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1066
Halley's Comet was observed in the sky.

1930
H Van Gent discovered asteroid #1165 Imprinetta.

1931
C Jackson discovered asteroid #1193 Africa.

1932
The Earth-crossing asteroid #1862 Apollo was discovered by K. Reinmuth.

1942
Born, V A Voloshin, Soviet cosmonaut

1957
Asteroid #3648 was discovered.

1962
MIT researchers performed the first satellite relay of a TV signal, from California to Massachusetts, bouncing a picture of the letters "M.I.T." off Echo 1.

1962
The first Lockheed A-12 was taxi tested, a preliminary version of the SR-71, the fastest publically known airplane (2005).

1962 04:04:00 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 3 (also called Sputnik 13)

Cosmos 3, launched 24 April 1962, was one of a series of Soviet Earth satellites whose purpose was to study outer space, the upper layers of the atmosphere, and Earth. Scientific data and measurements were relayed to Earth by multichannel telemetry systems equipped with space borne memory units.

1967
Died, Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov, Soviet cosmonaut (Voshkod 1, Soyuz 1), the first human to die during a space mission (Soyuz 1)

1967
USSR Soyuz 1 returned to Earth after a day in orbit; its parachutes failed to deploy, resulting in a crash landing which killed its passenger.

The mission objective for Soyuz 1, launched 23 April 1967, was developmental testing of the spacecraft systems and components in space flight conditions. Soyuz 1 was piloted by cosmonaut V. M. Komarov, who had made a previous flight in a Voskhod spaceship. On 24 April 1967, after 24 hours in space (18 orbits), cosmonaut Komarov successfully accomplished retrofire, and Soyuz 1 made a safe reentry into the dense layers of the atmosphere. Communications continued normally, with the temporary blackout as the spacecraft passed through the upper atmosphere where the external antennas were burned off. Based on monitored conversations, Komarov was fully functioning throughout the flight and rode the ship down alive and conscious. However, because of a failure in the parachure system, the main parachure did not deploy on schedule. The high descent velocity resulted the destruction of the ship and the death of cosmonaut Komarov.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1967-037A

1970 13:35:00 GMT
China became the fifth nation to launch its own satellite into orbit, the China 1 probe launched on a Long March 1 booster.

DFH 1 (Dong Fang Hong - Red is East), launched 24 April 1970, was a Chinese communications satellite that simply contained a radio transmitter. It was the first Chinese experimental satellite launched by a LM-1 (Long March) booster into a 441 x 2286 km orbit inclined at 68.4 deg. from a launch facility near Lop Nor. The primary satellite mission was to broadcast the song "Dong Fang Hong", paying tribute to Chairman Mao, and to announce the time. The satellite was a sphere one meter diameter. It ceased transmitting in June 1970. This was the first satellite launched by China on its own booster, making China the fifth nation to put a spacecraft into orbit using its own rocket.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1970-034A

1971
USSR cosmonauts Shatalov, Yeliseyev and Rukavishniko, aboard Soyuz 10, attempted to dock with Salyut 1 but damaged the docking mechanism, preventing them from being able to enter the station.

The first space station, Salyut 1 (also called DOS 1 and Zarya), was launched 19 April 1971 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Its announced purpose was to test the elements of the systems of a space station and to conduct scientific research and experiments. The cylindrical Soviet facility was 13.1 meters (43 feet) long (20 meters by some reports) and about 4.2 meters (13'9") across (outside dimensions), designed for a crew of three. Of its several compartments, three were pressurized (100 cubic m total), and two could be entered by the crew. The first (transfer) compartment was connected directly with the Soyuz craft that carried the crew from Earth. The second (main) compartment was about 4 meters in diameter. Televised views showed enough space for eight big chairs (seven at work consoles), several control panels, and 20 portholes (some unobstructed by instruments). The third pressurized compartment contained the control and communications equipment, the power supply, the life support system, and other auxiliary equipment. The fourth, and final, compartment (unpressurized) was about 2 meters in diameter, and contained the engines and associated control equipment. Salyut had buffer chemical batteries, reserve supplies of oxygen and water, and regeneration systems. Externally mounted were two double sets of solar cell panels that extended like wings from the smaller compartments at each end, the heat regulation system's radiators, and orientation and control devices.

After taking 24 hours for rendezvous and approach, Soyuz 10 docked with Salyut on 23 April 1971 and remained docked for 5.5 hours. The crew (Vladimir Shatalov, Alexei Yeliseyev and Nikolai Rukavishnikov) did not transfer to the space station because their docking mechanism was damaged during the attempt, but spent 21 days orbiting the Earth.

Soyuz 11 required 3 hours 19 minites on 7 June 1971 to complete docking. The next crew (Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev) spent 22 days on the station. Their mission was announced as (1) checking and testing the design, units, onboard systems, and equipment of the orbital piloted station, (2) trying out the methods and autonomous means of the station's orientation and navigation, as well as the systems for controlling the space complex while maneuvering in orbit, (3) studying geological-geographical objects on the Earth's surface, atmospheric formations, and the snow and ice cover of the Earth, (4) studying physical characteristics, processes, and phenomena in the atmosphere and outer space in various ranges of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, and (5) conducting medico-biological studies to determine the possibilities of performing various jobs by the cosmonauts in the station and study the influence of space flight factors on the human organism. On 29 June, after flying 362 orbits docked with Salyut, the Soyuz 11 crew transferred back to Soyuz 11; they died during the return trip to Earth because of a hatch seal failure.

Originally designed to last three months, Salyut 1 was kept aloft to study how the systems behaved over an extended period, in order to identify fixes to improve their reliability on later flights. It was moved to higher orbits in July and August of 1971 to ensure that it would not end through early decay. During the extended period fuel consumption and the ballistic and drag characteristics of the station were determined. Use of the reaction control system became difficult after an electrical failure in early October. Georgiy Degytyarenko recommended to Mishin that the station be deorbited safely into the Pacific Ocean without delay before complete control was lost. Mishin agreed and the signal was transmitted from Yevpatoriya on 10 October. The same procedure was followed for all subsequent stations except Salyut 7 (where control was completely lost).

On 11 October 1971, the Salyut 1 engines were fired, for the last time, to lower its orbit and ensure prompt decay over the Pacific Ocean. After 175 days in orbit, the first real space station disintegrated when it reentered the Earth's atmosphere, never having been used again.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1971-032A

1972 01:25:48 GMT
NASA Apollo 16 astronauts Young and Duke lifted off from the Moon for their return to Earth from the fifth manned landing mission.

Apollo 16 (AS 511) consisted of the Command and Service Module (CSM) "Casper" and the Lunar Module (LM) "Orion." The launch on 16 April 1972 was postponed from the originally scheduled 17 March date because of a docking ring jettison malfunction. It was the fifth mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth. On 21 April 1972 two astronauts (Apollo 16 Commander John W. Young and LM pilot Charles M. Duke, Jr.) landed in the Descartes region of the Moon in the Lunar Module (LM) while the Command and Service Module (CSM) (with CM pilot Thomas K. Mattingly, II) 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 24 April and the astronauts returned to Earth on 27 April.

The primary mission goals of inspecting, surveying, and sampling materials in the Descartes region, emplacement and activation of surface experiments, conducting inflight experiments and photographic tasks from Lunar orbit, engineering evaluation of spacecraft and equipment, and performance of zero-gravity experiments were achieved despite the mission being shortened by one day. Young, 41, was a Navy Captain who had flown on three previous spaceflights (Gemini 3, Gemini 10, and Apollo 10; he later flew on STS-1 and STS-9), Mattingly, 36, was a Navy Lt. Commander on his first spaceflight (he later flew STS-4 and STS-51C), and Duke, 36, was an Air Force Lt. Colonel also on his first spaceflight.

Apollo 16 was launched at 17:54:00 (12:54:00 p.m. EST) on Saturn V SA-511 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The spacecraft entered Earth parking orbit at 18:05:56 UT and translunar injection took place at 20:27:37 UT. The CSM and S-IVB stage separated at 20:58:59 UT and CSM-LM docking was achieved at 21:15:53 UT. The S-IVB stage was released into a Lunar impact trajectory, but due to an earlier problem with the auxiliary propulsion system (APS) helium regulators, which resulted in continuous venting and loss of helium, the second APS burn could not be made. Tracking of the S-IVB was lost on 17 April at 21:03 UT due to a transponder failure. (The S-IVB stage impacted the Moon on 19 April at 21:02:04 UT at 1.3 N, 23.8 W with a velocity of 2.5 to 2.6 km/s at a 79 degree angle from the horizontal, as estimated from the Apollo 12, 14 and 16 seismic station data.) A mid-course correction was performed at 00:33:01 UT on 18 April. During translunar coast a CSM navigation problem was discovered in which a false indication would cause loss of inertial reference, this was solved by a real-time change in the computer program. The SIM door was jettisoned on 19 April at 15:57:00 UT and Lunar orbit insertion took place at 20:22:28 UT. Two revolutions later, the orbit was lowered to one with a perilune of 20 km.

At 15:24 UT on 20 April, Young and Duke entered the LM. The LM separated from the CSM at 18:08:00 UT, but the LM descent was delayed almost 6 hours due to a malfunction in the yaw gimbal servo loop on the CSM which caused oscillations in the service propulsion system (SPS). Engineers determined that the problem would not seriously affect CSM steering and the mission was allowed to continue with the LM descent. The LM landed at 02:23:35 UT on 21 April in the Descartes highland region just north of the crater Dolland at 9.0 S, 15.5 E. Young and Duke made three moonwalk EVAs totaling 20 hours, 14 minutes. During this time they covered 27 km using the Lunar Roving Vehicle, collected 94.7 kg of rock and soil samples, took photographs, and set up the ALSEP and other scientific experiments. Other experiments were also performed from orbit in the CSM during this time.

The LM lifted off from the Moon at 01:25:48 UT on 24 April after 71 hours, 2 minutes on the lunar surface. After the LM docked with the CSM at 03:35:18 UT the Lunar samples and other equipment were transferred from the LM and the LM was jettisoned at 20:54:12 UT on 24 April. The LM began tumbling, apparently due to an open circuit breaker in the guidance and navigation system. As a result the planned deorbit and Lunar impact could not be attempted. The LM remained in Lunar orbit with an estimated lifetime of one year. The instrument boom which carried the orbital mass spectrometer would not retract and was jettisoned. Because of earlier problems with the SPS yaw gimbal servo loop the mission was shortened by one day. The orbital shaping maneuver was cancelled, and the subsatellite was spring-launched at 21:56:09 UT into an elliptical orbit with a lifetime of one month, rather than the planned one-year orbit. Transearth injection began at 02:15:33 UT on 25 April. On 25 April at 20:43 UT Mattingly began a cislunar EVA to retrieve camera film from the SIM bay and inspect instruments, two trips taking a total of 1 hour, 24 minutes. The CM separated from the SM on 27 April at 19:16:33 UT. Apollo 16 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 27 April 1972 at 19:45:05 UT (2:45:05 p.m. EST) after a mission elapsed timeof 265 hours, 51 minutes, 5 seconds. The splashdown point was 0 deg 43 min S, 156 deg 13 min W, 215 miles southeast of Christmas Island and 5 km (3 mi) from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), which contained scientific experiments that were deployed and left on the Lunar surface, operated until it was commanded to shut down on 30 September 1977.

The Apollo 16 Command Module "Casper" is on display at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1972-031A

1972 21:56:09 GMT
NASA Apollo 16 astronauts released their subsatellite into Lunar orbit from the Service Module for continued studies.
see above

1977
C Kowal discovered asteroid #2063 Bacchus.

1981
The IBM Personal Computer was introduced. While many microprocessor systems preceded it, the IBM PC led to the explosive growth of personal computers, making computers ubiquitous.

1982
C Torres discovered asteroid #3361 Orpheus.

1990 08:33:51 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA launched STS 31 (Discovery 10, 35th Shuttle mission, 66th US manned space mission) carrying the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit.

The STS 31 launch was originally scheduled for 18 April 1990, then moved up to 12 April, then to 10 April, following the Flight Readiness Review (FRR). This was the first time a date set at the FRR was earlier than that shown on previous planning schedules. However, the launch on 10 April was scrubbed at T-4 minutes due to a faulty valve in Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) number one. The APU was replaced, and the payload batteries recharged. The countdown on 24 April 1990 was briefly halted at T-31 seconds when the computer software failed to shut down a fuel valve line on the ground support equipment. Engineers ordered valve to shut manually, and the countdown continued.

STS 31's primary payload, the Hubble Space Telescope, was deployed into a 380 statute mile orbit on 25 April 1990. The secondary payloads were: the IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC) to document operations outside the crew cabin and a hand-held IMAX camera for use inside the crew cabin; the Ascent Particle Monitor (APM) to detect particulate matter in the payload bay; the Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment to provide data on growing protein crystals in microgravity; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure the gamma ray levels in crew cabin; the Investigations into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP) experiment to determine porosity control in the microgravity environment; a Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment to study effects of near- weightlessness on electrical arcs; and the Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) experiment.

STS 31 ended 29 April 1990 when Discovery landed on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 8,889 feet. Rollout time: 61 seconds. Mission duration: five days, one hour, 16 minutes, six seconds. Landed revolution 80, with the first use of the new carbon brakes at landing. The orbiter was returned to the Kennedy Space Center on 7 May 1990.

The flight crew for STS 31 was: Loren J. Shriver, Commander; Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Pilot; Steven A. Hawley, Mission Specialist 1; Bruce McCandless II, Mission Specialist 2; Kathryn D. Sullivan, Mission Specialist 3.


http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/chron/sts-31.htm

1998
Died (natural causes), Mikhail Fedorovich Rebrov, Russian military journalist, cosmonaut candidate (Journalist Group - 1965), trained for a cancelled Voshkhod mission


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