This page is updated each day at 1200 GMT (8AM EDT) when the newsletter is mailed to subscribers.

If you are not already a subscriber, you are welcome to enter your email address here to sign up to receive the Space History newsletter on a daily basis. Under no circumstances will we release your legitimate email address entered here to outside persons or organizations, and it will only be used for mailing the specific information you have requested.

Enter your email address here:

Unsubscribe instructions are included in every newsletter issue in case you decide you no longer wish to receive it.

Note: We record the IP address from which subscriptions are entered to help prevent SPAM abuses.

Born, John Flamsteed, first astronomer royal of England

John Flamsteed (August 19, 1646 - December 31, 1719) was the first Astronomer Royal of England. Among other things, he accurately calculated the solar eclipses of 1666 and 1668. He also observed Uranus on December 23, 1690, without realizing it was an undiscovered planet, mistaking it for a star which he classified as 34 Tauri.

Died, Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist

Died, James Watt, engineer

James Watt (January 19, 1736 - August 19, 1819) was a Scottish mathematician and engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were a key stage in the Industrial Revolution.

He was born in Greenock, Scotland, and lived and worked in Birmingham, England. He was a key member of the Lunar Society. Many of his papers are now kept in the Birmingham Central Library.

Details of Louis Daguerre's photographic process, the first practical photographic process, were released in Paris, France.

Born, Orville Wright, aviation pioneer

Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948) and his brother Wilbur are generally credited with the design and construction of the first practical airplane, and making the first controllable, powered heavier-than-air flight on 17 December 1903.

J Palisa discovered asteroid #228 Agathe.

A Charlois discovered asteroid #296 Phaetusa.

William Huggins described the astronomical application of the spectrum of light.

A Charlois discovered asteroid #372 Palma.

Born, Philo T Farnsworth (at Beaver, Utah, USA), inventor (electronic television)

Born, Rudi Beichel, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after World War II

Rudi Beichel (August 19, 1913 - October 25, 1999), was a German expert in guided missile propulsion during World War II, and a member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after the war. As of January 1947, he was working at Fort Bliss, Texas. He left the Von Braun team and became a key decision-maker in US Army liquid propulsion selection decisions. He moved to the Aerojet company in 1956, where he worked on the LOx/LH2 Titan I engine conversion, Aerojet large engine studies and proposals for NASA, and the USAF ARES program for a single-stage liquid propellant ICBM.

Born, Karl Sendler, German expert in guided missiles during World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the United States after the war

Robert Goddard launched his final test cartridge rocket (smokeless powder cartridges automatically loaded in series in a gun barrel and fired to produce thrust) at Aunt Effie's Farm, Massachusetts, to 60 feet, the highest altitude to date.

Born, Gene Roddenberry, television producer, best known as the creator of the science fiction television series Star Trek

Born, Vladimir Borisovich Alekseyev (at Moscow, Russia), Soviet Air Force cosmonaut candidate (Air Force Group 4 - 1967)

G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1289 Kutaissi.

Born, Dr Franklin Story Musgrave (at Boston, Massachusetts, USA), mission specialist astronaut (STS 6, STS 51-F, STS 33, STS 44, STS 61, STS 80)

C Jackson discovered asteroid #1634 Ndola.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1469 Linzia.

Born, Charles F Bolden Jr, (at Columbia, South Carolina, USA), astronaut (STS 61C, STS 31, STS 45, STS 60)

US Major David Simons reached an altitude of 30.933 km (101,516 feet) in a balloon (Manhigh II).

Born, Christopher (Chris) Austin Hadfield (at Sarnia, Ontario, Canada), mission specialist astronaut (STS 74, STS 100)

1959 19:24:00 GMT
The US DARPA launched Discoverer 6 (KH-1, a first generation low resolution photo surveillance satellite) into polar orbit. The film capsule return failed when the retro rockets malfunctioned, preventing recovery.

A C-119J aircraft recovered the re-entry capsule of Discoverer 14, the first successful air recovery of a spacecraft.

1960 08:38:00 GMT
USSR launched Sputnik 5, also called Korabl Sputnik 2, the second unmanned test of the Vostok spacecraft, carrying two dogs, a gray rabbit, rats, mice, flies, plants, fungi, microscopic water plants, and seeds, all recovered in good health the next day.

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 5 on August 19, 1960 with the dogs Belka and Strelka (Russian for "Squirrel" and "Little Arrow"), 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants aboard, in addition to a television system and other scientific instrumentation. The spacecraft was the second in a series of spacecraft designed to further the development of an Earth orbiting system for the planned manned space program. It returned to earth the next day after 18 orbits, all animals were recovered safely, making it the first successful recovery of living biological specimens after an orbital mission. Strelka later gave birth to a litter of 6 healthy puppies; one was given to President John F. Kennedy as a gift.

1960 16:34:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched an X-15A Test mission in which Robert White reached a maximum speed of 3510 kph, and attained a maximum altitude of 24.343 km.

Born, Michael James Massimino (at Oceanside, New York, USA), mission specialist astronaut (STS 109)

1964 12:15:00 GMT
NASA GSF launched the Syncom 3 communication satellite, the first true zero-inclination geostationary satellite. It also carried the Star Flash experiment.

Syncom 3 was the first geostationary satellite. (The earlier geosynchronous Syncom 2 had an orbit inclined to the equator.) It was an experimental geosynchronous communications satellite placed over the equator at 180 degrees longitude in the Pacific Ocean (positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 64 deg W in 1964; 180 deg E in 1964; 25 deg W in 1965; 165 deg E in 1966-1969; as of 6 December 1974, it was at 6.08 deg W drifting at 0.188 deg W per day).

Syncom 3 provided live television coverage of the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan and conducted various communications tests. Operations were turned over to the Department of Defense on 1 January 1965, Syncom 3 was to prove useful in the DoD's Vietnam communications.

NASA photo, Syncom satellite

A spacecraft computer malfunction caused a countdown hold 10 minutes before the scheduled Gemini-Titan 5 launch. With the weather deteriorating rapidly (thunderstorms near Cape Kennedy), the mission was scrubbed, rescheduled to 21 August.

Gemini 5, carrying astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles "Pete" Conrad was the third crewed Earth orbiting spacecraft of the Gemini series. Mercury veteran Cooper was the first person to travel on orbital missions twice. The flight was designed to last eight days, the length of time that it would take to fly a mission to the Moon, and to test rendezvous procedures. The major objectives of this mission were to demonstrate a long-duration crewed flight, evaluate the effects of long periods of weightlessness on the crew, and test rendezvous capabilities and maneuvers using a rendezvous evaluation pod. Secondary objectives included demonstration of all phases of guidance and control systems to support rendezvous and controlled reentry guidance, to evaluate the fuel cell power system and rendezvous radar, to test the capability of either pilot to maneuver the spacecraft in orbit to close proximity with another object, and to conduct 17 experiments. Gemini 5 doubled the manned space flight duration record to nearly eight days, thanks to new fuel cells that generated enough electricity to power longer missions.

Gemini 5 was launched from Complex 19 at Cape Kennedy, Florida, on 21 August 1965 at 8:59:59 AM EST (13:59:59.518 UT), and inserted into a 162.0 x 350.1 km Earth orbit at 9:05:55. The rendezvous evaluation pod (REP), a 34.5 kg optical and electronic duplicate of the Agena planned for use in later Gemini rendezvous missions was deployed two hours into the flight on the second revolution. About 36 minutes into the evaluation of the rendezvous system, the crew noticed the pressure in the oxygen supply tank of the fuel cell system was dropping. At some point earlier in the flight, the oxygen supply heater element had failed, and the pressure dropped from nominal pressure of 850 psia to a low of 65 psia 4 hours and 22 minutes into the flight. This was still above the 22.2 psia minimum but it was decided to cancel the REP exercise and power the spacecraft down. An analysis was carried out on the ground, and a powering up procedure was started on the seventh revolution. During the remainder of the mission, the flight plan was continuously scheduled in real time, pressure slowly rose in the fuel cells, and sufficient power was available at all times.

Four rendezvous radar tests were conducted during the mission, in the first in revolution 14, on the second day, the spacecraft rendezvous radar successfully tracked a transponder on the ground at Cape Kennedy. On the third day, a simulated rendezvous with a phantom Agena was conducted at full electrical load, in which the the Gemini maneuvered to a predetermined position in space. The simulation comprised four maneuvers: apogee adjust, phase adjust, plane change, and coelliptical maneuver, using the orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS). On day five, thruster number 7 became inoperative and maneuvering system operation became sluggish. Thruster number 8 failed the next day, and the system became increasingly erratic. Limited experimental and operational activities continued throughout the remainder of the mission. On the last flight day, Cooper and Conrad spoke to astronaut Scott Carpenter, who was 205 feet underwater in Sealab II.

Retrofire occurred at 7:27:42 AM EST on 29 August on revolution 120, one revolution early due to a threatening tropical storm near the landing area. The crew had to use the re-entry thrusters to orient the spacecraft because of the OAMS system failures. The retrofire and re-entry were conducted in darkness by the spacecraft computer. Splashdown occurred at 7:55:13 AM EST in the western Atlantic at 29.73 N, 69.75 W after a total mission time of 190:55:14. Splashdown was 169 km short of the target due to incorrect navigation coordinates transmitted to the spacecraft computer from the ground network: Someone had entered the rate of the Earth's rotation as 360 per 24 hours instead of 360.98 (sidereal day correction). Cooper's efforts compensated for what he recognized as an erroneous reading and brought the capsule down closer to the ship than they would otherwise have been. The crew arrived onboard the aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain at 9:26 AM EST and the spacecraft was recovered at 11:50 AM EST.

All objectives were achieved except rendezvous with the REP and pilot tests associated with the rendezvous and the demonstration of controlled reentry to a predetermined landing point. Scientific studies included zodiacal light, synoptic terrain, synoptic weather photography, and a cloudtop spectrometer experiment. In addition, five medical and seven technological experiments were performed during the mission. One photography experiment was cancelled because of cancellation of the rendezvous maneuver. The mission demonstrated human ability to adapt to weightlessness over an extended period and then readapt to normal gravity and was considered successful.

With this flight, the US finally took the manned spaceflight endurance record from Russia, while demonstrating that the crew could survive in zero gravity for the length of time required for a Lunar mission. However, the astronauts found the mission incredibly boring, with the spacecraft just drifting to conserve fuel most of the time, and was "just about the hardest thing I've ever done" according to a hyperactive Pete Conrad who later lamented that he had not brought along a book. An accident with freeze dried shrimp also resulted in the cabin being filled with little pink subsatellites.

The Gemini program was designed as a bridge between the Mercury and Apollo programs, primarily to test equipment and mission procedures in Earth orbit and to train astronauts and ground crews for future Apollo missions. The general objectives of the program included: long duration flights in excess of of the requirements of a Lunar landing mission; rendezvous and docking of two vehicles in Earth orbit; the development of operational proficiency of both flight and ground crews; the conduct of experiments in space; extravehicular operations; active control of reentry flight path to achieve a precise landing point; and onboard orbital navigation. Each Gemini mission carried two astronauts into Earth orbit for periods ranging from 5 hours to 14 days. The program consisted of 10 crewed launches, 2 uncrewed launches, and 7 target vehicles.

The Gemini 5 capsule is now on display at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

L Chernykh discovered asteroid #1789 Dobrovolsky.

1966 18:04:00 GMT
NASA and the US Air Force launched the X-15A BLN, OBE, H Test/Aeronomy mission in which William Dana reached a maximum speed of 5804 kph, and attained a maximum sltitude of 54.250 km.

1966 19:26:00 GMT
An Agena rocket was launched from Vandenburg, California, carrying the Midas 11 (Missile Defense Alarm System), SECOR 7 (geodetic), and ORS 1 (cold welding experiments) satellites into orbit.

1970 12:11:00 GMT
Britain's Skynet 1B military communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, failre of the apogee kick motor (AKM) left the satellite in an unusable orbit.

1972 02:40:00 GMT
Japan launched SS-02 Denpa into orbit from Kagoshima to conduct ionospheric experiments.

1976 05:25:00 GMT
USSR's Luna 24 lifted off from the Moon, carrying 170 grams of Lunar soil in the third Soviet Lunar sample return mission.

The last of the Luna series of spacecraft, Luna 24 was launched 9 August 1976 as the third Soviet mission to retrieve Lunar samples (the first two were returned by Luna 16 and 20). After entering an initial 115 x 115 km Lunar orbit with an inclination of 120 degrees, the probe landed in Mare Crisium (Sea of Crisis) at 12.75 N, 62.2 E on 18 August 1976. Using a sample arm and drill, the mission successfully collected 170.1 grams of Lunar samples and deposited them into a collection capsule. The capsule was launched from the Moon at 5:25 UT on 19 August and landed at 5:55 UT on 22 August in western Siberia, about 200 km southeast of the town of Surgut, where the samples were collected for scientific study.

N Chernykh discovered asteroids #2207 Antenor, #2254 Requiem, #2295, #2389 Dibaj, #2564 Kayala, #2793 Valdaj, #3084, #3557 and #3738.

1979 12:30:00 GMT
Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Lyakov and Valery Ryumin, the crew of Soyuz 32, returned to Earth aboard Soyuz 34 after having spent a record 175 days in orbit.

Z Vavrova discovered asteroid #2781.

1982 17:11:00 GMT
USSR launched Soyuz T-7 with cosmonauts Svetlana Savitskaya, Leonid Popov, Alexander Serebrov to Salyut 7 to conduct scientific and technical research and experiments. Svetlana Savitskaya thus became the second woman to travel to space.

Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya (8 August 1948 - ) was the first woman to walk in space, on 25 July 1984, aboard the Soyuz T-12 (launched 17 July 1984). Her spacewalk lasted 3.58 hours. Savitskaya was also the second woman to go into space (aboard Soyuz T-7, launched 19 August 1982), and the first woman to go to space twice (1982 and 1984).

1992 10:20:00 GMT
Russia launched the Resurs F-16 landsat from Plesetsk for investigation of the Earth's resources. It also carried a US Department of Defense experiment and two Pion passive satellites to study how the upper atmosphere affects spacecraft reentry.

1997 07:07:59 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 85 (Discovery 23, 86th Shuttle mission) landed after 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. 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 Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,792 feet (2,680 meters). Rollout time: One minute, eight seconds. Mission duration: 11 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes, 59 seconds. Discovery landed on revolution 190. 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.

1997 17:50:00 GMT
China launched the Philippines Agila 2 communications satellite from Xichang on a Chang Zheng 3B booster, positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 146 deg E in 1997-1999. As of 5 September 2001, it was at 145.99 deg E drifting at 0.009 deg W per day.

1998 23:01:00 GMT
Two Iridium communication satellites (numbers 3 and 76) were launched from Taiyuan, China on a Chang Zheng 2C-III/SD booster, and placed into Plane 2, Ascending node at 199.4 degrees.

White Knight Flight 3 (Scaled Composites/Mojave Aerospace, Ansari X-Prize) was made for flight envelope expansion to 25,000 feet and 150 knots. It was the first flight with the cabin pressurized for environmental control system tests.

We are going to run out of oil!
Visit to help fix the problem. - For Human Survival

The L5 Development Group membership system is nearing completion for public release. Once it is in place, you will be able to log into your account to modify your newsletter and mailing preferences, etc. Until that time, your only options are to subscribe or unsubscribe from newsletters individually.
Under no circumstances will we release your email address to outside persons or organizations, and it will only be used for mailing the specific information you have requested.

Please help support our efforts by shopping from our sponsors.

Music Yo - BLBan468x60

click to advertise

Domain registration at - $15.95/year, $29.95 for 2 years


This newsletter and its contents are
Copyright © 2004-2014 by The L5 Development Group.  All rights reserved.
 - Publication, in part or in whole, requires previous written permission.
 - Academic or personal-use citations must refer to
   as their source.
Thank you for your cooperation.



Space History Department
The L5 Development Group Home Page

The L5 Development Group Keyword Access System

Space History for August 19, 2014 / Webmaster / Script last modified May 15, 2010 @ 1:23 am
Copyright © 2004-2014 by The L5 Development Group. All rights reserved.

Hosted by FKEinternet