 were to: (1) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor spacecraft to perform successful midcourse and terminal maneuvers, and to achieve a soft landing on the Moon; (2) demonstrate the capability of the Surveyor communications system and Deep Space Network to maintain communications with the spacecraft during its flight and after a soft landing; and (3) demonstrate the capability of the Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle to inject the Surveyor spacecraft on a Lunar intercept trajectory. Secondary objectives were to obtain engineering data on spacecraft subsystems used during cruise, descent and after landing. Tertiary objectives were to obtain postlanding TV pictures of a spacecraft footpad, the surface material immediately surrounding it and the Lunar topography, and to obtain data on radar reflectivity and bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and on spacecraft temperatures.

The Surveyor spacecraft structure was of a tripod of thin-walled aluminum tubing and interconnecting braces providing mounting surfaces and attachments for the power, communications, propulsion, flight control, and payload systems. A central mast extended about one meter above the apex of the tripod; in total, the spacecraft was about 3 meters tall. Three hinged landing legs, which folded to fit into a nose shroud for launch, were attached to the lower corners of the structure. The legs held shock absorbers, crushable, honeycomb aluminum blocks, the deployment locking mechanism, and terminated in footpads with crushable bottoms. The three footpads extended out 4.3 meters from the center of the Surveyor.

A 0.855 square meter array of 792 solar cells was mounted on a positioner on top of the mast and generated up to 85 Watts of power, which was stored in rechargeable silver-zinc batteries. Communications were achieved via a movable large planar array high gain antenna mounted near the top of the central mast to transmit television images, two omnidirectional conical antennas mounted on the ends of folding booms for uplink and downlink, two receivers and two transmitters. Thermal control was achieved by a combination of white paint, high IR-emittance thermal finish, and a polished aluminum underside. Two thermally controlled compartments, equipped with superinsulating blankets, conductive heat paths, thermal switches and small electric heaters, were mounted on the spacecraft structure. One compartment, held at 5 - 50 degrees C, housed communications and power supply electronics. The other, held between -20 and 50 degrees C, housed the command and signal processing components. The TV survey camera was mounted near the top of the tripod, and strain gauges, temperature sensors, and other engineering instruments were incorporated throughout the spacecraft. One photometric target was mounted near the end of a landing leg, and one on a short boom extending from the bottom of the structure. Other payload packages, which differed from mission to mission, were mounted on various parts of the structure depending on their function.

A Sun sensor, Canopus tracker and rate gyros on three axes provided attitude knowledge. Propulsion and attitude control were provided by cold-gas (nitrogen) attitude control jets during cruise phases, three throttlable vernier rocket engines during powered phases, including the landing, and the solid-propellant retrorocket engine during terminal descent. The retrorocket was a spherical steel case mounted in the bottom center of the spacecraft. The vernier engines used monomethyl hydrazine hydrate fuel and MON-10 (90% N2O2, 10% NO) oxidizer. Each thrust chamber could produce 130 N to 460 N of thrust on command, one engine could swivel for roll control. The fuel was stored in spherical tanks mounted to the tripod structure. For the landing sequence, an altitude marking radar initiated the firing of the main retrorocket for primary braking. After firing was complete, the retrorocket and its radar were jettisoned, and the doppler and altimeter radars were activated. These provided information to the autopilot which controlled the vernier propulsion system to touchdown.

No instrumentation was carried on this mission specifically for scientific experiments, but considerable scientific information was obtained. Surveyor 1 carried two television cameras - one mounted on the bottom of the frame for approach photography, which was not used, and the survey television camera. Over 100 engineering sensors were on board. Surveyor 1 had a mass of 995.2 kg at launch, and 294.3 kg at landing.

Surveyor 1 was launched on an Atlas/Centaur from Complex 36-A of the Eastern Test Range directly into a Lunar impact trajectory. After a midcourse correction at 06:45 UT on 31 May, the spacecraft reached the Moon about 63 hours after launch. At an altitude of 75.3 km and a velocity of 2612 m/s, the main retrorocket, signaled by the altitude marking radar, ignited for a 40 second burn, and was jettisoned at an altitude of roughly 11 km, having slowed the spacecraft to 110 m/s. Descent continued with the vernier engines under control of the altimeter and doppler radars. The engines were turned off at a height of 3.4 m above the Lunar surface, and the spacecraft fell freely from this height. Surveyor 1 landed on the Lunar surface on 2 June 1966 at 6:17:36 UT (1:17:36 am EST) at about 3 m/s. The landing, so precise that the three footpads touched the surface within 19 milliseconds of each other, confirmed that the Lunar surface could support the Apollo Lunar Module. The landing site was at 2.45 S, 316.79 E (selenographic), on a flat area inside a 100 km crater north of Flamsteed Crater in southwest Oceanus Procellarum.

Surveyor 1's first hour on the Moon was spent performing engineering tests. Photography sessions were then initiated throughout the remainder of the Lunar day. The television system transmitted pictures of the spacecraft footpad and surrounding Lunar terrain and surface materials. 10,338 photos were returned prior to nightfall on 14 June. The spacecraft also acquired data on the radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of the Lunar surface temperatures. Surveyor 1 was able to withstand the first Lunar night, and near high noon on its second Lunar day, on 7 July, photos again were returned. On 13 July at 7:30 UT (2:30 am EST), after a total of 11,240 pictures had been transmitted, Surveyor 1's mission was terminated due to a dramatic drop in battery voltage just after sunset. Engineering interrogations continued until 7 January 1967.

All mission objectives were accomplished.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

USSR's Luna 22 was inserted into a circular Lunar orbit for scientific investigation of the Moon and circumlunar space from the orbit of an artificial satellite of the Moon.

Luna 22 was a heavy Lunar orbiter launched 29 May 1974, first into Earth parking orbit and then to the Moon, where it was inserted into a circular Lunar orbit on 2 June 1974. It was launched for scientific investigation of the Moon and circumlunar space from the orbit of an artificial satellite of the Moon, which was begun by the Luna 19 automatic station. The primary instruments were the imaging cameras the spacecraft carried. It also had the objectives of studying the Moon's magnetic and gravitational fields, surface gamma ray emissions and (thereby) the composition of Lunar surface rocks, as well as micrometeorites and cosmic rays. The spacecraft made many orbit adjustments over its 18 month lifetime in order to optimize the operation of various experiments, lowering the perilune to as little as 25 km. Maneuvering fuel was exhausted on 2 September 1975, and the mission was ended in early November 1975.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1978 12:14:00 GMT
USSR launched the Molniya 1-40 communications satellite from Plesetsk for operation of a system of long range telephone-telegraph radio communication system, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to the stations of the Orbita network.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1979 23:26:00 GMT
UK launched Ariel 6 on a Scout D from Wallops Island, Virginia, for detection of heavy cosmic particles and X-ray astronomy.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1983 02:38:39 GMT
USSR launched the Venera 15 Venus orbiter.
USSR Venera 15 Venus orbiter Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog venera15_iki.gif
USSR Venera 15 Venus orbiter
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Venera 15, launched 2 June 1983, was part of a two spacecraft mission (along with Venera 16) designed to use 8 cm band side-looking radar mappers to study the surface properties of Venus. The two spacecraft were inserted into Venus orbit four days apart, Venera 15 arriving first on 10 October 1983, with their orbital planes shifted by an angle of approximately 4 degrees relative to one another. This made it possible to reimage an area if necessary. Each spacecraft was in a nearly polar orbit with a periapsis at 62 N latitude. Together, the two spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30 degrees N latitude (i.e., approximately 25% of the surface of Venus) over the 8 months of mapping operations.

The Venera 15 and 16 spacecraft were identical and were based on modifications to the the orbiter portions of the Venera 9 and 14 probes. Each spacecraft consisted of a 5 m long cylinder with a 6 m diameter, 1.4 m tall parabolic dish antenna for the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) at one end. A 1 m diameter parabolic dish antenna for the radio altimeter was also located at this end. The electrical axis of the radio altimeter antenna was lined up with the axis of the cylinder. The electrical axis of the SAR deviated from the spacecraft axis by 10 degrees. During imaging, the radio altimeter would be lined up with the center of the planet (local vertical), and the SAR would be looking off to the side at 10 degrees. A bulge at the opposite end of the cylinder held fuel tanks and propulsion units. Two square solar arrays extended like wings from the sides of the cylinder. A 2.6 m radio dish antenna for communications was also attached to the side of the cylinder.

Both Venera 15 and 16 were equipped with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). A radar was necessary in this mission because nothing else would be able to penetrate the dense clouds of Venus. The probes were equipped with on board computers that saved the images until the entire image was complete.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

B. A. Skiff discoved asteroid #3617.

Died, Arkhip Mikhailovich Lyulka, Russian Chief Designer and General Designer 1946-1981 of OKB-165, specialized in cryogenic engines for the N1
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1995 21:50:00 GMT
Cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennadi Strekalov performed the 23 minute Mir EO-18-5 internal "EVA" to reposition the docking adapter at the Mir space station in preparation for arrival of the Spektr module.
ref: www.spacefacts.de

1998 18:06:24 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 91 (Discovery 24, 91st Shuttle mission) for the ninth and final Shuttle-Mir docking.

The final shuttle-Mir mission, STS 91, launched 2 June 1998, recovered NASA astronaut Andy Thomas from the Mir station, and took Russian space chief and ex-cosmonaut Valeri Ryumin to Mir for an inspection tour of the aging station. It was also the first test of the super lightweight aluminium-lithium alloy external tank, designed to increase shuttle payload to the Mir or International Space Station orbits by 4,000 kg. The countdown proceeded smoothly except for a slight delay in operations to load the external tank with cryogenic propellant to evaluate a few technical issues. As planned, launch managers determined the exact orbital location of the Mir space station during the countdown's T-9 minute built in hold. The decision was then made to launch Discovery at 6:06 pm EST to achieve optimum Shuttle system performance, and to accommodate the Shuttle-Mir rendezvous activities. At 22:15 GMT, Discovery entered an initial 74 x 324 km x 51.6 deg orbit, with the OMS-2 burn three quarters of an hour later circulizing the chase orbit.

Discovery's first docking to Mir occurred 4 June at 12:58 pm EST, at an altitude of 208 miles. Hatches between the two vessels were opened at 2:34 pm the same day. At hatch opening, Andy Thomas officially became a member of Discovery's crew, completing 130 days of living and working on Mir. The transfer wrapped up a total of 907 days spent by seven US astronauts aboard the Russian space station as long-duration crew members. During the next four days, the Mir 25 and STS 91 crews transferred more than 1,100 pounds of water, and almost 4,700 pounds of cargo experiments and supplies were exchanged between the two spacecraft. Long-term US experiments aboard the Mir were moved into Discovery's middeck locker area and the SPACEHAB single module in the orbiter's payload bay, including the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and the tissue engineering co-culture (COCULT) investigations, as well as two crystal growth experiments. The crews also conducted Risk Mitigation Experiments (RMEs) and Human Life Sciences (HLS) investigations. When the hatches closed for undocking on 8 June at 9:07 am, and the spacecraft separated at 12:01 pm that day, the final Shuttle-Mir docking mission was concluded, and Phase 1 of the International Space Station (ISS) program came to an end.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) flew for the first time on this mission. The AMS, designed to look for dark and missing matter in the universe, was powered up on Flight Day 1. Data originally planned to be sent to ground stations through Discovery's KU-band communications system was recorded onboard because of a problem with the KU-band system that prevented it from sending high-rate communications, including television signals, to the ground, although the system was able to receive uplink transmissions. On 3 June, the crew was able to set up a bypass system that allowed AMS data to be downlinked via S-band/FM communications when the orbiter came within range of a ground station. Data that could not be recorded by ground stations was recorded onboard throughout the mission.

The KU-band system failure was determined to be located in a component that was not accessible to the crew. The failure prevented television transmission throughout the mission. Television broadcasts from Mir were prevented by a problem between a Russian ground station and the mission control center outside of Moscow, limiting communications to audio only on NASA television.

Other experiments conducted by the Shuttle crew during the mission included a checkout of the orbiter's robot arm to evaluate new electronics and software and the Orbiter Space Vision System for use during assembly missions for the ISS. Also onboard in the payload bay were eight Get Away-Special experiments, while combustion, crystal growth and radiation monitoring experiments were conducted in Discovery's middeck crew cabin area.

STS 91 ended on 12 June 1998 when Discovery landed on orbit 155 on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 11,730 feet (3,576 meters). Rollout time: one minute, four seconds. Mission duration: nine days, 19 hours, 54 minutes, two seconds. Discovery logged 3.8 million statute miles during the flight with an orbit inclination of 51.6 degrees. It landed on the first opportunity at KSC, marking the fifteenth consecutive landing in Florida, and twenty-second in the last twenty three missions.

The flight crew for STS 91 was: Charles J. Precourt, Commander; Dominic L. Pudwill Gorie, Pilot; Wendy B. Lawrence, Mission Specialist; Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, Mission Specialist; Janet L. Kavandi, Mission Specialist; Valery Victorovitch Ryumin, Mission Specialist; Andrew S. W. Thomas returned from Mir (Mir-25, launched on STS 89).
ref: www.nasa.gov

Died, Adolf Karl Thiel, German rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after World War II
ref: en.wikipedia.org

2001 20:43:00 GMT
NASA's first X-43 test flight was destroyed 13 seconds after launch when the Pegasus rocket carrying it went out of control.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

2003 17:45:00 GMT
ESA launched the Mars Express Orbiter and Beagle 2 lander toward Mars from Baikonur Cosmodrome,
Mars Express in orbit at Mars, ESA illustration Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog mars_express.jpg
Mars Express in orbit at Mars, ESA illustration
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Mars Express was the first European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Mars, launched 2 June 2003 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. It consisted of an orbiter, the Mars Express Orbiter, and a lander, Beagle 2. The scientific objectives of the Mars Express Orbiter were to obtain a global high resolution (10 m resolution) photographic geology study, mineralogical mapping (100 m resolution) and mapping of the atmospheric composition, study the subsurface structure, the global atmospheric circulation, and the interaction between the atmosphere and the subsurface, and the atmosphere and the interplanetary medium. The Beagle 2 lander's objectives were to characterize the landing site geology, mineralogy, and geochemistry, the physical properties of the atmosphere and surface layers, collect data on Martian meteorology and climatology, and search for possible signatures of life.

Mars Express arrived at Mars in December 2003 after a 400 million km journey and a course correction in September. The Beagle 2 lander was released on 19 December at 8:31 UTC (9:31 CET) on a ballistic cruise towards the surface. On 20 December, Mars Express fired a short thruster burst to put it into position to orbit the planet. The Mars Express Orbiter fired its main engine for 37 minutes on 25 December at 2:47 UT (9:47 p.m. EST, 24 December) and went into a highly elliptical 250 km x 150,000 km initial capture orbit with an inclination of 25 degrees. The orbit was adjusted by four more main engine firings starting on 30 December to the desired 258 km x 11,560 km near polar (86.3 degree inclination) orbit with a period of 7.5 hours. Near periapsis the top deck is pointed down towards the Martian surface, and near apoapsis the high gain antenna is pointed towards Earth for uplink and downlink. After 440 days the apoapsis was lowered to 10,107 km and periapsis raised to 298 km to give an orbital period of 6.7 hours. Aerobraking can be used to modify the orbit if there are any problems with the main engine. Nominal mission duration was planned to be 1 martian year (687 Earth days) but it was been extended multiple times. The orbit was changed in January 2009 to maintain illumination conditions. As of June 2018, the orbiter was continuing to operate, with ESA celebrating 15 years of Mars Express.

The Beagle 2 coasted for five days after release and entered the Martian atmosphere on the morning of 25 December. Landing was expected to occur at about 02:54 UT on 25 December (9:54 p.m. EST 24 December). No signals have been received and the lander was declared lost on 6 February 2004.

See also NSSDCA Master Catalog re. the Mars Express orbiter.
See also NSSDCA Master Catalog re. the Beagle 2 lander.
ref: www.esa.int

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