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

A. De Gasparis discovered asteroid #15 Eunomia, the sixth to eighth largest in the Solar system (to within measurement uncertainties).
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born (17 July O.S. date), Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Russian inventor (iconoscope television transmitting tube)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Mikhail Klavdiyevich Tikhonravov, Russian engineer, designer at Nll-4 and Korolev design bureau, leader in development of Sputnik and Vostok spacecraft, also performed early ICBM work and a pioneering rocketeer at GIRD and Nll-3
ref: www.nmspacemuseum.org

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1431 Luanda.

1950 11:25:00 GMT
Bumper No. 7 was the second launch from Cape Canaveral, a maximum range test of a two-stage vehicle, to study problems in staging.

Bumper Number 7, a converted German V-2 with a WAC upper stage, was the second missle launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was launched 29 July 1950 as a maximum range test of a two-stage vehicle, to study problems in staging. Initially delayed by moisture in the vehicle, the WAC finally achieved the highest sustained atmospheric speed to date (Mach 9, 5592 mph, 2500 m/s) and a 115,600 ft (21.9 mi, 35.2 km) altitude before impacting 190 miles (305 km) downrange.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

The USCG icebreaker Eastwind left Thule, Greenland for the first science Rockoon (balloon-launched rocket) launches by an ONR group under James A. Van Allen. The low-cost technique was used by researchers in 1953-57 from ships between Boston and Thule.
ref: www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Public Law 85-568, authorizing the creation the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
ref: history.nasa.gov

J. Schubart discovered asteroid #2000 Herschel.

1960 14:13:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched the Atlas D MA-1 spacecraft test mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which failed when the booster exploded about a minute after launch.
Mercury-Atlas 1 at liftoff, NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog mercury_atlas_1.jpg
Mercury-Atlas 1 at liftoff, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Mercury Atlas 1 (MA-1) was a test vehicle launched on a ballistic trajectory on 29 July 1960 as a test of spacecraft/launch vehicle compatibility and thermal loads in a critical abort, under maximum heating conditions. The primary mission goals were to check the integrity of the spacecraft structure and afterbody shingles for a reentry associated with a critical abort, and to evaluate the open-loop performance of the Atlas abort sensing instrumentation system. The spacecraft was not equipped with an escape system and no test subject was on-board. Standard posigrade rockets were used to separate the spacecraft from the Atlas, but the retrorockets were dummies.

Liftoff and flight of the vehicle were nominal until 57.6 seconds into the flight when a shock was registered by both the launch vehicle and spacecraft axial accelerometers, because of a launch vehicle and adapter structural failure. When the shock occurred, the vehicle was at approximately 9.1 km altitude and 3.4 km down range. All Atlas telemetry was lost at 58.5-59 seconds after launch, when the final missile destruction was believed to have occurred. Spacecraft telemetry continued to be transmitted until 202 seconds. The spacecraft was destroyed upon impact with the Atlantic Ocean, about 8 km down range, because the recovery system was not designed to actuate under the imposed flight conditions. Most of the spacecraft, engines, and the liquid oxygen vent valve were recovered later from the ocean floor.

Since none of the primary flight objectives was achieved, Mercury-Atlas 2 (MA-2) was planned to fulfill the mission.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1964 19:55:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A Heat Transfer/Local Flow test mission # 112, the first test of various fuselage-attached heat-resistant panels. Joe Engle reached 3262 mph (5250 kph, Mach 5.38) max. speed, 78,000 ft (23.774 km, 14.773 mi) max. altitude.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

NASA issued a tentative planning schedule for the remainder of the Apollo program, missions 12 through 20.

On 29 July 1969, NASA issued a tentative planning schedule for the remainder of the Apollo program:
 * Apollo 12, Nov 1969, Oceanus Procellarum lunar lowlands
 * Apollo 13, Mar 1970, Fra Mauro highlands
 * Apollo 14, Jul 1970, Crater Censorinus highlands
 * Apollo 15, Nov 1970, Littrow volcanic area
 * Apollo 16, Apr 1971, Crater Tycho (Surveyor VII impact area)
 * Apollo 17, Sep 1971, Marius Hills volcanic domes
 * Apollo 18, Feb 1972, Schroter's Valley, riverlike channel-ways
 * Apollo 19, Jul 1972, Hyginus Rille region-Linear Rille, crater area
 * Apollo 20, Dec 1972, Crater Copernicus, large crater impact area
ref: history.nasa.gov

NASA's Mariner 6 started transmitting pictures of Mars as it approached the planet.

Mariner 6 was launched 24 February 1969 as part of the Mariner 6 and 7 dual spacecraft mission to Mars, the sixth and seventh missions in the Mariner series of spacecraft used for planetary exploration in the flyby mode. The primary objectives of the missions were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys to establish the basis for future investigations, particularly those relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life, and to demonstrate and develop technologies required for future Mars missions and other long-duration missions far from the Sun. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter 5 days later. Each spacecraft carried a wide- and narrow-angle television camera, an infrared spectroscope, an infrared radiometer, and an ultraviolet spectroscope. The spacecraft were oriented entirely to planetary data acquisition, and no data were obtained during the trip to Mars or beyond Mars.

On 29 July, 50 hours before closest approach, the scan platform was pointed to Mars and the scientific instruments turned on. Imaging of Mars began 2 hours later. For the next 41 hours, 49 approach images (plus a 50th fractional image) of Mars were taken through the narrow-angle camera. At 05:03 UT on 31 July the near-encounter phase began, including collection of 26 close-up images. Due to a cooling system failure, channel 1 of the IR spectrometer did not cool sufficiently to allow measurements from 6 to 14 micrometers so no infrared data were obtained over this range. Closest approach occurred at 05:19:07 UT at a distance of 3431 km (2132 mi) from the Martian surface. Eleven minutes later Mariner 6 passed behind Mars and reappeared after 25 minutes. X-band occultation data were taken during the entrance and exit phases. Science and imaging data were played back and transmitted over the next few days. The spacecraft was then returned to cruise mode which included engineering and communications tests, star photography TV tests, and UV scans of the Milky Way and an area containing comet 1969-B. Periodic tracking of the spacecraft in its heliocentric orbit was also done.

Mariner 6 returned 49 far encounter and 26 near encounter images of Mars. Close-ups from the near encounter phases covered 20% of the surface between the two spacecraft. The spacecraft instruments measured UV and IR emissions and radio refractivity of the Martian atmosphere. Images showed the surface of Mars to be very different from that of the Moon, in some contrast to the results from Mariner 4. The south polar cap was identified as being composed predominantly of carbon dioxide. Atmospheric surface pressure was estimated at between 6 and 7 mb. Radio science refined estimates of the mass, radius and shape of Mars.

As a historical note, 10 days before the scheduled launch of Mariner 6 while it was mounted on top of the Atlas/Centaur booster, a faulty switch opened the main valves on the Atlas stage. This released the pressure which supported the Atlas structure, and as the booster deflated it began to crumple. Two ground crewman started pressurizing pumps, saving the structure from further collapse. The Mariner 6 spacecraft was removed, put on another Atlas/Centaur, and launched on schedule. The two ground crewman, who had acted at risk of the 12-story rocket collapsing on them, were awarded Exceptional Bravery Medals from NASA.
ref: www.planetary.org
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1971 20:05:47 GMT
NASA Apollo 15 went into orbit around the Moon during the fourth Lunar landing mission.
Apollo 15 Command/Service Module 'Endeavour' as viewed from the Lunar Excursion Module 'Falcon', NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog apollo_15_cm.jpg
Apollo 15 Command/Service Module 'Endeavour' as viewed from the Lunar Excursion Module 'Falcon', NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Apollo 15 was the fourth mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth: On 30 July 1971, Apollo 15 Commander David R. Scott and LM pilot James B. Irwin landed in the Hadley Rille/Apennines region of the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM), with CM pilot Alfred M. Worden, continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 2 August, and the astronauts returned to Earth on 7 August.

Apollo 15 was launched on 26 July 1971 on Saturn V SA-510 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The spacecraft was inserted into Earth orbit 11 minutes 44 seconds after liftoff, at 13:45:44 UT, and translunar injection took place at 16:30:03 UT. The CSM separated from the S-IVB stage at 16:56:24 UT, and docked with the LM at 17:07:49 UT, televised using an onboard color camera.

The S-IVB stage was released and sent into a Lunar impact trajectory, impact occurring on 29 July at 20:58:42.9 UT at 1.51 S, 11.81 W with a velocity of 2.58 km/s (5760 mph) at a 62 degree angle from the horizontal, 188 km (117 mi) northeast of the Apollo 14 landing site and 355 km (221 mi) northeast of the Apollo 12 site. The impact was detected by both the Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 seismometers, left on the moon in November 1969 and February 1971.

A short was discovered in the service propulsion system, and contingency procedures were developed for using the engine. A mid-course correction was performed on 27 July at 18:14:22 UT and another on 29 July at 15:05:15. During the translunar cruise, it was discovered that the LM range/range-rate exterior glass cover had broken and a small water leak had developed in the CM requiring repair and clean up, in part to avoid breathing in the glass shards. The Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) door was jettisoned at 15:40 UT on 29 July, and Lunar orbit insertion took place at 20:05:47 UT. The descent orbit maneuver was executed at 00:13:49 UT on 30 July.

Scott and Irwin entered the LM and the LM-CSM undocking maneuver was initiated at 17:48 UT, but undocking did not take place. Worden found a loose umbilical plug and reconnected it, allowing the LM to separate from the CSM at 18:13:30 UT. The LM fired its descent engine at 22:04:09 UT and landed at 22:16:29 UT on 30 July 1971 in the Mare Imbrium region at the foot of the Apennine mountain range at 26.1 N, 3.6 E, 600 meters 2000 ft) north-northwest of the proposed target. The CSM remained in a slightly elliptical orbit from which Worden performed scientific experiments.

About two hours after landing, following cabin depressurization, Scott performed a 33 minute 7 second standup EVA in the upper hatch of the LM, during which he described and photographed the landing site.

The first crew EVA on the Lunar surface began at 13:04 UT 31 July. The crew collected and stowed a contingency sample, unpacked the ALSEP and other experiments, and prepared the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) for operations. Some problems were encountered in the deployment and checkout of the LRV, used for the first time, but they were quickly resolved. The first EVA traverse was to the Apennine mountain front, after which the ALSEP was deployed and activated, and one probe of a Heat Flow experiment was emplaced. A second probe was not emplaced until EVA-2 because of drilling difficulties. The first EVA lasted 6 hours 32 minutes 42 seconds.

The second EVA began at 11:49 UT 1 August. The astronauts made a maintenance check on the LRV, then began the second planned traverse of the mission. On completion of the traverse, Scott and Irwin completed the placement of heat flow experiment probes, collected a core sample, and deployed the American flag. They then stowed the sample container and the film in the LM, completing a second EVA of 7 hours 12 minutes 14 seconds.

The third EVA began at 8:52 UT 2 August, included another traverse, and ended 4 hours 49 minutes 50 seconds later. After the final EVA, Scott performed a televised demonstration of a hammer and feather falling at the same rate in the Lunar vacuum.

The total Apollo 15 Lunar surface EVA time was 18 hours 34 minutes 46 seconds. During the three moonwalks, Scott and Irwin covered 27.9 km (17.3 mi), collected 76.8 kg (170 pounds) of rock and soil samples, took photographs, and set up the ALSEP and performed other scientific experiments. This was the first mission to employ the LRV, used to explore regions within 5 km (3 mi) of the LM landing site.

While the Lunar Module was on the Moon, Worden completed 34 Lunar orbits in the CSM, operating SIM experiments and cameras to obtain data concerning the Lunar surface and environment. The SIM equipment included a panoramic camera, gamma ray spectrometer, mapping camera, laser altimeter, and a mass spectrometer. X-ray spectrometer data indicated a richer abundance of aluminum in the highlands, especially on the far side, but greater concentrations of magnesium in the maria.

The LM ascent stage lifted off from the Moon at 17:11:22 UT on 2 August, televised for the first time, after 66 hours, 55 minutes on the Lunar surface. After the LM docked with the CSM at 19:09:47 UT, the Lunar samples, film, and other equipment were transferred from the LM to the CSM. The LM was jettisoned at 01:04:14 UT on 3 August, after a one orbit delay to ensure LM and CSM hatches were completely sealed. The LM impacted the Moon on 3 August 03:03:37.0 UT at 26.36 N, 0.25 E, 93 km west of the Apollo 15 ALSEP site, with an estimated impact velocity of 1.7 km/s (3800 mph) at an angle of ~3.2 degrees from horizontal. Its impact was recorded by the Apollo 12, Apollo 14, and Apollo 15 seismometers, left on the Moon during each of those missions.

Experiments were performed from orbit over the next day. After Apollo 15 executed an orbit-shaping maneuver, the scientific subsatellite was spring-launched from the SM SIM bay at 20:13:19 UT on 4 August into a 102.0 x 141.3 km (63.4 x 87.8 mi) Lunar orbit. The satellite measured interplanetary and Earth magnetic fields near the Moon, and carried charged-particle sensors and equipment to detect variations in Lunar gravity caused by mascons (mass concentrations).

Transearth injection began on the next orbit with a 2 minute, 21 second main engine burn at 21:22:45 UT. On 5 August, Worden carried out the first deep space EVA when he exited the CM and made three trips to the SIM bay at the rear of the SM to retrieve film cannisters and check the equipment. Total EVA time was 38 minutes, 12 seconds.

The CM separated from the SM at 20:18:00 UT on 7 August. During descent, one of the three main parachutes failed to open fully, resulting in a descent velocity of 35 km/hr (21.8 mph), 4.5 km/hr (2.8 mph) faster than planned, causing a hard but safe landing. Apollo 15 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 7 August 1971 at 20:45:53 UT (4:45:53 PM EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 295 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds (12 days 7 hours 12 minutes). The splashdown point was 26 deg 7 min N, 158 deg, 8 min W, 330 miles (530 km) north of Honolulu, Hawaii and 9.8 km (6.1 mi) from the recovery ship USS Okinawa. The astronauts were carried to the ship by helicopter, and the CM was retrieved and placed on board.

Performance of the spacecraft, the first of the Apollo J-series missions (long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than on previous flights), was excellent for most aspects of the mission. The primary mission goals of exploration of the Hadley-Appenine region, deployment of the ALSEP and other scientific experiments, collection of Lunar samples, surface photography, and photography and other scientific experiments from orbit, and engineering evaluation of new Apollo equipment, particularly the rover, were achieved. Scott, 39, was an Air Force Colonel on his third spaceflight (he'd flown previously on Gemini 8 and Apollo 9), Worden, 39, was an Air Force Major on his first spaceflight, and Irwin, 41, was an Air Force Lt. Colonel also on his first spaceflight.

The Apollo 15 command module "Endeavor" is on display at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.

See also the pages for the Apollo 15 Lunar Module /ALSEP and the Apollo 15 SIVB

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 the 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 date (2014) to have set foot on another solar system body.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1971 20:58:43 GMT
The Saturn IV-B stage used to boost NASA's Apollo 15 to the Moon impacted the Lunar surface at 1.51 S, 11.81 W, as planned, at a velocity of 2.58 km/s (5760 mph), and at an angle of 62 degrees from horizontal.
see above
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1972 03:20:00 GMT
USSR launched Zarya s/n 122 on a Proton-K booster from Baikonur, planned to be the second Salyut space station (DOS 2), which failed to reach orbit because of a second stage malfunction at T+162 seconds.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1974 12:00:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-S into geostationary orbit from Baikonur, evidently a unique experimental satellite, with arrangements for experimental television broadcasts and establishment of long range radio communications.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1976 17:07:00 GMT
NASA launched the NOAA 5 weather satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NOAA 5, launched 29 July 1976, was one in a series of improved TIROS-M type satellites with new meteorological sensors on board to expand the operational capacity of the ITOS (NOAA) system. The primary objectives of NOAA 5 (ITOS-H) were to provide global daytime and nighttime direct readout cloudcover data on a daily basis. The sun-synchronous spacecraft was capable of supplying global atmospheric temperature soundings and very high resolution infrared cloudcover data of selected areas in either a direct readout or a tape recorder mode. A secondary objective was to obtain global solar proton density data on a routine daily basis. The primary sensors consisted of a very high resolution radiometer (VHRR), a vertical temperature profile radiometer (VTPR), and a scanning radiometer (SR). The VHRR, VTPR, and SR were mounted on the satellite baseplate with their optical axes directed vertically earthward. The nearly cubical spacecraft measured 1 x 1 x 1.2 m. The satellite was equipped with three curved solar panels, folded during launch and deployed after orbit was achieved. Each panel measured over 4.2 m in length when unfolded and was covered with 3420 solar cells, each measuring 2 x 2 cm. The ITOS dynamics and attitude control system maintained the desired spacecraft orientation through gyroscopic principles incorporated into the satellite design. Earth orientation of the satellite body was maintained by taking advantage of the precession induced from a momentum flywheel so that the satellite body precession rate of one revolution per orbit provided the desired 'Earth looking' attitude. Minor adjustments in attitude and orientation were made by means of magnetic coils and by varying the speed of the momentum flywheel. The satellite was placed in a sun-synchronous orbit with equatorial crossing of the ascending node near 0830 AM local time.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

During the 2h 5m Salyut 6 EO-2-1 EVA, cosmonauts Aleksandr Ivanchenkov and Vladimir Kovalyonok retrieved material samples and equipment on the Soviet Salyut 6 space station. A meteor passing below them briefly blinded the cosmonauts.
ref: www.spacefacts.de

1981 13:26:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1284 from Plesetsk, a medium resolution photo surveillance satellite which also performed Earth resources tasks in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Russian inventor (iconoscope television transmitting tube)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

NASA moved the GOES 6 satellite from its original orbital slot at 135 deg W to 98 deg W (a more central position) when GOES 5 failed.

GOES 6, launched 28 April 1983, was the eighth in a series of NASA developed, NOAA operated, geosynchronous spacecraft. It carried (1) a visible infrared spin scan radiometer (VISSR) atmospheric sounder (VAS) to provide high quality day and night cloud cover data, to take radiance derived temperatures of the Earth/atmosphere system, and to determine atmospheric temperature and water vapor content at various levels, (2) a meteorological data collection system to relay processed data from central weather facilities to regional stations equipped with APT and to collect and retransmit data from remotely located Earth-based platforms, and (3) a space environment monitor (SEM) system to measure proton, electron, and solar X-ray fluxes and magnetic fields. The cylindrically shaped spacecraft measured 190.5 cm (6.25 ft) in diameter and 230 cm (7.5 ft) long, exclusive of a magnetometer that extended an additional 83 cm (32.7 inches) beyond the cylindrical shell. The primary structural members were a honeycombed equipment shelf and a thrust tube. The VISSR telescope, which was mounted on the equipment shelf, viewed the Earth through a special aperture in the side of the spacecraft. A support structure extended radially from the thrust tube and was affixed to the solar panels, which formed the outer wall of the spacecraft to provide the primary source of electrical power. Located in the annulus-shaped space between the thrust tube and the solar panels were stationkeeping and dynamics control equipment, batteries, and most of the SEM equipment. Proper spacecraft attitude and spin rate (approximately 100 rpm) were maintained by two separate sets of jet thrusters mounted around the spacecraft equator and activated by ground command. The spacecraft used both UHF band and S band frequencies in its telemetry and command subsystem. A low power VHF transponder provided telemetry and command during launch and then served as a backup for the primary subsystem once the spacecraft attained synchronous orbit. GOES 6 was moved from its 135 deg W position to a more central 98 deg W position when GOES 5 failed on 29 July 1984. GOES 6 was turned off on 12 November 1994.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1984 12:55:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz T-12 landed, returning cosmonauts Dzhanibekov, Savitsakaya and Volk from their visit to the Salyut 7 space station.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1985 17:00:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 51-F (Challenger 8, 19th Shuttle mission) carrying Spacelab 2, which resulted in an "abort to orbit" ascent.

The STS 51-F launch countdown on 12 July 1985 was halted at T-3 seconds when a malfunction of the number two main engine coolant valve caused a shutdown of all three main engines. The rescheduled launch on 29 July was delayed one hour 37 minutes due to problem with a table maintenance block update uplink. Five minutes, 45 seconds into the ascent, the number one main engine shut down prematurely due to a a sensor problem, and an abort-to-orbit trajectory was declared. Despite the the anomaly, which required mission replanning, the mission continued, and was eventually declared a success.

The primary payload for STS 51-F was Spacelab 2, with 13 experiments in life sciences, plasma physics, astronomy, high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, atmospheric physics and technology research. A special part of the modular Spacelab system, the Igloo, located at head of the three pallet train, provided on-site support to instruments mounted on the other pallets. The main mission objective was to verify performance of the Spacelab systems, and to determine the interface capability of the orbiter, and to measure the environment induced by the spacecraft. The flight crew was divided into red and blue teams; the teams worked 12 hour shifts for continuous 24 hour/day operation.

STS 51-F also carried the Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP), which was released into an independent orbit on 1 August, and retrieved on 2 August.

Other payloads carried on STS 51-F included the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) and the Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment.

The STS 51-F launch marked the first time carbonated beverages were carried into space.

STS 51-F ended on 6 August 1985 when Challenger landed on revolution 127 on Runway 23, Edwards Air Force Base, California; the mission was extended 17 revolutions for additional payload activities due to the abort-to-orbit. Rollout distance: 8,569 feet. Rollout time: 55 seconds. Launch weight: 252,855 pounds. Landing weight: 204,169 pounds. Orbit altitude: 173 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 49.5 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, 22 hours, 45 minutes, 26 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million. The orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center 11 August 1985.

The flight crew for STS 51-F was: Gordon Fullerton, Commander; Roy D. Bridges Jr., Pilot; F. Story Musgrave, Mission Specialist 1; Anthony W. England, Mission Specialist 2; Karl G. Henize, Mission Specialist 3; Loren W. Acton, Payload Specialist 1; John-David F. Bartoe, Payload Specialist 2.
ref: www.nasa.gov

Died, Cai Qiao, Chinese scientist, one of three senior scientists who laid out the plans in April 1966 for China's first manned spacecraft
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1999 04:46:00 GMT
NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft flew by the near-Earth asteroid 9969 Braille at a distance of about 26 km (16 mi).

NASA's Deep Space 1 (DS1), launched 24 October 1998, was the first of a series of technology demonstration probes being developed by NASA's New Millennium Program. The spacecraft flew by the Mars-crossing near-Earth asteroid 9969 Braille (formerly known as 1992 KD) in July, 1999 and flew by comet Borrelly on 22 September 2001. As part of the technology demonstrations, the probe carried the Miniature Integrated Camera-Spectrometer (MICAS), an instrument combining two visible imaging channels with UV and IR spectrometers. MICAS was used to study the chemical composition, geomorphology, size, spin-state, and atmosphere of the target objects. It also carried the Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration (PEPE), an ion and electron spectrometer which measured the solar wind during cruise, the interaction of the solar wind with target bodies during encounters, and the composition of the cometary coma.

DS1 flew by the near-Earth asteroid 9969 Braille at 04:46 UT (12:46 a.m. EDT) on 29 July 1999 at a distance of about 26 km and at approximately 15.5 km/sec relative velocity. The spacecraft made its final pre-encounter transmission about 7 hours before closest approach, after which it turned its high-gain antenna away from Earth to point the MICAS camera/spectrometer camera towards the asteroid. The spacecraft had a target-tracking problem and the MICAS instrument was not pointed towards the asteroid as it approached, so no images or spectra were obtained. MICAS turned off about 25 seconds before closest approach at a distance of about 350 km and measurements were taken with the PEPE plasma instrument. The spacecraft then turned after the encounter to obtain images and spectra of the opposite side of the asteroid as it receded from view, but due to the target-tracking problem only two black and white images and a dozen spectra were obtained. The images were taken at 915 and 932 seconds after closest approach from 14,000 km and the spectra were taken about 3 minutes later. The data were transmitted back to Earth over the next few days. The diameter of Braille is estimated at 2.2 km at its longest and 1 km at its shortest. The spectra showed it to be similar to the asteroid Vesta.

The original plan was to fly by the dormant comet Wilson-Harrington in January 2001 and comet Borrelly in September 2001. The star tracker failed on 11 November 1999 and a new extended mission to fly by comet Borrelly (using techniques developed to operate the spacecraft without the star tracker) was planned. On 22 September 2001, Deep Space 1 entered the coma of comet Borrelly and made its closest approach (2171 km) to the nucleus at 22:29:33 UT (6:29:33 p.m. EDT) at a relative velocity of 16.58 km/second. At the time of the flyby the spacecraft and comet were 1.36 AU from the Sun. The PEPE instrument was turned on throughout the encounter. MICAS started making measurements and imaging 80 minutes before encounter and operated until a few minutes before encounter as planned. Both instruments successfully returned data and images from the encounter.

The ion engines on DS1 were commanded off on 18 December 2001 at about 20:00 UT (3:00 p.m. EST) to end the mission. The radio receiver was left on in case future contact with the spacecraft is desired. All new technologies on board DS1 were successfully tested during the primary mission.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

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