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Race To Space
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Galileo described his observations of Saturn as most unusual, perhaps a triple planet, not knowing what he was seeing was rings, although some of his drawings did look like rings about the planet.
ref: galileo.rice.edu

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #570 Kythera.

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #716 Berkeley.

Grigoriy Neujmin discovered asteroid #951 Gaspra.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #983 Gunila.

G. van Biesbroeck discovered asteroid #2253 Espinette.

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1467 Mashona.

Seth Barnes Nicholson discovered Carme, Jupiter's 11th moon, at Mount Wilson Observatory in a retrograde orbit, named after the mythological mother by Zeus of Britomartis, a Cretan goddess.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1946 19:36:00 GMT
A V-2 launched from White Sands, New Mexico, was the first rocket to reach an altitude of 100 miles (161.5 km), carrying cosmic radiation, ionosphere and biological experiments for the Applied Physics Lab at John Hopkins University.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

E. L. Johnson discovered asteroid #2718.

Born, Aleksandr Nikolayevich Balandin (at Frayzino, Moscow Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Mir 6; over 179d 1.25h in spaceflight)
ref: www.spacefacts.de

Born, Gregory Carl Johnson (at Seattle, Washington, USA), Captain USN Reserve, NASA astronaut (STS 125; over 12d 21.5h in spaceflight)
Astronaut Gregory C. Johnson, STS-125 pilot, NASA photo (19 January 2006) 14265855930_c17c36066d_n.jpg
Astronaut Gregory C. Johnson, STS-125 pilot, NASA photo (19 January 2006)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Using a development model of the Mercury contour couch designed by Maxime A. Faget and Associates, Carter C. Collins withstood a 20g load on a centrifuge at Johnsville, Pennsylvania, proving manned space flight reentry accelerations could be withstood.
ref: history.nasa.gov

Born, Vladimir Nikolayevich Dezhurov (at Zubovo-Polyansk, Yavas, Moldavian SSR) Lt Colonel Russian Air Force, cosmonaut (Mir EO-18, ISS EO-3; nearly 244d 5.5h total time in spaceflight)
Cosmonaut Vladimir N. Dezhurov, NASA photo Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021) 480px-Vladimir_Dezhurov.jpg
Cosmonaut Vladimir N. Dezhurov, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1965 12:58:00 GMT
NASA launched the Pegasus 3 meteoroid detection satellite from Cape Kennedy, using Apollo boilerplate 9 as the payload's shroud; the flight (SA-10) marked the end of the Saturn I program with 10 straight successful launches across its seven year span.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Henry J. E. Reid, Director, NACA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (1926-1961)
ref: www.nasa.gov

1971 22:16:29 GMT
The NASA Apollo 15 LEM "Falcon" landed on the Moon in Mare Imbrium at the foot of the Apennine mountains, at 26.1 N, 3.6 E, 600 meters (2000 ft) NNW of the proposed target, with David Scott and James Irwin aboard.
NASA Apollo 15 Lunar Module on the Moon Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog apollo_15_lm.jpg
NASA Apollo 15 Lunar Module on the Moon
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
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1981 21:38:00 GMT
USSR launched the Raduga 9 geostationary satellite from Baikonur to provide uninterrupted telephone and telegraph communication in the USSR, and transmission USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita network.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

During the 2h 33m Salyut 7 EO-1-1 EVA, cosmonauts Valentin Lededev and Anatoli Berezovoy retrieved and installed material samples, and tested equipment on the Salyut 7 space station.
ref: www.spacefacts.de

1986 15:07:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-67 from Plesetsk to replace Molniya 1-59 in operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph communications system in the USSR and for transmission of USSR Central Television programs to stations in the Orbita network.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1987 01:05:00 GMT
Having undocked from Mir on 29 July, USSR Soyuz TM-2 landed with the crew of Faris, Laveykin and Viktorenko aboard. The Orbital Module was jettisoned before retrofire and left in a 308 X 356 orbit.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1990 00:06:00 GMT
USSR launched the Cosmos 2088 geodetic satellite from Plesetsk for investigation of outer space.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1992 01:59:01 GMT
Russia launched a Proton-K/DM-2 from Baikonur carrying three satellites, Cosmos 2204 - 2206, components of the Glonass global space navigation system used to determine positions of civil aircraft and vessels of the merchant marine and fishing fleet.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov, Russian Chief Designer and General Designer 1949-1994 of OKB-276
ref: en.wikipedia.org

ESA and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) were reported to have reached 'an intention to collaborate' for inclusion of China in the International Space Station project.
ref: www.geocities.ws

2002 02:05:00 GMT
The Terrier Orion Hyshot 2 'Hans' technology mission was launched from Woomera, Australia, which achieved the first successful test of a scramjet in flight.

In the second launch of the HyShot program on 30 July 2002, the Terrier-Orion Mk70 rocket boosted the payload, which remained attached to the second stage Orion motor, toward a planned apogee of 330 km. After peaking at 314 km, the trajectory was designed so that the payload was moving at Mach 7.6 between 35 km and 23 km on the way down, where measurements of supersonic combustion were made. This was claimed to be the first successful test of a scramjet in flight.

See also the HyShot page at the University of Queensland, Centre for Hypersonics
ref: en.wikipedia.org

2020 11:50:00 GMT
NASA launched the Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance rover toward Mars from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Mars 2020 Mission, Perseverance Rover Launch, NASA photo Source: NASA Mars 2020 Mission page liftoff-launch.jpg
Mars 2020 Mission, Perseverance Rover Launch, NASA photo
Source: NASA Mars 2020 Mission page

The Mars 2020 mission involves landing a large roving vehicle (Perserverance) on the surface of Mars to conduct mobile studies of the surface environment with particular emphasis on habitability, past life, and sample collection for future missions. The primary science objctives of Mars 2020 are to identify past environments capable of supporting microbial life, seeking signs of possible past microbial life, collecting core rock and regolith samples and caching them on the surface for future missions, and testing oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere. It will also carry the Mars Helicopter, a small rotorcraft designed to fly in the tenuous Martian atmosphere.

Spacecraft and Subsystems

The spacecraft has three primary major components: The cruise stage; the entry, descent, and landing system; and the rover. The cruise stage enclosed the rover and landing system for the journey to Mars. and included an aeroshell (backshell and heat shield) for initial entry into the Martian atmosphere. The entry, descent, and landing system comprised a heat shield, parachute, retrorockets, and a sky crane.

The Mars 2020 rover is based on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. It has a mass of approximately 1050 kg and measures roughly 3 meters in length, 2.7 meters in width, and 2.2 meters in height. It has six 52.5 cm diameter wheels and a 2.1 m long robotic arm. The top of the rover is the equipment deck.

Communications are via a UHF (~400 MHz), a steerable high-gain (X-band, 7-8 GHZ), and a low-gain (also X-band) antenna. The UHF antenna communicates with the Mars orbiters, the high-gain antenna is primarily for direct Earth transmission and reception, and the low-gain antenna is omnidirectional to receive signals from Earth. Power is provided by a radioisotope thermal generator using 4.8 kg of plutonium dioxide, and stored in two rechargeable lithium dioxide batteries. Mobility is provided by the six wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension, it can withstand a tilt of 45 degrees and can turn 360 degrees in place.

The rover is equipped with a number of scientific investigations, including: the Mastcam-Z camera; the WATSON camera; the MEDA environmental instrument; the RIMFAX radar imager; the PIXL x-ray fluorescence spectrometer; the SHERLOC UV Raman spectrometer; the SuperCam chemical analyzer; and the MOXIE oxygen generation experiment. MOXIE and much of the electronics for the instruments are mounted on or below the rover equipment deck. The RIMFAX antenna is mounted on the bottom rear of the rover. Mastcam-Z, and Supercam are mounted on top of the rover mast. The MEDA wind sensors, three temperature sensors, and radiation and dust sensor are on the mid- to lower mast. Two MEDA temperature sensors are mounted near the front of the rover, and a pressure sensor is on the deck. PIXL, WATSON, and SHERLOC are mounted on the end of the robotic arm.

Mission Profile

Mars 2020 launched on 30 July 2020 at 11:50 UT (7:50 AM EDT) on an Atlas V-541 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After a 7 month cruise, landing took place on 18 February 2021 at roughly 20:44 UT (3:44 PM EST). Confirmation of the touchdown was at 20:56:24 UT (3:56:24 PM EST, 12:56:24 PM PST). (There is a roughly 11 min., 20 sec. delay at this distance from Mars). Landing took place in Jezero Crater on the western edge of the Isidis Planitia impact basin on Mars. The rover is planned to operate for at least one Martian year (687 Earth days).

Mars Helicopter

The Mars Helicopter (Ingenuity) is an experimental technology test. Its primary objective is to demonstrate that autonomous, controlled flight can be achieved in the tenuous Martian atmosphere. The helicopter has a mass of roughly 1.8 kg and flies with twin counter-rotating blades which will rotate at almost 3000 rpm. The body of the helicopter has four landing legs. Power is provided by solar panels mounted above the rotors charging lithium-ion batteries. The helicopter has a heating mechanism for night-time survival. Communications will be relayed through the rover. There are no science experiments on board, as this is strictly a proof-of-concept demonstration. The helicopter is mounted on the belly of the rover, encapsulated for protection from dust. When a suitable location for the test flights is found, the rover will drop the helicopter off and move to a safe distance to relay commands. The helicopter will then charge its batteries and conduct preliminary tests. The first flight is planned to last about 30 seconds and involves hovering at 3 meters altitude. It will make up to four more test flights, lasting as long as 90 seconds and covering distances to a few hundred meters.
ref: mars.nasa.gov
ref: mars.nasa.gov

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