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Race To Space
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Died, Francis Baily, English astronomer, mathematician, described "Baily's Beads" during a solar eclipse
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Ernest Rutherford, physicist (Nobel 1908 "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances")

Ernest Rutherford, the first Baron Rutherford of Nelson, OM, FRS, (30 August 1871 - 19 October 1937), received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances" in 1908. He is called the "father" of nuclear physics, and pioneered the orbital theory of the atom, notably in his discovery of Rutherford scattering with his Gold Foil experiment.

See also Rutherford - A Brief Biography
ref: www.nobelprize.org

J. Coggia discovered asteroid #217 Eudora.

Meteor rates of 13-15,000 per hour were seen radiating from near Andromeda, fragmentary remains of Biela's Comet which split into two major fragments after its close passage to the Sun in that year.
ref: arksky.org

J. Palisa discovered asteroid #313 Chaldaea.

Scottish inventor Hubert Cecil Booth filed a patent for a vacuum cleaner - without running lines to space to collect the vacuum.
ref: todayinsci.com

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #675 Ludmilla.

Born, Sergei Aleksandrovich Afanasyev, Russian First Minister of General Machine Building, in charge of Soviet ballistic rocket and space industries (1965-1983)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

M. Wolf discovered asteroid #901 Brunsia.

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1080 Orchis.

Died, Wilhelm Wien, physicist (Nobel 1911 "for his discoveries regarding the laws governing the radiation of heat")

Wilhelm Wien (13 January 1864 - 30 August 1928) was a German physicist who, in 1893, used theories about heat and electromagnetism to compose Wien's Law, which relates the maximum emission of a blackbody to its temperature.

As Max von Laue wrote of Wien, "his immortal glory" was that he "led us to the very gates of quantum physics".

Wien was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for 1911.
ref: www.nobelprize.org

M. Wolf and M. Ferrero discovered asteroids #1169 Alwine and #2119 Schwall.

Born, John Leonard "Jack" Swigert Jr (at Denver, Colorado USA), NASA astronaut (Apollo 13; 5d 22.75h in spaceflight), survived the first emergency beyond low Earth orbit, altitude record (401,056 km, still standing, 2021) (deceased)
Astronaut Jack Swigert Jr., NASA photo S71-52266 (December 1971)Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021) 384px-Jack_Swigert.jpg
Astronaut Jack Swigert Jr., NASA photo S71-52266 (December 1971)
Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021)
ref: www.nasa.gov

M. Laugier discovered asteroid #1247 Memoria.

E. Delporte discovered asteroids #1361 Leuschneria and #1363 Herberta; E. Hubble discovered asteroid #1373 Cincinnati.

G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1653 Yakhontovia.

Died, Joseph John Thomson, English physicist, discovered the electron (Nobel 1906 "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases")
ref: www.nobelprize.org

The first successful launching at NACA Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) of an underslung or "piggyback" rocket booster system took place at Wallops Island, Virginia.
ref: www.hq.nasa.gov

1958 03:18:00 GMT
In the second Argus experiment, another small atomic bomb was detonated in space over the South Atlantic Ocean.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

NASA's Ranger 1 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after 111 orbits, instead of going to the Moon, because of an upper stage misfire.

NASA Ranger 1, launched 23 August 1961 from the Atlantic Missile Range on an Atlas-Agena B booster, was a test version of the spacecraft which would attempt an unmanned crash landing on the Moon. The 306 kg spacecraft did not attain the scheduled extremely elongated orbit because the Agena B upper stage misfired. Although the spacecraft systems were tested successfully, only part of the eight project experiments could be carried out. Ranger 1 reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 30 August after 111 orbits. Ranger 1's primary mission was to test the performance of those functions and parts that are necessary for carrying out subsequent Lunar and planetary missions using essentially the same spacecraft design.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. approved the Lunar Orbiter program with objectives of reconnaissance of the Moon's topography, investigation of its environment, and collection of selenodetic information from 22 miles above the surface.
ref: www.hq.nasa.gov

1966 17:51:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A-2 V-On,Maurer,TPS Test/Technology/Ultraviolet Astronomy mission # 170 in which Pete Knight reached a maximum speed of 3543 mph (5702 kph, Mach 5.21) and achieve a maximum altitude of 100,200 ft (30.541 km, 18.977 mi).
ref: en.wikipedia.org

T. Smirnova discovered asteroids #1977 Shura, #2011 Veteraniya, #2126 Gerasimovich, #2141 Simferopol and #1857 Parchomenko.

Born, K. Megan McArthur PhD (at Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), NASA mission specialist astronaut (STS 125; over 12d 21.5h in spaceflight)
Astronaut K. Megan McArthur, STS 125 mission specialist, NASA photo (13 December 2007) Source: NASA Biography 5052047750_ff5913c168_o.jpg
Astronaut K. Megan McArthur, STS 125 mission specialist, NASA photo (13 December 2007)
Source: NASA Biography
ref: www.nasa.gov

1973 00:14:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-24 from Plesetsk for operation of a system of long range telephone and telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to the stations of the Orbita network.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1974 14:07:39 GMT
The first Dutch satellite, the Astronomical Netherlands Satellite (ANS), was launched from Vandenberg, California, but placed into a lower orbit than planned.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroids #2189 Zaragoza and #2893.

E. F. Helin discovered asteroid #2645 Daphne Plane.

1977 18:14:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 1-38 from Plesetsk for operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio-communication system, transmission of USSR central television programs to stations in the Orbita network, and international cooperation.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Comet Howard-Koomen-Michels collided with the Sun, the first recorded such occurrance, with an energy release calculated to be "about equal to 1 million hydrogen bombs."
ref: www.esa.int

L. Brozek discovered asteroid #2613 Plzen.

A. Gilmore and P. Kilmartin discovered asteroid #3087 Beatrice Tinsley; E. Bowell discovered asteroids #2730 Barks, #2863 Ben Mayer, #2871 Schober and #3123 Dunham.

1983 02:32:00 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 8 (Challenger 3, 8th Shuttle mission) to carry India's INSAT-1B multipurpose satellite to orbit and for six days of experiments, on which Guion Bluford became the first Negro astronaut in space.

STS 8 was launched 30 August 1983 after a 17 minute delay due to weather.

During the flight, INSAT-1B, a multipurpose satellite for India attached to a Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motor, was deployed. The nose of the orbiter was held away from the Sun for 14 hours to test the flight deck area in extreme cold. For the Development Flight Instrumentation Pallet (DFI PLT), the crew filmed the performance of an experimental heat pipe mounted in the cargo bay; also, the orbiter dropped to an altitude of 139 miles to perform tests on thin atomic oxygen to identify the cause of the glow that surrounds parts of orbiter at night. The remote manipulator system was tested to evaluate joint reactions to higher loads. Biofeedback experiments included six rats flown in the Animal Enclosure Module to observe animal reactions in space. Other payloads on STS 8 included: the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES); a Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment; the Incubator-Cell Attachment Test (ICAT); Investigation of STS Atmospheric Luminosities (ISAL); Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME); and five Get Away Special experiment packages including eight cans of postal covers. Testing was conducted between Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-1 (TDRS-1) and the orbiter using the Ku-band antenna, and investigations continued on Space Adaptation Syndrome.

STS 8 ended 5 September 1983 when Challenger landed on revolution 98 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,371 feet. Rollout time: 50 seconds. Launch weight: 242,742 pounds. Landing weight: 203,945 pounds. Orbit altitude: 191 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Mission duration: six days, one hour, eight minutes, 43 seconds. Miles traveled: 2.5 million. Challenger was returned to Kennedy Space Center on 9 September 1983.

The flight crew for STS 8 was: Richard H. Truly, Commander; Daniel C. Brandenstein, Pilot; Dale A. Gardner, Mission Specialist; Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Mission Specialist (first Negro astronaut in space); William E. Thornton, Mission Specialist.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1983 22:49:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 3-21 from Plesetsk for operation of the USSR long-range communications system, and transmission of USSR Central Television programs to stations in the Orbita network and within the framework of international cooperation.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

R. S. Dunbar and M. Barucci discovered asteroid #3362 Khufu.

1984 08:41:50 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 41-D (Discovery 1, 12th Shuttle mission) carrying the SBS-D, SYNCOM IV-2 and TELSTAR satellites to orbit, and for six days of experiments.

The STS 41-D launch attempt on 25 June 1984 was scrubbed during the T-9 minute hold due to failure of the orbiter's back-up general purpose computer (GPC). The launch attempt 26 June was aborted at T-4 seconds when the GPC detected an anomaly in the orbiter's number three main engine. Discovery was returned to the OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility), and the number three main engine was replaced. To preserve the launch schedule of future missions, the 41-D cargo was remanifested to include payload elements from both the 41-D and 41-F flights, and the 41-F mission was canceled. The Shuttle was restacked and returned to the pad. The third launch attempt on 29 August was delayed when a discrepancy was noted in the flight software of Discovery's master events controller. The launch on 30 August was then delayed six minutes 50 seconds when a private aircraft intruded into the warning area off the coast of Cape Canaveral.

During STS 41-D, three satellites were deployed: Satellite Business System SBS-D, SYNCOM IV-2 (also known as LEASAT 2) and TELSTAR. The 102 foot by 13 foot Office of Application and Space Technology-1 (OAST-1) solar wing was extended from the payload bay. The wing carried different types of solar cells, and was extended to full height several times. It demonstrated large lightweight solar arrays for future use in building large facilities in space such as the International Space Station. Other payloads aboard STS 41-D included: Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) III; Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME); Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment; IMAX camera, being flown its second time; and an Air Force experiment, Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS).

STS 41-D ended 5 September 1984 when Discovery landed on revolution 97 on Runway 17, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 10,275 feet. Rollout time: 60 seconds. Launch weight: 263,477 pounds. Landing weight: 201,674 pounds. Orbit altitude: 184 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 28.5 degrees. Mission duration: six days, zero hours, 56 minutes, four seconds. Miles traveled: 2.5 million. The landing was planned for the Edwards desert runway because it was Discovery's first flight. The orbiter was returned to Kennedy Space Center on 10 September 1984.

The flight crew for STS 41-D was: Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., Commander; Michael L. Coats, Pilot; Judith A. Resnik, Mission Specialist 1; Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist 2; Richard M. Mullane, Mission Specialist 3; Charles D. Walker, Payload Specialist 1.
ref: www.nasa.gov

1990 22:46:00 GMT
An Ariane 44LP launched from Kourou carried the UK Skynet 4C military communications satellite and the Eutelsat II F1 telecommunications satellite to orbit, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 1 deg W and 13 deg E, respectively.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1991 02:30:00 GMT
Japan launched Solar-A (Yohkoh, Japanese for sunbeam) from Kagoshima for X-ray imaging of Sun.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1993 12:38:00 GMT
The US Air Force launched Navstar 2A-13 (USA 94) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a GPS 2A-22 satellite component of the Global Positioning System, which was placed in Plane B Slot 4.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1995 19:33:00 GMT
Russia launched Cosmos 2319 from Baikonur, a military communications satellite positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 80 deg E.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1998 00:31:00 GMT
A Proton booster launched from Baikonur carried Luxembourg's Astra 2A communications satellite to orbit, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 28 deg E.

Astra 2A satellite was a Hughes HS-601 with an XIPS ion engine for station keeping, owned by Societe Europeene de Satellites, based in Luxembourg. Luxembourg has not registered any of the Astra satellites with the United Nations, in violation of treaty requirements. The first burn of the Proton's Block DM3 booster on 30 August 1998 put the spacecraft into a 220 x 36,007 km x 51.6 deg transfer orbit; it was then placed in geostationary orbit at 28.3 degrees E.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

2001 06:46:00 GMT
An Ariane 44L launched from Kourou carried the Intelsat 902 geosynchronous communications satellite to orbit, initially stationed over the Indian Ocean to provide coverage to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia through 44 C- and 12 Ku-band transponders.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Died, Fred Whipple, astronomer (comet research), invented the Whipple Shield, a thin metal outer skin for spacecraft to reduce catastrophic damage from meteors

Fred Lawrence Whipple (5 November 1906 - 30 August 2004), the oldest living American astronomer at the time of his death, and one of the last giants of twentieth century astronomy, passed away at the age of 97 following a prolonged illness. A discoverer of six comets, Whipple may be best known for his comet research. In 1950, he first suggested that comets were "icy conglomerates," what the press called "dirty snowballs." His dirty snowball theory caught the imagination of the public even as it revolutionized comet science.

Mindful of the damage to spacecraft from meteors, in 1946 he invented the Meteor Bumper, a thin outer skin of metal. Also known as the Whipple Shield, this mechanism explodes a meteor on contact, preventing the spacecraft from receiving catastrophic damage. Improved versions of it are still in use, including on the Stardust spacecraft, which protected the vehicle during its Comet Wild 2 encounter on 2 January 2004.
ref: ui.adsabs.harvard.edu

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter completed the aerobraking phase of operations used to reshape its highly elliptical capture orbit to the nearly circular one required for science operations.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), launched 12 August 2005 on an Atlas V, was designed to orbit Mars over a full Martian year and gather data with six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution imager. The science objectives of the mission are to: characterize the present climate of Mars and its physical mechanisms of seasonal and interannual climate change; determine the nature of complex layered terrain on Mars and identify water-related landforms; search for sites showing evidence of aqueous and/or hydrothermal activity; identify and characterize sites with the highest potential for landed science and sample return by future Mars missions; and return scientific data from Mars landed craft during a relay phase. MRO was planned to return high resolution images, study surface composition, search for subsurface water, trace dust and water in the atmosphere, and monitor weather.

The launch window opened at Kennedy Space Center on 10 August 2005, with launch opportunities available until 5 September. The cruise to Mars took about seven months and included checkouts, calibrations, navigation, and three trajectory correction maneuvers (TCMs). The planned fourth TCM and possible fifth TCM were not required, saving 60 pounds (27 kg) of fuel, usable during MRO's extended mission. On 10 March 2006, MRO reached Mars and performed a Mars orbit insertion maneuver, passing under the southern hemisphere of Mars at an altitude of 370–400 km (230–250 mi) and firing its main engines for about 27 minutes. Signals that the burn had started reached Earth at 21:24 UT (4:24 PM EST) on 10 March. With 6 minutes left in the burn MRO passed behind Mars as seen from Earth. Radio communication resumed when it re-emerged about 30 minutes later.

The 1641 second orbit insertion burn slowed the spacecraft by about one km/sec, leaving it in a 400 x 35000 km polar capture orbit with a 35.5 hour period. The helium pressurization tank was colder than expected, which reduced the pressure in the fuel tank by about 21 kilopascals (3.0 psi). The reduced pressure caused the diminished engine thrust by 2%, but MRO automatically compensated by extending the burn time by 33 seconds. Shortly after insertion, the periapsis (closest approach to Mars) was 426 km (265 mi) from the surface (3,806 km (2,365 mi) from the planet's center). The apoapsis (the farthest distance from Mars) was 44,500 km (27,700 mi) from the surface (47,972 km (29,808 mi) from the planet's center).

Aerobraking was used over the next five months, from 30 March to 30 August 2006, to lower the orbit. MRO fired its thrusters twice more in September 2006 to fine-tune its final, nearly circular science orbit to approximately 250 to 316 km (155 to 196 mi) above the Martian surface (with periapsis over the south pole and apoapsis over the north pole). There are twelve sun-synchronous orbits per day so that the orbiter will always see the ground at 3:00 PM local time at the equator.

The SHARAD radar antennas were deployed on 16 September 2006. All of the scientific instruments were tested and most were turned off prior to the solar conjunction which occurred from 7 October to 6 November 2006. The "primary science phase" began after the conjunction ended.

MRO took its first high resolution image from its science orbit on 29 September 2006, resolving items as small as 90 cm (3 feet) in diameter. On 6 October, NASA released detailed pictures from the MRO of Victoria crater with the Opportunity rover on the rim above it. On 17 November 2006 NASA announced the successful test of the MRO as an orbital communications relay: Using the NASA rover Spirit as the point of origin for the transmission, the MRO acted as a relay for transmitting data back to Earth.

HiRISE continues to return images enabling discoveries regarding the geology of Mars. Among these is the banded terrain observations indicating the presence and action of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) or water on the surface of Mars in its recent geological past. HiRISE photographed the Phoenix lander during its parachute descent to Vastitas Borealis on 25 May 2008 (sol 990). On 6 August 2012 (sol 2483) the orbiter passed over Gale crater, the landing site of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, during its EDL phase. The HiRISE camera captured an image of the Curiosity rover descending with its backshell and supersonic parachute.

On 3 March 2010, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed another significant milestone, having transmitted over 100 terabits of data back to Earth, which was more than all other interplanetary probes sent from Earth combined.

Science operations took place nominally from the end of solar conjunction in November 2006 to the start of the next solar conjunction in November 2008, roughly one Martian year. Following the nominal mission, extended science and communications relay missions have been undertaken.

In November 2006, problems began to surface with two MRO instruments: A stepping mechanism in the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) skipped on multiple occasions, resulting in a field of view that is slightly out of position. By December normal operations of the instrument were suspended, although a mitigation strategy allows the instrument to continue making most of its intended observations. Also, an increase in noise and resulting bad pixels has been observed in several CCDs of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). Operation of the camera with a longer warm-up time has alleviated the issue, but the cause is still unknown and the problem may return. The orbiter continued to experience recurring problems in 2009, including four spontaneous resets, culminating in a four-month shut-down of the spacecraft from August to December. While engineers did not determine the cause of the recurrent resets, they have created new software to help troubleshoot the problem should it recur.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter consists of a main bus, constructed of titanium, carbon composites, and aluminum honeycomb. Extending from the bus are two solar panel wings and a 3 meter high-gain antenna dish. The bus houses the propulsion system, telecommunications, command, guidance, and science instruments. The maximum spacecraft mass was 2180 kg, including 1149 kg of propellants.

Propulsion is provided by a total of 20 thrusters. Six 170N monopropellant (hydrazine) main-engine thrusters were used for the Mars Orbit insertion burn, which used about 70% of the total fuel onboard. Six 22N thrusters are used for trajectory correction maneuvers and eight 0.9N thrusters for pointing. All thrusters are fed from a single propellant tank mounted near the center of the main bus. A pressurant tank is used to force propellant to the motors. Spacecraft control is achieved with the use of reaction wheels and reaction control system thrusters. Navigation and attitude knowledge is determined by 16 Sun sensors, two star tracker cameras, and two inertial measurement units which use accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Two way telecommunications is done via X-band at about 8000 MHz, primarily through the 3 m diameter steerable high-gain dish antenna. Two low-gain Ka-band antennas, mounted on the high-gain dish, are also available for transmission and reception. Two transponders and three TWT amplifiers allow maximum data rates of 6 megabits/sec. Power is provided by the two solar cell array wings mounted on opposite side of the bus. Each array has an area of 10 square meters and contains 3744 solar cells. The panels produce 1000 Watts at Mars which is used to run the equipment directly, and to charge two nickel-hydrogen 50 A-hr, 32-volt batteries. Thermal control is achieved by a combination of radiators, surface coatings, insulation, and heaters.

MRO's science payload includes the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), a visible stereo imaging camera; the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), a visible/near-infrared spectrometer to study the surface composition; the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS), an infrared radiometer to study the atmosphere, a shallow subsurface sounding radar (SHARAD) provided by the Italian Space Agency to search for underground water; the Context Camera (CTX), to provide wide-area views; and the Mars Color Imager (MARCI), to monitor clouds and dust storms. In addition, there are three engineering instruments aboard MRO: the Electra UHF communications and navigation package, used as a relay between the Earth and other Mars missions; the optical navigation camera, tested for possible navigational use on future planetary spacecraft; and the Ka-band telecommunications experiment package, for testing high performance Ka-band communications. Engineering accelerometer data is used to study the structure of the Martian atmosphere, and tracking of the orbiter is used to study the gravity field of Mars.
ref: mars.jpl.nasa.gov

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