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Race To Space
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1812
Born, Johann Gottfried Galle, German astronomer (first sighted Neptune by telescope within 1 degree of Le Verrier's predicted position, 23 September 1846)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1897
Died, Alvan Graham Clark, American astronomer, telescope maker (discovered Sirius B, the magnitude 8 companion of Sirius, while testing a new 18 inch refracting telescope in 1862), died 3 weeks after the first use of the Yerkes 40" (100 cm) lens
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1907
K. Lohnert discovered asteroid #635 Vundtia.

1931
C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1197 Rhodesia.

1931
Robert H. Goddard received a patent for the first rocket powered aircraft design.
ref: patents.google.com

1933
The first attempt was made to launch the subscale prototype of the Magdeburg Pilot Rocket from a launch stand 9 meters tall, erected in the countryside near Magdeburg, Germany. However, the rocket developed insufficient thrust to clear the tower.
ref: passingstrangeness.wordpress.com

1946
Born, F. Andrew "Drew" Gaffney MD (at Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA), NASA payload specialist astronaut (STS 40; nearly 9d 2.25h in spaceflight)
Astronaut Dr. Drew Gaffney, NASA photo gaffney.jpg
Astronaut Dr. Drew Gaffney, NASA photo
ref: www.jsc.nasa.gov

1959
The first ballistic missile-carrying submarine was launched, the USS George Washington.
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) during her launching ceremony in Groton 300px-USS_George_Washington_%28SSBN_589%29.jpg
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) during her launching ceremony in Groton
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1975
E. Roemer discovered asteroid #1983 Bok.

1978
NASA's Skylab orbiting laboratory, initially placed in a low-drag attitude, drifted out of low-drag using 1/3 of the remaining nitrogen attitude control system propellant.

NASA's Skylab (SL), launched 14 May 1973, was an orbiting space station manned by crews arriving via separate launches. Skylab was composed of five parts, the Apollo telescope mount (ATM), the multiple docking adapter (MDA), the airlock module (AM), the instrument unit (IU), and the orbital workshop (OWS). Skylab was in the form of a cylinder, with the ATM being positioned 90 degrees from the longitudinal axis after insertion into orbit. The ATM was a solar observatory, and it provided attitude control and experiment pointing for the rest of the cluster. It was attached to the MDA and AM at one end of the OWS. Installation and retrieval of film used in the ATM was accomplished by astronauts during extravehicular activity (EVA). The MDA served as a dock for the command and service modules of the visiting manned spacecraft which served as personnel taxis to Skylab. The AM provided an airlock between the MDA and the OWS, and contained controls and instrumentation. The IU, which was used only during launch and the initial phases of operation, provided guidance and sequencing functions for the initial deployment of the ATM, solar arrays, etc.

The OWS was actually the refitted S-IVB second stage of a Saturn IB booster (from the AS-212 vehicle), a leftover from the Apollo program originally intended for one of the canceled Apollo Earth orbital missions, modified for long duration manned habitation in orbit. It contained provisions and crew quarters necessary to support three-person crews for periods of up to 84 days each. All parts were also capable of unmanned, in-orbit storage, reactivation, and reuse.

Skylab was originally planned as a minimially-altered S-IVB to be launched on a Saturn IB. The small size of the IB would have required Skylab to double as a rocket stage during launch, only being retrofitted as a space station once it was in orbit. With the cancellation of Apollo missions 18-20, a Saturn V was made available and thus the "Wet Workshop" concept, as it was called, was put aside and Skylab was launched dry and fully outfitted. Skylab's grid flooring system was a highly visible legacy of the wet workshop concept.

Severe damage was sustained during launch, including the loss of the station's micrometeoroid shield/sun shade and one of its main solar panels: An unexpected telemetry indication of meteoroid shield deployment and solar array wing 2 beam fairing separation was received 1 minute and 3 seconds after liftoff. Debris from the lost micrometeroid shield further complicated matters by pinning the remaining solar panel to the side of the station, preventing its deployment, thus leaving the station with a huge power deficit. Without the solar shield, temperatures soared in the station. The station underwent extensive repair during a spacewalk by the first crew; repairs by crews throughout the manned stays led to virtually all mission objectives being met.

The first Skylab crew was aboard from 25 May to 22 June 1973, the crew of the SL-2 mission (73-032A). Next, it was manned during the period 28 July to 25 September 1973, by the crew of the SL-3 mission (73-050A). The final manned period was from 16 November 1973 to 8 February 1974, when it was inhabited by the SL-4 mission (73-090A) crew.

Skylab orbited Earth 2,476 times during the 171 days and 13 hours of its occupation during the three manned Skylab missions; astronauts performed ten spacewalks totalling 42 hours 16 minutes. Skylab logged approximately 2,000 hours of scientific and medical experiments, including eight solar experiments: The coronal holes in the Sun were discovered; many medical experiments were on astronauts' adaptation to extended periods of microgravity. Each successive Skylab mission set a record for the duration of time the astronauts spent in space.

Following the final manned phase of the Skylab mission, ground controllers performed some engineering tests of certain Skylab systems, tests that ground personnel were reluctant to do while men were aboard. Results from these tests helped to determine causes of failures during the mission, and to obtain data on long term degradation of space systems.

Upon completion of the engineering tests, Skylab was positioned into a stable attitude and systems were shut down. It was expected that Skylab would remain in orbit eight to ten years. It was to have been visited by an early shuttle mission, reboosted into a higher orbit, and used by space shuttle crews, but delays in the first flight of the shuttle made this impossible: Increased solar activity heating the outer layers of the Earth's atmosphere, thereby increasing the drag on the station, led to an early reentry on 11 July 1979. Skylab disintegrated over the Indian Ocean and Western Australia after a worldwide scare over its pending crash, casting large pieces of debris in populated areas. Fortunately, the only casualty was a single Australian cow.

Two flight quality Skylabs were built, the second, a backup, is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

See also NASA's Skylab Operations Summary
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1980 12:38:00 GMT
USSR Soyuz T-2 returned to Earth with cosmonauts Malyshev and Aksenov after their stay at Salyut 6.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1984 23:03:00 GMT
The Intelsat 5 F-9 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, due to a failure of the Centaur upper stage, it was left stranded in a useless orbit.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1986
The Rogers Commission released its report on the "Challenger" disaster, criticizing NASA and rocket-builder Morton Thiokol for management problems leading to the explosion that claimed the lives of the seven Shuttle astronauts.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

2001 06:45:00 GMT
The Intelsat 901 communications satellite was launched from Kourou, and placed in geosynchronous orbit at 18 deg W over the Atlantic Ocean.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov


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