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607
Comet 1P/607 H1 (Halley) approached within 0.0898 AUs of Earth.

1855
R Luther discovered asteroid #35 Leukothea.

1870
A Borrelly discovered asteroid #110 Lydia.

1876
J C Watson discovered asteroid #161 Athor.

1879
J Palisa discovered asteroid #195 Eurykleia.

1882
J Palisa discovered asteroid #225 Henrietta.

1883
Born, Richard von Mises, mathematician (fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, aeronautics, statistics, probability theory)

1889
Died, Warren De La Rue, astronomer, chemist

1904
R S Dugan discovered asteroids #533 Sara and #534 Nassovia.

1906
Died, Pierre Curie, French physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics

1910
Halley's comet was seen by naked eye for the first time during its then-current trip, from Curacao.

1919
Leslie Irvin of the United States made the first successful parachute jump and free fall.

1941
L Oterma discovered asteroids #2804 Yrjo and #3497.

1946
Born, Viktor Vasiliyevich Zabolotsky, Russia, cosmonaut

1949
Born, Larry Walters, floated 16,000 feet into the air on a lawn chair attached to helium-filled balloons (a Darwin Award contender who survived)

1962
NASA civilian pilot Joseph A. Walker took the X-15 to an altitude of 46,900 meters (154,000 feet).

1971 01:40:00 GMT
USSR launched Salyut 1, the first space station put into Earth orbit.

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
T Smirnova discovered asteroid #2328 Robeson.

1972 20:21:28 GMT
NASA's Apollo 16 entered Lunar orbit during the fifth manned Lunar 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 21:02:04 GMT
The Apollo 16 S-IVB stage impacted the Moon, as estimated from the Apollo 12, 14 and 16 seismic station data.
see above

1973 23:47:00 GMT
Canadian Anik A2 (Telesat 2) was launched into geostationary orbit.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1973-023A

1974
P Wild discovered asteroids #1938 Lausanna and #2040 Chalonge.

1975
India launched its first satellite with the help of the USSR.

1976
C-I Lagerkvist discovered asteroid #2114 Wallenquist.

1979
J C Muzzio discovered asteroid #3666.

1982
NASA announced that Guinon Bluford would be the first Afro-American astronaut, and that Sally Ride would be the first US female astronaut.

1982 19:45:00 GMT
The USSR Salyut 7 space station was launched.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1982-033A

1984
A Mrkos discovered asteroid #3451.

1984
Nemesis, a theoretical dinosaur "death star," first appeared in discussion in Nature magazine.

1985 08:54:28 EST (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 51-D (Discovery 4, 16th Shuttle mission) ended after carrying the TELESAT-I and SYNCOM IV-3 communication satellites to orbit.

The STS 51-D launch was first set for 19 March 1985, but rescheduled to 28 March due to remanifesting of payloads from the canceled Mission 51-E Shuttle flight. The launch was delayed further due to damage to the orbiter's payload bay door when a facility access platform dropped. The launch on 12 April was then delayed 55 minutes when a ship entered the restricted solid rocket booster recovery area.

The TELESAT-I (ANIK C-1) communications satellite was deployed from STS 51-D, attached to Payload Assist Module-D (PAM-D) motor. SYNCOM IV-3 (also known as LEASAT-3) was deployed also, but the spacecraft sequencer failed to initiate antenna deployment, spin-up and ignition of its perigee kick motor. The STS 51-D mission was extended two days to make certain the sequencer start lever was in the proper position. Griggs and Hoffman performed a space walk to attach "flyswatter" devices to the remote manipulator system. Seddon engaged the LEASAT lever using the remote manipulator system but the post-deployment sequence did not begin.

Other payloads carried by STS 51-D were: Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) III, flying for sixth time; two Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiments; American Flight Echocardiograph (AFE); two Get Away Special (GAS) cannisters; Phase Partitioning Experiments (PPE); astronomy photography verification test; medical experiments; and "toys in space," an informal study of the behavior of simple toys in a weightless environment, with results to be made available to school students.

STS 51-D ended 19 April 1985 when Discovery landed on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 10,298 feet. Rollout time: 63 seconds. Mission duration: six days, 23 hours, 55 minutes, 23 seconds. Landed revolution 110. Extensive brake damage and a blown tire during landing prompted landing of future flights at Edwards Air Force Base until implementation of nose wheel steering was effected.

The flight crew for STS 51-D was: Karol J. Bobko, Commander; Donald E. Williams, Pilot; M. Rhea Seddon, Mission Specialist 1; Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Mission Specialist 2; S. David Griggs, Mission Specialist 3; Charles D. Walker, Payload Specialist 1; Senator E. Jake Garn, Payload Specialist 2.


http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/chron/sts51-d.htm

1987
Gregory Robertson made a 200 mph free fall to save Debbie Williams who had been knocked unconscious in a collision with another skydiver. [Ed. note: The report in yesterday's issue was apparently dated incorrectly.]

2001 13:41:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA launched STS 100 (Endeavor) for the International Space Station Assembly Flight 6A mission, to install the Canadian robotic arm.

STS 100 was launched 19 April 2001. Endeavour and its crew remained on orbit almost 12 days, eight of which were spent in joint operations with the International Space Station crew. Endeavourís crew delivered and installed a new robotic arm and helped to transfer equipment and supplies between vehicles.

Mission Specialists Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency and Scott Parazynski of NASA performed two space walks to install the new 17.6 meter (57.7 foot) robotic arm onto the International Space Station. Canadarm2, a beefier second-generation version of the shuttle's robot arm, is essential to the continued assembly of the space station as the outpost grows beyond the reach of the shuttle's arm.

STS 100 was the first of three space shuttle missions to carry pieces of the Space Station Mobile Servicer System, or SSMSS to the station. It delivered the long, hinged arm known as the Remote Manipulator System. Subsequent missions delivered the Mobile Base System, a work platform that moves along rails covering the length of the space station, and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Canada Hand.

The International Space Station's three Command and Control Computers began to exhibit problems during Endeavourís visit. Communications between the station and the ground were rerouted through Endeavour as flight controllers worked to solve the problem, and mission managers approved an extended stay for the shuttle if the computers were not recovered quickly.

After flight controllers determined that the hard drive on one Command and Control Computer had failed, space station Flight Engineer Susan Helms swapped it with another onboard computer. After reloading the software, all three computers booted up normally. Endeavour brought the failed computer back to Earth for more testing.

STS 100 ended 1 May 2001 when Endeavour landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, after being waved off from landings at Kennedy Space Center because of the inclement weather in Florida.

The flight crew for STS 100 was: Kent V. Rominger, Commander; Jeffrey S. Ashby, Pilot; Chris A. Hadfield, Mission Specialist 1; John L. Phillips, Mission Specialist 2; Scott E. Parazynski, Mission Specialist 3; Umberto Guidoni, Mission Specialist 4; Yuri V. Lonchakov, Mission Specialist 5.



NASA photo STS100-E-5238, Astronaut Chris Hadfield stands on one Canadian-built robot arm to work with another one.
http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-100/index.html

2002 11:27:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 110 (Atlantis 25) landed after carrying the the 43 foot long S0 (S-Zero) Truss to the International Space Station (ISS).

STS 110 lifted off on 8 April 2002 on a mission to install the 43 foot long S0 (S-Zero) Truss, the backbone for future station expansion, to the International Space Station (ISS). While in orbit, the STS-110 crewmembers performed four spacewalks and used the shuttle and station robotic arms to install and outfit the S0. They prepared the station for future spacewalks and spent a week in joint operations with the station's Expedition Four crew. They also prepared the first railroad in space, the Mobile Transporter, for use.

The S0 (S-Zero) Truss is the first of nine pieces that will make up the station's external framework that will eventually span 109 meters (356 feet).

STS 110 Mission Specialist Jerry Ross became the first human to be launched into space seven times. With the two spacewalks that he performed, he tightened his grip on the most US spacewalks (nine) and spacewalking time -- 58 hours, 18 minutes. Second on the list for both spacewalking milestones is Ross' crewmate Mission Specialist Steve Smith, who also conducted two spacewalks during STS 110 to give him a total of 49 hours, 48 minutes during seven spacewalks.

The mission had other spacewalk milestones. This was the first time that the station's robotic arm was used to maneuver spacewalkers around the station, and it was the first time that all of a shuttle crew's spacewalks were based out the station's Quest Airlock.

The flight crew for STS 110 was: Michael J.Bloomfield, Commander; Stephen N. Frick, Pilot; Jerry L. Ross, Mission Specialist; Steven L. Smith, Mission Specialist; Ellen Ochoa, Mission Specialist; Lee M.E. Morin, Mission Specialist; Rex J. Walheim, Mission Specialist.


http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-110/index.html


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