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

Born, Carl Ritter, cofounder of the modern science of geography
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Died, Baron Jons Jacob Berzelius, Swedish chemist (atomic weight, one of the founders of modern chemistry)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Prosper Henry discovered asteroid #148 Gallia.

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #201 Penelope.

Born, Louis Alan Hazeltine, inventor (neutrodyne circuit, made radio practical)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Josef Maria Boehm, German guided missile expert in World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Electromechanical Engineering Branch, Guidance and Control Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)
ref: translate.google.com

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #916 America.

1951 18:00:00 GMT
A Navy Viking 7 rocket set a single-stage rocket altitude record (136 mi, 219 km), the highest flight of the original airframe design. It reached 4100 mph (6600 kph) in a flight to study upper-air pressure and density, and solar and cosmic radiation.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Kent Vernon Rominger (at Del Norte, Colorado, USA), Captain USN, NASA astronaut (STS 73, STS 80, STS 85, STS 96, STS 100; nearly 67d 3h total time in spaceflight)
Astronaut Kent Rominger, NASA photo Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable August 2019) Kent_Rominger.jpg
Astronaut Kent Rominger, NASA photo
Source: Wikipedia (www.jsc.nasa.gov unavailable August 2019)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1959 14:23:00 GMT
NASA launched Explorer 6 from the Atlantic Missile Range at Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first satellite to transmit images of Earth back from space.
Explorer 6, the first satellite to transmit images of Earth from space, NASA photo Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog explorer_6.jpg
Explorer 6, the first satellite to transmit images of Earth from space, NASA photo
Source: NSSDCA Master Catalog

Explorer 6, launched 7 August 1959, was a small, spheroidal satellite designed to study trapped radiation of various energies, galactic cosmic rays, geomagnetism, radio propagation in the upper atmosphere, and the flux of micrometeorites. It also tested a scanning device designed for photographing the Earth's cloud cover which returned the first photos of Earth from space. The satellite was launched into a highly elliptical orbit with an initial local time of apogee of 2100 h. It was spin stabilized at 2.8 rps, with the direction of the spin axis having a right ascension of 217 deg and a declination of 23 deg. Four solar cell paddles mounted near its equator recharged the storage batteries while in orbit. Each experiment except the television scanner had two outputs, digital and analog. A UHF transmitter was used for the digital telemetry and the TV signal. Two VHF transmitters were used to transmit the analog signal. The VHF transmitters were operated continuously. The UHF transmitter was operated for only a few hours each day. Only three of the solar cell paddles fully erected, and this occurred during spin up rather than prior to spin up as planned. Consequently, initial operation of the payload power supply was 63% nominal, and this decreased with time. The decreased power caused a lower signal-to-noise ratio affecting most of the data, especially near apogee. One VHF transmitter failed on 11 September 1959, and the last contact with the payload was made on 6 October 1959, at which time the solar cell charging current had fallen below that required to maintain the satellite equipment. A total of 827 hours of analog and 23 hours of digital data was obtained.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1961 07:18:00 GMT
USSR's Vostok 2 landed after 17 orbits, piloted by Gherman S. Titov, the second human in space.

Vostok 2, the second spacecraft in the USSR's manned flight series and launched 6 August 1961, was piloted by cosmonaut Gherman S. Titov (call sign Oryel - "Eagle"), who had the misfortune of being the first reported case of motion sickness in space. The spacecraft carried life-support equipment, radio and television for monitoring the condition of the cosmonaut, tape recorder, telemetry system, biological experiments, and automatic and manual control equipment. The flight's objectives were investigation of the effects on the human organism of a prolonged flight in orbit and subsequent return to the surface of the Earth, and investigation of man's ability to work during a prolonged period of weightlessness. Biomedical experiments were performed, and motion pictures of Earth were obtained during the flight. Titov took manual control of spacecraft but suffered from space sickness. He also had a professional quality Konvas movie camera, with which ten minutes of film of the Earth were taken through the porthole. Both television and film images were taken of the interior of the spacecraft. Like Gagarin, Titov experienced problems with separation of the service module after retrofire.

The spacecraft consisted of a nearly spherical cabin covered with ablative material. There were three small portholes and external radio antennas. Radios, a life support system, instrumentation, and an ejection seat were contained in the manned cabin. The cabin was attached to a service module that carried chemical batteries, orientation rockets, the main retro system, and added support equipment for the total system. The service module separated from the manned cabin on reentry.

Vostok 2 made 17 orbits of the Earth in 25 hours, and landed on 7 August 1961 near Krasny Kut, Saratov. Titov made a separate parachute landing after riding his ejection seat out of the capsule.

Titov was never to fly again, after being assigned to the Spiral spaceplane, which turned out to be a dead-end project. A biography of him by Martin Caidin, "I Am Eagle," made him somewhat more accessible than Gagarin to the West.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1969 23:48:06 GMT
USSR launched the Zond 7 circumlunar Earth return mission.

Zond 7 was launched 7 August 1969 towards the Moon from a mother spacecraft (69-067B) on a mission of further studies of the Moon and circulmunar space, to obtain color photography of the Earth and the Moon from varying distances, and to flight test the spacecraft systems. It was the only completely successful L1 flight that could have returned cosmonauts alive or uninjured to Earth. Earth photos were obtained on 9 August 1969. On 11 August 1969, the spacecraft flew past the Moon at a distance of 1984.6 km and conducted two picture taking sessions. Zond 7 successfully accomplished a double-dip re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere on 14 August 1969, and achieved a soft landing 50 km from its aim point south of Kustani in the USSR.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1970 02:59:00 GMT
USSR launched Intercosmos 3 from Kapustin Yar with East European experiments that studied protons, electrons and alpha particles.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1971 00:11:00 GMT
An Atlas F launched from Vandenberg, California, carried the OV1-20, OV1-21, Cannonball 2, Musketball 1, Gridsphere 1, LCS 4, Gridsphere 2, Rigidsphere and Mylar Balloon research, technology and calibration satellites into orbit.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1971 20:45:53 GMT
NASA Apollo 15 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean north of Honolulu, returning astronauts Scott, Irwin and Worden to Earth after their successful mission to the Moon.

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

National Air and Space Museum Director Michael Collins advised JSC that NASM had established a center for research and study with responsibility for a complete library of Lunar photos to document scientific results of the Apollo missions.
ref: www.hq.nasa.gov

NASA's Viking 2 probe reached Mars and entered orbit.

The Viking project consisted of launches of two separate spacecraft to Mars, Viking 1, launched on 20 August 1975, and Viking 2, launched on 9 September 1975. Each spacecraft consisted of an orbiter and a lander. After orbiting Mars and returning images used for landing site selection, the orbiter and lander detached and the lander entered the Martian atmosphere and soft-landed at the selected site. The orbiters continued imaging and other scientific operations from orbit while the landers deployed instruments on the surface. The fully fueled orbiter-lander pair had a mass of 3530 kg. After separation and landing, the lander had a mass of about 600 kg and the orbiter 900 kg. The lander was encased in a bioshield at launch to prevent contamination by terrestrial organisms.

Following launch and a 333 day cruise to Mars, the Viking 2 Orbiter began returning global images of Mars prior to orbit insertion. The orbiter was inserted into a 1500 x 33,000 km, 24.6 hr Mars orbit on 7 August 1976 and trimmed to a 27.3 hr site certification orbit with a periapsis of 1499 km and an inclination of 55.2 degrees on 9 August. Imaging of candidate sites was begun and the landing site was selected based on these pictures and the images returned by the Viking 1 Orbiter. The lander and its aeroshell separated from the orbiter on 3 September 19:39:59 UT. At the time of separation, the lander was orbiting at about 4 km/s. After separation rockets fired to begin lander deorbit. After a few hours, at about 300 km altitude, the lander was reoriented for entry. The aeroshell with its ablatable heat shield slowed the craft as it plunged through the atmosphere. During this time, entry science experiments were performed. At 6 km altitude at about 250 m/s the 16 m diameter lander parachutes were deployed. Seven seconds later the aeroshell was jettisoned, and 8 seconds after that the three lander legs were extended. In 45 seconds the parachute had slowed the lander to 60 m/s. At 1.5 km altitude, retro-rockets were ignited and fired until landing 40 seconds later at about 2.4 m/s. The landing rockets used an 18 nozzle design to spread the hydrogen and nitrogen exhaust over a wide area. It was determined that this would limit surface heating to no more than 1 degree C and that no more than 1 mm of the surface material would be stripped away.

The Viking 2 Lander touched down about 200 km west of the crater Mie in Utopia Planitia at 48.269 deg N latitude and 225.990 deg W longitude at a reference altitude of 4.23 km relative to a reference ellipsoid with an equatorial radius of 3397.2 km and a flatness of 0.0105 (48.039 deg N, 226.032 deg W planetographic) at 3 September 1976 22:58:20 UT (9:49:05 AM local Mars time). Approximately 22 kg of propellants were left at landing. Due to radar misidentification of a rock or highly reflective surface, the thrusters fired an extra time 0.4 seconds before landing, cracking the surface and raising dust. The lander settled down with one leg on a rock, tilted at 8.2 degrees. The cameras began taking images immediately after landing. The Viking 2 Lander operated on the surface for 1281 Mars days and was turned off on 11 April 1980 when its batteries failed.

The Viking 2 Orbiter's operating plan called for the structure connecting the orbiter and lander (the bioshield) to be ejected after separation, but because of problems with the separation the bioshield remained attached to the orbiter. The orbit inclination was raised to 75 degrees on 30 September 1976. The orbiter primary mission ended at the beginning of solar conjunction on 8 November 1976. The extended mission commenced on 14 December 1976 after solar conjunction. On 20 December 1976 the periapsis was lowered to 778 km and the orbit inclination raised to 80 degrees. Operations included close approaches to Deimos in October 1977. The periapsis was lowered to 300 km and the period changed to 24 hours on 23 October 1977. The orbiter developed a leak in its propulsion system that vented its attitude control gas. It was placed in a 302 x 33176 km orbit and turned off on 25 July 1978 after returning almost 16,000 images in 706 orbits around Mars.

The primary objectives of the Viking orbiters were to transport the landers to Mars, perform reconnaissance to locate and certify landing sites, act as a communications relays for the landers, and to perform their own scientific investigations. The orbiter, based on the earlier Mariner 9 spacecraft, was an octagon approximately 2.5 m across. The total launch mass was 2328 kg, of which 1445 kg were propellant and attitude control gas. The eight faces of the ring-like structure were 0.4572 m high and were alternately 1.397 and 0.508 m wide. The overall height was 3.29 m from the lander attachment points on the bottom to the launch vehicle attachment points on top. There were 16 modular compartments, 3 on each of the 4 long faces and one on each short face. Four solar panel wings extended from the axis of the orbiter, the distance from tip to tip of two oppositely extended solar panels was 9.75 m. Power was provided by eight 1.57 x 1.23 m solar panels, two on each wing, were made up of a total of 34,800 solar cells that produced 620 W of power at Mars. Power was also stored in 2 nickel-cadmium 30-amp-hr batteries.

The orbiter's main propulsion unit was mounted above the orbiter bus. Propulsion was furnished by a bipropellant (monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide) liquid-fueled rocket engine which could be gimballed up to 9 degrees. The engine was capable of 1323 N thrust, translating to a delta-V of 1480 m/s. Attitude control was achieved by 12 small compressed-nitrogen jets. An acquisition Sun sensor, a cruise Sun sensor, a Canopus star tracker and an inertial reference unit consisting of 6 gyroscopes allowed three-axis stabilization. Two accelerometers were also on board. Communications were accomplished through a 20-W S-band (2.3 GHz) transmitter and 2 20-W TWTA's. An X-band (8.4 GHz) downlink was also added specifically for radio science and to conduct communications experiments. Uplink was via S-band (2.1 GHz). A 2-axis steerable high-gain parabolic dish antenna with a diameter of approximately 1.5 m was attached at one edge of the orbiter base, and a fixed low-gain antenna extended from the top of the bus. Two tape recorders were each capable of storing 1280 Mbits. A 381 MHz relay radio was also available. Temperature control was achieved by multilayer insulation, thermally activated louvers, and electrical heaters.

Scientific instruments for conducting imaging, atmospheric water vapor, and infrared thermal mapping were enclosed in a temperature controlled, pointable scan platform extending from the base of the orbiter. The scientific instrumentation had a total mass of approximately 72 kg. Radio science investigations were also done using the spacecraft transmitter. Command processing was done by two identical and independent data processors, each with a 4096-word memory for storing uplink command sequences and acquired data.

The lander consisted of a 6-sided aluminum base with alternate 1.09 m and 0.56 m long sides, supported on three extended legs attached to the shorter sides. The leg footpads formed the vertices of an equilateral triangle with 2.21 m sides when viewed from above, with the long sides of the base forming a straight line with the two adjoining footpads. Instrumentation was attached to the top of the base, elevated above the surface by the extended legs. Power was provided by two radioisotope thermal generator (RTG) units containing plutonium 238 affixed to opposite sides of the lander base and covered by wind screens. Each generator was 28 cm tall, 58 cm in diameter, had a mass of 13.6 kg and provided 30 W continuous power at 4.4 volts. Four wet-cell sealed nickel-cadmium 8-amp-hour, 28 volt rechargeable batteries were also onboard to handle peak power loads.

The lander's propulsion was provided for deorbit by a monopropellant hydrazine (N2H4) rocket with 12 nozzles arranged in four clusters of three that provided 32 N thrust, giving a delta-V of 180 m/s. These nozzles also acted as the control thrusters for translation and rotation of the lander. Terminal descent and landing was achieved by three (one affixed on each long side of the base, separated by 120 degress) monopropellant hydrazine engines. The engines had 18 nozzles to disperse the exhaust and minimize effects on the ground, were throttleable from 276 N to 2667 N. The hydrazine was purified to prevent contamination of the Martian surface. The lander carried 85 kg of propellant at launch, contained in two spherical titanium tanks mounted on opposite sides of the lander beneath the RTG windscreens, for a total launch mass of 657 kg. Control was achieved through the use of an inertial reference unit, four gyros, an aerodecelerator, a radar altimeter, a terminal descent and landing radar, and the control thrusters.

Lander communications were accomplished through a 20 W S-band transmitter and two 20 W TWTA's. A 2-axis steerable high-gain parabolic antenna was mounted on a boom near one edge of the lander base. An omnidirectional low-gain S-band antenna also extended from the base. Both these antennae allowed for communication directly with the Earth. A UHF (381 MHz) antenna provided a one-way relay to the orbiter using a 30 W relay radio. Data storage was on a 40 Mbit tape recorder, and the lander computer had a 6000 word memory for command instructions.

The lander carried instruments to achieve the primary scientific objectives of its mission: to study the biology, chemical composition (organic and inorganic), meteorology, seismology, magnetic properties, appearance, and physical properties of the Martian surface and atmosphere. Two 360-degree cylindrical scan cameras were mounted near one long side of the base. From the center of this side extended the sampler arm, with a collector head, temperature sensor, and magnet on the end. A meteorology boom, holding temperature, wind direction, and wind velocity sensors extended out and up from the top of one of the lander legs. A seismometer, magnet and camera test targets, and magnifying mirror are mounted opposite the cameras, near the high-gain antenna. An interior environmentally controlled compartment held the biology experiment and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. The X-ray flourescence spectrometer was also mounted within the structure. A pressure sensor was attached under the lander body. The scientific payload had a total mass of approximately 91 kg.

See also the Viking 2 Lander page.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #3727.

1981 13:35:00 GMT
USSR launched IK Bulgaria 1300 (Intercosmos-Bulgar 1300) from Plesetsk for comprehensive investigation of physical processes in the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere, which carried Bulgarian instruments developed with assistance of Soviet scientists.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Mikhail Sergeyevich Ryazanskiy, Russian Chief Designer of Nll-885 (1946-1951 and 1955-1987), specialized in radio control systems for Soviet rocketry and spacecraft
ref: www.astronautix.com

1997 06:46:00 GMT
An Ariane 44P launched from Kourou carried the Panamsat 6 commercial communications satellite into space, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 43 deg W.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1997 10:41:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 85 (Discovery 23, 86th Shuttle mission) carrying a complement of payloads focused on Mission to Planet Earth objectives, and as preparations for the International Space Station assembly.

STS 85 was launched on time on 7 August 1997 after a smooth countdown carrying a complement of payloads in the cargo bay that focused on Mission to Planet Earth objectives, and as preparations for International Space Station assembly: the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-02); the Japanese Manipulator Flight Development (MFD); the Technology Applications and Science-01 (TAS-1) and the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-02 (IEH-02).

This was the second flight of the CRISTA-SPAS payload. CRISTA-SPAS-02 also represented the fourth mission in a cooperative venture between the German Space Agency (DARA) and NASA. The payload included three telescopes and four spectrometers, deployed on flight day one, to gather data about Earth's middle atmosphere. After more than 200 hours of free flight, CRISTA-SPAS was retrieved on 16 August. The three CRISTA telescopes collected 38 full atmospheric profiles of the middle atmosphere. A total of 22 sounding rockets and 40 balloons were launched from the ground to provide correlating data during the mission. A complementary instrument, the Middle Atmosphere High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation (MAHRSI) also performed well. Data from STS-85 and first CRISTA-SPAS flight, STS-66 in 1994, was expected to yield new insight into the distribution of ozone in the Earth's atmosphere. Once science operations were complete, CRISTA-SPAS was used in simulation exercise to prepare for the first International Space Station (ISS) assembly flight, STS-88, with the payload being manipulated as if it were the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) that will be attached to ISS Node 1.

TAS-1 was a Hitchhiker payload carrying eight experiments designed to demonstrate faster, better, cheaper avionics and processes: Solar Constant Experiment (SOLCON), Infrared Spectral Imaging Radiometer (ISIR) and Shuttle Laster Altimeter (SLA), all part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth program; and the Critical Viscosity of Xenon (CVX), Space Experiment Module (SEM); Two Phase Flow (TPF); Cryogenic Flight Experiment (CFE) and Stand Alone Acceleration Measurement Device and the Wide Band Stand Alone Acceleration Measurement Device (SAAMD/WBSAAMD). All the experiments were completed successfully.

MFD was designed to evaluate use of the Small Fine Arm that will be part of the future Japanese Experiment Module's Remote Manipulator System on the ISS. Despite some glitches, MFD completed a series of exercises by the crew on orbit as well as operators on the ground. Two unrelated Japanese experiments, Two-Phase Fluid Loop Experiment (TPFLEX) and Evaluation of Space Environment and Effects on Materials (ESEM), were mounted near the Small Fine Arm in the payload bay.

IEH-02 was flying a second time and consisted of four experiments, all of which performed well on-orbit: Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-2 (SEH); Ultraviolet Spectrography Telescope for Astronomical Research (UVSTAR); Distribution and Automation Technology Advancement - Colorado Hitchhiker and Student Experiment of Solar Radiation (DATA-CHASER); and Shuttle Glow Experiment-5 and -6, all with common objective to investigate solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) flux and EUV emissions of the Jupiter Io plasma torus system.

In-cabin payloads included: Bioreactor Demonstration System-3 (BDS-3), a cell biology research payload which has flown previously. On this flight, BDS was used for growing colon cancer cells to a larger size than can be achieved on Earth. Also flown were: Protein Crystal Growth - Single locker Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES); Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX); Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local Exhaust (SIMPLEX); Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS), used to observe the Hale-Bopp comet; two Get Away Special (GAS) payloads; Biological Research in Canisters-10 (BRIC-10), one in a series of flights; and the Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE).

The crew also worked with the Orbiter Space Vision System (OSVS), which will be used during ISS assembly. OSVS features a series of dots strategically placed on various payload and vehicle stuctures that permit precise alignment and pointing capability.

STS 85 ended 19 August 1997 when Discovery landed on revolution 190 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,792 feet (2,680 meters). Rollout time: One minute, eight seconds. Orbit altitude: 173 statute miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. Mission duration: 11 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes, 59 seconds. Miles Traveled: 4.7 million. The landing opportunity on 18 August was waved off due to the threat of ground fog in the local area.

The flight crew for STS 85 was: Curtis L. Brown, Jr., Mission Commander; Kent V. Rominger, Pilot; N. Jan Davis, Mission Specialist; Robert L. Curbeam, Jr., Mission Specialist; Stephen K. Robinson, Mission Specialist; Bjarni Tryggvason, (CSA) Payload Specialist.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1997 17:02:00 GMT
Russia's Soyuz TM-26 docked manually at the Mir space station for the Mir Expedition EO-24.

Soyuz TM-26 was a Russian spacecraft which ferried cosmonauts and supplies to the Mir space station. It was launched on 5 August 1997 by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome as Mir Expedition EO-24. The main mission was to transport two specially trained cosmonauts, Anatoliy Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov, to repair or salvage the troubled space station. Soyuz TM-26 docked with Mir on 7 August under manual control. Over the next six months, the crew undertook seven internal and external spacewalks to repair the crippled space station. They repaired the power cable and harness/connectors in the severely damaged SPEKTR module and restored much of the lost power. They also repaired and replaced the oxygen generators in Mir. The hole(s) in the SPEKTR module which caused total depressurization of the station could not be located during their "space walk" inside that module. Repairing or replacing the segments of the solar panels on SPEKTR and sealing the hole(s) was delayed until later missions.

Solovyov and Vinogradov, together with French astronaut Eyharts (launched aboard Soyuz TM-27), undocked from the forward port on Mir at 05:52 GMT on 19 February 1998, fired their deorbit engines at 08:16 GMT, and landed in Kazakstan at 50 deg 11 N, 67 deg 31 E the same day.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

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