Encyclopedia Astronautica
1961


1961 Chronology


1961 During the Year - .
  • Zenit-2 drawing release completed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Kozlov. Technical documentation completed for the serial production of the Zenit-2 photo reconnaissance satellite. OKB-1 filial number 3, based in Samara (then Kuibishev), headed by Chief Designer Dmitri Ilyich Kozlov, was also responsible for future development and production support of derivatives of the R-7 family of launch vehicles.

1961 During the Year - .
  • Competing designs for a reliable manned spacecraft to succeed Vostok. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Vostok-Zh; Soyuz A; Soyuz B; Soyuz V; Sever. The Soyuz or Sever designs would utilize body lift to reduce G forces and allo the crew to make re-entries at hyperbolic speeds - when returning from the moon, or Mars. An associated design was a manned orbital tug version of the Vostok capsule to assemble spacecraft in low earth orbit.

1961 During the Year - .
  • US Navy lunar landing program - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Navy SLV. A US Navy lunar landing program was headed by the inimitable Dr. Nicolaides at China Lake. The team's Soft-Landing Vehicle (SLV) began control testing in a large rig in 1961. The SLV would have sent a dog to the moon in 1963, and returned a soil sample in 1964. A scaled-up version of the lander was to have put a Navy man on the lunar surface by 1967. Further Navy lunar efforts, like those of the Army and Air Force, were discontinued after NASA was given the Apollo moon landing project in April 1961.

1961 During the Year - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Initial UR-500.
  • Initial UR-500 studies for the GR-2 requirement - . Nation: USSR. Summary: The initial design consisted simply of 4 two-stage UR-200 rockets lashed together, the first and second stages working in parallel in clusters. A third stage would be modified from the UR-200 second stage..

1961 January 1 - .
  • Mercury 13 Astronaut Training Group selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Allison; Cagle, Myrtle; Cobb; Dietrich; Dietrich, Marion; Funk; Gorelick; Hart, Jane; Hixson; Leverton; Steadman; Stumough; Truhill. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,500 flight-hours/10 years experience, bachelor's degree or equivalent, under 40 years old, under 180 cm height, excellent physical condition.. Randolph Lovelace was director of the clinic where the Mercury astronauts had undergone their physical examinations. He and Jacqueline Cochran, the first American woman to break the sound barrier, wanted to prove that women were equally qualified to be astronauts. In early 1961 they arranged for 20 highly qualified female pilots to take the same physical tests undergone by the Mercury astronauts. Thirteen passed the tests, but NASA maintained its position that astronauts had to be qualified test pilots (all of whom were white males). One of the thirteen was the wife of a US Senator, and some congressional hearings were arranged. Despite the publicity NASA was still unwilling to place them in the official NASA training program.

    Oddly enough, the selection of these women may have resulted in the first woman going into space after all. In May 1962 a Soviet delegation, including cosmonaut Gherman Titov and cosmonaut commander Nikolai Kamanin, visited Washington. Kamanin had been pushing for the flight of a Soviet woman into space since October 1961, and five Soviet female cosmonauts had just reported for training a month earlier. However the flight of a woman in space had little support from Chief Designer Korolev or Kamanin's military commanders. On May 3 Kamanin and Titov were invited to a barbecue at the home of astronaut John Glenn. Glenn, already politically-connected, was an enthusiastic supporter of the 'Lovelace 13'. Kamanin understood from Glenn that the first American woman would make a three-orbit Mercury flight by the end of 1962. Armed with the threat that 'the Americans will beat us', Kamanin was able to obtain a decision to go ahead with the first flight of a Soviet woman within weeks of his return. The Russians were obsessed with being first in space -- and even though NASA's female cosmonauts never materialised, Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman in space on June 16, 1963.


1961 - . LV Family: SLS. Launch Vehicle: SLS.
  • Air Force completed studies on a family of advanced heavy-lift launch vehicles for use in the late 1960's - . Nation: USA. The launchers used solid rocket boosters together with Lox/LH2 upper stages. The modular stages could be combined in various ways to achieve a range of launch vehicles (as for the USAF Lunex lunar base project). These studies would provide the basis for the later Titan derivatives and, eventually, the final space shuttle design.

1961 January 1 - .
  • Council of Chief Designers recognised. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Decree 'On formalising powers of the Council of Chief Designers' was issued..

1961 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Platform: B-57A. Launch Vehicle: Jaguar B-57.
  • Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSWC. Apogee: 800 km (490 mi).

1961 January 1 - . Launch Site: Tonopah. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Kisha Judi.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 During the Year - . LV Family: R-17. Launch Vehicle: R-17.
  • R-17 (Scud B) first launch - . Nation: USSR. Summary: The program was conducted by the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant. There design work continued with first launch in 1961 and acceptance into military service in 1964..

1961 January 2 - . LV Family: Navaho. Launch Vehicle: Navaho.
  • Navaho program closed out. - . Nation: USA. Program: Navaho. One G-26 missile delivered to Cape Canaveral but not launched was retained there for the open-air missile park. X-10 s/n 1 was displayed in the Air Force Museum in Dayton. Harrison Storms attempted to sell the USAF on using the completed work for space launches. One proposal was to use the boosters as the first stage of a satellite launcher with Able upper stages. Another was to cluster four of them together and launch an X-15 manned rocketplane into orbit. Nothing came of these proposals. Four completed G-26 missiles and the under-construction G-38 missiles were scrapped.

1961 January 3 - .
  • NASA Space Task Group made official. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: NASA's Space Task Group, charged with carrying out Project Mercury and other manned space flight programs, officially became a separate NASA field element..

1961 January 5-6 - .
  • McDonnell one-man space station: Mercury capsule and a cylindrical space laboratory. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I. McDonnell Aircraft Corporation officials proposed to NASA a one-man space station consisting of a Mercury capsule and a cylindrical space laboratory capable of supporting one astronaut in a shirt- sleeve environment for 14 days in orbit. The complete vehicle, McDonnell said, could be placed in a 240-km orbit by an Atlas-Agena booster, thus affording NASA what the company termed a 'minimum cost manned space station.'

1961 January 5 - . LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • State Commission Meeting - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Korolev; Barmin; Glushko; Semenov; Bushuyev; Rudnev. Program: Vostok; Venera. Spacecraft: Vostok. Rudnev chaired the meeting, which first heard the failure analysis for the failed Mars launches on 10 and 14 October and the R-16 catastrophe on 24 October. All of these had been accelerated to coincide with Khrushchev's visit to the United Nations in New York, in Kamanin's view a criminal rush that led to the death of 74 officers and men in the R-16 explosion. Future plans were then reviewed. Launches of probes toward Venus were planned for 20-23 January, 28-30 January, and 8-10 February. Four Vostok manned spacecraft were completed, with first launch scheduled for 5 February and the second for 15-20 February.

1961 January 6 - .
  • Low Committee established - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM Source Selection; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. The Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee) set up by the Space Exploration Program Council was instructed to prepare a position paper for the NASA Fiscal Year 1962 budget presentation to Congress. The paper was to be a concise statement of NASA's lunar program for Fiscal Year 1962 and was to present the lunar mission in term of both direct ascent and rendezvous. The rendezvous program would be designed to develop a manned spacecraft capability in near space, regardless of whether such a technique would be needed for manned lunar landing. In addition to answering such questions as the reason for not eliminating one of the two mission approaches, the Group was to estimate the cost of the lunar mission and the date of its accomplishment, though not in specific terms. Although the decision to land a man on the moon had not been approved, it was to be stressed that the development of the scientific and technical capability for a manned lunar landing was a prime NASA goal, though not the only one. The first meeting of the Group was to be held on January 9.

1961 January 6-12 - .
  • First meetings of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: First meetings of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups, formed to coordinate NASA inter-Center information exchange..

1961 January 7 - . 17:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 1. LV Configuration: Blue Scout I D-3.
  • HETS A1-1 Plasma / radio astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,600 km (900 mi).

1961 January 9 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Nova 4L.
  • First meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Silverstein. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM Source Selection; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. At the first meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group, Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Director of the Office of Space Flight Programs Abe Silverstein, and Director of the Office of Advanced Research Programs Ira H. Abbott outlined the purpose of the Group to the members. After a discussion of the instructions, the Group considered first the objectives of the total NASA program:

    1. the exploration of the solar system for knowledge to benefit mankind; and
    2. the development of technology to permit exploitation of space flight for scientific, military, and commercial uses.
    NASA's lunar program was a logical step toward these objectives. In current lunar program planning, three steps were projected:

    1. a manned landing on the moon with return to earth,
    2. limited manned lunar exploration, and
    3. a scientific lunar base.
    To accomplish the first step, a great increase in launch vehicle capability would be needed beyond that provided by current funding. A comparison of a three-million-pound-thrust and a six-million-pound-thrust Nova launch vehicle was made. It was estimated that a 60,000- to 80,000-pound payload to escape velocity would be needed for a manned lunar landing mission.

1961 January 10 - . 17:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-3.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 January 11 - .
  • Progress made in mapping the moon - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. John Blake of the Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) described to STG representatives the progress made by ACIC in mapping the moon. Lunar maps to the scale of 1: 5,000,000 and 1: 10,000,000 were later requested and received by STG. In addition, the first two sheets of a projected 144 sheet map coverage of the lunar surface on a 1:1,000,000 scale were forwarded to STG by the Center.

1961 January 11 - . 18:40 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 601. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-15. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 January 12 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan.
  • Titan II to be the Dyna-Soar suborbital Step I booster. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: Air Force headquarters announced that Titan II would be the suborbital Step I booster..

1961 January 12 - . 16:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun ISRC-RS-01.
  • Aeronomy sodium release mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRA; NASA. Apogee: 160 km (90 mi).

1961 January 13 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • USAF changes Dynasoar launch vehicle to Titan II - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar.

1961 January 13 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5. LV Configuration: R-5 V-1000 target.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1961 January 14 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 601. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-14. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 January 14 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5. LV Configuration: R-5 V-1000 target.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1961 January 14 - . 01:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • R-7A II-1 operational test launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Summary: Some sources say first launch from LC31 was not until 27 February..

1961 January 16-17 - .
  • Second meeting of the Low Committee - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Low, George. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. At the second meeting of the Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee), a draft position paper was presented by George M. Low, Chairman. A series of reports on launch vehicle capabilities, spacecraft, and lunar program support were presented and considered for possible inclusion in the position paper.

1961 January 16 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Mercury MR-1A postlaunch system evaluation tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: The Mercury-Redstone 1A (MR-1A) postlaunch system evaluation tests were completed at Cape Canaveral. Data disclosed that the instrumentation system, communication system, and other components had operated satisfactorily during the flight mission..

1961 January 17 - . 21:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.36GT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 209 km (129 mi).

1961 January 18 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB If.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 January 19 - .
  • Hughes to build Surveyor spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Surveyor. After evaluating preliminary design studies, NASA selected the Hughes Aircraft Company to build seven Surveyor spacecraft. This 750-pound, three-legged, unmanned spacecraft would carry 200 pounds of instruments, including zoom television cameras, a drill to sample the lunar soil, chemical analysis equipment, and a seismometer. The first Surveyor was scheduled to be launched in 1963.

1961 January 19 - .
  • Studies of manned lunar and interplanetary expeditions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. Summary: The Marshall Space Flight Center awarded contracts to the Douglas Aircraft Company and Chance Vought Corporation to study the launching of manned exploratory expeditions into lunar and interplanetary space from earth orbits..

1961 January 19 - . 12:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Iris. LV Configuration: Iris NASA 5.03GT. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi).

1961 January 20 - .
  • Space Task Group management discusses a follow-on Mercury program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. Space Task Group management held a Capsule Review Board meeting. The first topic on the agenda was a follow-on Mercury program. Several types of missions were considered, including long-duration, rendezvous, artificial gravity, and flight tests of advanced equipment. Major conclusion was that a follow-on program needed to be specified in greater detail.

1961 January 20 - . 20:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-10. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 January 22 - . 02:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 2038. FAILURE: Control system malfunction during re-entry at 370 sec..
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 788 m..

1961 January 23 - . 21:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 90D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). Summary: Final test flight of USAF Atlas D traveled 5,000 miles to target down Atlantic Missile Range, representing 35 successes, 8 partials, and 6 failures in 49 test launchings for D model. 75th Atlas launched at AMR, successful.

1961 January 24 - .
1961 January 24 - . 21:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 8E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 January 25 - .
  • Study on the feasibility of refueling a spacecraft in orbit - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. Summary: NASA announced that the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation had been awarded a contract by the Marshall Space Flight Center to study the feasibility of refueling a spacecraft in orbit..

1961 January 26 - .
1961 January 26 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn C-1 changed to a two-stage configuration - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Wernher von Braun, Director of Marshall Space Flight Center, proposed that the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle be changed from a three-stage to a two-stage configuration to meet Apollo program schedules. The planned third stage (S-V) would be dropped..

1961 January 30 - . LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa.
  • Europa conference. - . Nation: Europe. Summary: Conference of 12 European nations held at Strasbourg to discuss a British and French proposal for a European satellite launcher development program..

1961 January 30 - .
  • James E Webb named as NASA Administrator - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy; Webb. Program: Apollo. President John F. Kennedy announced that he was nominating James E. Webb as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Hugh L. Dryden as Deputy Administrator, Senate confirmation followed on February 9 and they were sworn in on February 14.

1961 January 30 - . 23:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.370.
  • Mass spectrometer Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 204 km (126 mi).

1961 January - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn first stage recovery system study - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Marshall Space Flight Center awarded contracts to NAA and Ryan Aeronautical Corporation to investigate the feasibility of recovering the first stage (S-I) of the Saturn launch vehicle by using a Rogallo wing paraglider..

1961 January 31 - . 16:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV. LV Configuration: Redstone MRLV-2.
  • Mercury MR-2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 251 km (155 mi). Ham, a 37-pound chimpanzee, was aboard the spacecraft. The over-acceleration of the launch vehicle coupled with the velocity of the escape rocket caused the spacecraft to attain a higher altitude and a longer range than planned. In addition, the early depletion of the liquid oxygen caused a signal that separated the spacecraft from the launch vehicle a few seconds early. However spacecraft recovery was effected, although there were some leaks and the spacecraft was taking on water. Ham appeared to be in good physiological condition, but sometime later when he was shown the spacecraft it was visually apparent that he had no further interest in cooperating with the space flight program. Despite the over-acceleration factor, the flight was considered to be successful.

1961 January 31 - . 20:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena A. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena A 70D / Agena A 2102.
  • Samos 2 - . Payload: Samos E-1 no. 2. Mass: 1,900 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1973-10-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 70 . COSPAR: 1961-Alpha-1. Apogee: 557 km (346 mi). Perigee: 474 km (294 mi). Inclination: 97.4000 deg. Period: 95.00 min. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; micrometeoroid impact data. Poor results..

1961 February 1 - .
  • Birth of Daniel Michio Tani - . Nation: USA. Summary: Japanese-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-108, ISS EO-16-1..

1961 February - .
  • Astronaut personal parachute in the Mercury program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Spacecraft: Mercury; Mercury Parachute. Instruction was provided to the astronauts to develop techniques and procedures for using the personal parachute as an additional safety feature in the Mercury program. This parachute was only used during the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) mission manned by Alan Shepard.

1961 February 1 - . 15:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC31A. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 401.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,300 km (800 mi).

1961 February 1 - . 18:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Palmdale Omni DZ. Launch Pad: 34.7 N x 118.0 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-20-35.
  • X-15A Ball/side controller test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 15 km (9 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 1949 kph. Maximum Altitude - 15170 m..

1961 February 2 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3; Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • NERVA Request for Proposal. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. Summary: NASA-AEC Space Nuclear Propulsion Office invited industry to submit proposals for participation in development of Nerva (nuclear engine for rocket vehicle application), a part of Project Rover initiated in 1955 by USAF-AEC..

1961 February 2 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 February 2 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 February 2 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 3L-5T. FAILURE: Failure..
  • First successful R-16 launch. - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). The missile was supposed to be launched at 18:00, but is then delayed to 24:00 due to technical problems. It is a clear night, illuminated by the moon, and the missile takes off at midnight. The first three minutes of flight are successful, but then the second stage fails to ignite. The missiles impacts 520 km downrange from the launch pad.

1961 February 3 - .
  • The Eagle-Picher Company started a 13-week life-cycle test on the Mercury spacecraft batteries. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

1961 February 4 - .
  • Death of Gennady Mikhailov. Reported killed in an orbital flight on 4 February 1961. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Mikhailov. Summary: Russian phantom cosmonaut, said to have died 1962.01.24, reported by Cordiglia brothers in 1962 and later Edwards book. Based on 1959 photo of high altitude equipment tester..

1961 February 4 - . 01:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 L1-7. FAILURE: At T+531 sec, the fourth vernier chamber of Stage 3's 8D715K engine exploded because the LOX cut-off valve had not closed as scheduled and LOX flowed into the hot chamber.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Sputnik 7 - . Payload: 2MV-2 s/n 1. Mass: 6,483 kg (14,292 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Glushko. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 1VA. Decay Date: 1961-02-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 71 . COSPAR: 1961-Beta-1. Apogee: 318 km (197 mi). Perigee: 212 km (131 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.80 min. The escape stage entered parking orbit but the main engine cut off just 0.8 s after ignition due to cavitation in the oxidiser pump and pump failure.. The payload attached together with escape stage remained in Earth orbit.

    The booster launched into a beautiful clear sky, and it could be followed by the naked eye for four minutes after launch. The third stage reached earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage didn't ignite. It was at first believed a radio antenna did not deploy from the interior of the stage, and it did not receive the ignition commands. Therefore the Soviet Union has successfully orbited a record eight-tonne 'Big Zero' into orbit. The State Commission meets two hours after the launch, and argues whether to make the launch public or not, and how to announce it. Glushko proposes the following language for a public announcement: 'with the objective of developing larger spacecraft, a payload was successfully orbited which provided on the first revolution the necessary telemetry'. Korolev and the others want to minimize any statement, to prevent speculation that it was a reconnaissance satellite or a failed manned launch. Kamanin's conclusion - the rocket didn't reach Venus, but it did demonstrated a new rocket that could deliver an 8 tonne thermonuclear warhead anywhere on the planet. The commission heads back to Moscow.


1961 February 5 - . 13:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.38NP.
  • LeRC LH2 test Technology test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 152 km (94 mi).

1961 February 6 - .
  • Birth of Yuri Ivanovich Onufrienko - . Nation: Ukraine. Summary: Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-21, ISS EO-4. 389 cumulative days in space. After leaving cosmonaut corps in April 2004, assigned as Deputy Chief for the First Administration of RGNII TsPK. Call sign: Skif (Skif - Roman-age tribe)..

1961 February 6 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • Liquid hydrogen tests. - . Nation: USA. Summary: NASA Aerobee-Hi successfully reached 96 miles above Wallops Station in test of behavior of liquid hydrogen in zero gravity for Lewis Research Center hydrogen propulsion development..

1961 February 6 - . 21:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-6. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 February 7 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Final report of the Low Committee - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. The Manned Lunar Landing Task Group (Low Committee) transmitted its final report to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The Group found that the manned lunar landing mission could be accomplished during the decade, using either the earth orbit rendezvous or direct ascent technique. Multiple launchings of Saturn C-2 launch vehicles would be necessary in the earth orbital mode, while the direct ascent technique would require the development of a Nova-class vehicle. Information to be obtained through supporting unmanned lunar exploration programs, such as Ranger and Surveyor, was felt to be essential in carrying out the manned lunar mission. Total funding for the program was estimated at just under $7 billion through Fiscal Year 1968.

1961 February 7 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • Centaur development milestones set. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Meeting of NASA and contractor personnel held at NASA headquarters to review Centaur development program..

1961 February 7 - . 12:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight 201. LV Configuration: Black Knight-201 BK.13.
  • Gaslight Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: UK. Agency: RAE. Apogee: 687 km (426 mi).

1961 February 7 - . 20:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Silver Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 35.3 N x 116.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-21-36.
  • X-15A Stab./Control test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 23 km (14 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 3660 kph. Maximum Altitude - 23820 m. Last XLR-11 flight..

1961 February 8 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: R-14.
  • - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 675 km (419 mi).

1961 February 9 - . Launch Site: North Atlantic Drop Zone. LV Family: Hound Dog. Launch Vehicle: Hound Dog. LV Configuration: Hound Dog 030.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 February 10 - .
  • Voice message sent by way of the moon - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. A voice message was sent from Washington, D.C., to Woomera, Australia, by way of the moon. NASA Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden spoke by telephone to Goldstone, Calif., which "bounced" it to the deep-space instrumentation station at Woomera. The operation was conducted as part of the official opening ceremony of the Australian facility.

1961 February 10 - .
  • Air Force interest in spacecraft similar to the Apollo - . Nation: USA. Program: Lunex. Spacecraft: ; CSM Source Selection. At the first meeting of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, during the first session of the 87th Congress, Charles F. Ducander, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the Committee staff, outlined a number of proposed subjects for study. One subject was the Air Force's interest in a three-man spacecraft similar to the Apollo spacecraft planned by NASA. A Committee staff member had been assigned to investigate this duplication of effort. On February 22, testifying before the Committee, Air Force Undersecretary Joseph V. Charyk stated that the Dyna-Soar program was a direct approach to manned military space applications. The Air Force interest in an Apollo-type spacecraft was part of the post-Dyna-Soar program, Charyk said.

1961 February 10 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • First static test of prototype F-1 thrust chamber - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Rocketdyne Division's first static test of a prototype thrust chamber for the F-1 engine achieved a thrust of 1.550 million pounds in a few seconds at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif..

1961 February 10 - . 05:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-11.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

11-12 February 1961 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • Kumulus rocket reaches 19.75 km - . Nation: Germany. The DRG (German Rocket Society) launched four MVR-I rockets on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Saturday launches were tracked to an altitude of 15 km and impacted 15 to 30 km from the launch point in the North Sea. The rockets were 18 cm in diameter, 2 m long, and had a mass of 24 kg. One of the Sunday launches reached 19,750 m altitude with a meteorological payload built by the Max Planck Institute. The rocket had a thrust of 508 kgf and weighted 19.9 kg. German television covered the launches.

1961 February 11 - . 10:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI27.
  • Airglow Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 91 km (56 mi).

1961 February 12 - . 00:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78 L1-6B.
  • Venera 1 - . Payload: 1VA s/n 2, Venera 1 (Sputnik 8, AMS). Mass: 644 kg (1,419 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Venera 1VA. USAF Sat Cat: 80 . COSPAR: 1961-Gamma-1. Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. The 6424 kg assembly was launched first into a 229 x 282 km parking orbit, then boosted toward Venus by the restartable Molniya upper stage. On 19 February, 7 days after launch, at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This failure resulted in only the following objectives being met: checking of methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course; checking of extra-long-range communications with and control of the space station; more accurate calculation of the dimension of the solar system; a number of physical investigations in space. Additional details: here....

1961 February 13 - .
  • NASA and McDonnell began discussions of an advanced Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth; Faget; Chamberlin. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. McDonnell had been studying the concept of a maneuverable Mercury spacecraft since 1959. On February 1, Space Task Group (STG) Director Robert R. Gilruth assigned James A. Chamberlin, Chief, STG Engineering Division, who had been working with McDonnell on Mercury for more than a year, to institute studies with McDonnell on improving Mercury for future manned space flight programs. Additional details: here....

1961 February 13 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Beginning of Gemini - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: First formal NASA/McDonnell discussions on Mercury Mark II (Gemini)..

1961 February 13 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI28. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 February 13 - . 04:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. LV Configuration: R-7A L1-3T.
  • R-7A II-2 operational test launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Summary: Some sources say first launch from LC31 was not until 27 February..

1961 February 13 - . 13:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL36.
  • Grenades / Chaff Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 146 km (90 mi).

1961 February 14 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Strongarm. Launch Vehicle: Strongarm. LV Configuration: Strongarm E22-H1-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Geodetic Flares test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA BRL. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 February 14 - . 23:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.07GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi). Summary: NASA Nike-Cajun rocket launched from Wallops Station, carrying 60-pound payload ejecting explosive charges, which fired at intervals from 20- to 80-mile altitude to provide data on density of the atmosphere..

1961 February 15 - .
  • Acoustic tests. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Acoustic test chamber for recording sound of rocket operations and to study human stress limits completed at Environmental Simulation Laboratory, Naval Missile Center, at Pacific Missile Range..

1961 February 15 - .
  • James E. Webb sworn in as Administrator of NASA. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan; Webb. Summary: After his nomination by the President as Administrator of NASA on January 30, 1961, James E. Webb was sworn into office, replacing T. Keith Glennan..

1961 February 15 - . 22:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI29.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 February 16 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island.
  • First satellite launch from Wallops Island. - . Nation: USA. NASA Explorer IX placed in orbit by four-stage Scout booster from Wallops Station, the first satellite launching from Wallops, and the first satellite boosted by a solid-fuel rocket. Explorer IX was a 12-foot diameter sphere after inflation at orbital altitude.

1961 February 16 - .
  • Soviet decree 'On measures to improve military technology' . - . Nation: USSR. Summary: This decree laid the basis for institution of quality control by the military to improve the reliability of space systems..

1961 February 16 - . 13:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout X-1. LV Configuration: Scout X-1 ST-4.
  • Explorer 9 - . Payload: S-56A. Mass: 7.00 kg (15.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: S-56. Decay Date: 1964-04-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 81 . COSPAR: 1961-Delta-1. Apogee: 2,433 km (1,511 mi). Perigee: 757 km (470 mi). Inclination: 38.8000 deg. Period: 118.00 min. Summary: 12 foot dia. balloon; atmospheric density studies. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1961 February 17-20 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Rules for the Mercury MA-2 - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Spacecraft, mission, and launch vehicle flight safety rules for the Mercury-Atlas 2 (MA-2) mission were reviewed by Space Task Group personnel..

1961 February 17 - . 07:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache AA5.391.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 February 17 - . 19:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.129.
  • Extreme ultraviolet Monochromator Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 275 km (170 mi).

1961 February 17 - . 20:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 298.
  • Discoverer 20 - . Payload: KH-5 s/n 9014A / Agena B 1104. Mass: 1,110 kg (2,440 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1962-07-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 83 . COSPAR: 1961-Epsilon-1. Apogee: 491 km (305 mi). Perigee: 277 km (172 mi). Inclination: 80.8000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Summary: KH-5; film capsule not ejected. Mission failed. Program malfunctioned and capsule did not reenter. First attempted ARGON mission. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • SRV 520 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1961-10-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 90 . COSPAR: 1961-Epsilon-4. Apogee: 327 km (203 mi). Perigee: 321 km (199 mi). Inclination: 80.7000 deg. Period: 91.00 min.

1961 February 18 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Strongarm. Launch Vehicle: Strongarm. LV Configuration: Strongarm E22-H1-2.
  • Geodetic Flares test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA BRL. Apogee: 2,027 km (1,259 mi).

1961 February 18 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI30. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 February 18 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5. LV Configuration: R-5 V-1000 target.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1961 February 18 - . 22:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 261 / Agena B 1102.
  • Discoverer 21 - . Payload: Midas test payload. Mass: 1,110 kg (2,440 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. Decay Date: 1962-04-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 84 . COSPAR: 1961-Zeta-1. Apogee: 458 km (284 mi). Perigee: 212 km (131 mi). Inclination: 80.6000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. Summary: Tested IR sensors for Midas program; did not carry camera or film capsule..

1961 February 20 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-13.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 February 21 - .
  • First Mercury crews selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shepard; Grissom; Glenn. Program: Mercury. Summary: NASA Space Task Group selected John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, and Alan B. Shepard, Jr., to begin special training for first manned Mercury space flight..

1961 February 21 - . 14:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 67D.
  • Mercury MA-2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 182 km (113 mi). Mercury-Atlas 2 (MA-2) was launched from Cape Canaveral in a test to check maximum heating and its effects during the worst reentry design conditions. The flight closely matched the desired trajectory and attained a maximum altitude of 114.04 statute miles and a range of 1,431.6 statute miles. Inspection of the spacecraft aboard the recovery ship some 55 minutes after launch (actual flight time was 17.56 minutes) indicated that test objectives were met, since the structure and heat protection elements appeared to be in excellent condition. The flight control team obtained satisfactory data; and the complete launch computing and display system, operating for the first time in a flight, performed satisfactorily.

1961 February 22 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5. LV Configuration: R-5 V-1000 target.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1961 February 22 - . 03:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 313 AB007.
  • Transit 3B - . Mass: 112 kg (246 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Transit. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft: Transit. Decay Date: 1961-02-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 87 . COSPAR: 1961-Eta-1. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Perigee: 135 km (83 mi). Inclination: 28.4000 deg. Period: 88.10 min. Lofti 1 piggyback payload did not separate. Nevertheless Transit 3B returned useful data needed for design of the operational satellites. It carried a digital clock driven by the same oscillator that drove the transmitters. It transmitted timing signals governed by the clock and a 384-bit memory. This allowed testing of the techniques for loading the memory from the ground, the ability of the memory to hold a message in orbit, and the ability to encode the memory contents by means of a frequency modulation on one of the main transmitters. It was also shown that ±60° phase modulation could be used to transmit the contents of the satellite memory without degradation of the accuracy of the Doppler signal and Doppler measurements.
  • Lofti 1 - . Mass: 25 kg (55 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Transit. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft: Transit. Decay Date: 1961-03-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 87 . COSPAR: 1961-Eta-2. Apogee: 983 km (610 mi). Perigee: 188 km (116 mi). Inclination: 28.3000 deg. Period: 96.40 min. Summary: Failed to separate from Transit 3B..
  • Lofti - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Lofti. COSPAR: 1961-Eta-xx.

1961 February 22 - . 07:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI24.
  • Life Science mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi). Summary: French Veronique launched capsule containing rat (Hector) to 152 km altitude, recovered successfully..

1961 February 23 - .
  • Studies on the separation of the Mercury spacecraft during an emergency - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury; Mercury Escape Tower. As of this date, the Space Task Group, Convair-Astronautics, Space Technology Laboratories, McDonnell, and the Marshall Space Flight Center had completed a number of extensive studies on the subject of the safe separation of the Mercury spacecraft from the launch vehicle during an emergency. The following papers include a report of these studies: NASA Project Mercury Working Paper No. 111, 'Mercury-Redstone Separation Distance ...'; NASA Project Mercury Working Paper No. 141, 'Dispersion Study of Separation Distance ...for Mercury-Redstone'; and NASA Working Paper No. 152, 'Determination of Mercury Escape Rocket Thrust Eccentricity ...from Mercury-Atlas Booster.'

1961 February 24 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury spacecraft No. 9 was delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Spacecraft No. 9 was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) orbital primate (Enos) mission..

1961 February 24 - . 00:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun AA6.170.
  • Sphere Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 133 km (82 mi).

1961 February 24 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 9E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: First successful Atlas E flight..

1961 February 25 - .
  • Successful drop test using Mercury boilerplate. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury; Mercury Heat Shield. Summary: McDonnell conducted a successful drop test, using a boilerplate spacecraft fitted with impact skirt, straps and cables, and a beryllium heat shield. During the tests the stainless steel straps were successfully stretched to design limits..

1961 February 25 - . 00:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II. LV Configuration: Juno II AM-19F. FAILURE: Third Stage failed to ignite.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Explorer - . Payload: S-45. Mass: 34 kg (74 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: P-14. Decay Date: 1961-02-24 . COSPAR: F610224A.

1961 February 27 - . 00:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7. LV Configuration: R-7 L2-1.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1961 February 28 - . Launch Site: North Atlantic Drop Zone. LV Family: Hound Dog. Launch Vehicle: Hound Dog. LV Configuration: Hound Dog SAC 12.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 March 1 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Current Saturn launch vehicle configurations announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. The current Saturn launch vehicle configurations were announced:

    C-1:
    S-I stage eight H-1 engines, 1.5 million pounds of thrust; S-IV stage four (LR-119 engines, 70,000 pounds of thrust); and S-V stage (two LR-119 engines, 35,000 pounds of thrust).
    C-2 (four-stage version):
    S-1 stage (same as first stage of the C-1); S-II (not determined); S-IV (same as second stage of the C-1); S-V (same as third Stage of C- 1).
    C-2 (three-stage version):
    S-I (same as first stage of C-1); S-II (not determined); and S-IV (same as third stage of C-1).

1961 March - .
  • Early Spring first presented to Congress. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Early Spring. Early Spring was a conventional ASAT launched by Polaris missiles from US Navy ballistic missile submarines. As an enemy satellite passed overhead, a Polaris missile would be launched. The ASAT used a restartable upper stage to 'hover' in front of the oncoming satellite. An optical homing system would first locate, track the target satellite, and then ASAT would put itself on a collision course with the target. A proximity fuse would detonate a warhead with thousands of steel pellets.

1961 March - . Launch Vehicle: RS.
  • RS project cancelled - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Korolev; Tsybin. Summary: Tsybin's design bureau had been taken over by Chelomei, and work on the RS was stopped in the spring of 1961, with three airframes nearly finished. Tsybin went to work for Korolev at OKB-1..

1961 March 1 - . 15:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp AA8.820.
  • VLF Propagation Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 March 1 - . 18:19 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-7.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: The fourth firing of an advanced Polaris A-2, and the first from a ship, was made by the U.S.S. Observation Island as she cruised at 8 knots, 10 miles offshore from Cape Canaveral..

1961 March 2 - . Launch Site: Makat. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • V-1000 target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 March 3 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas launch vehicle No. 100-D rolled out. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Factory roll-out inspection of Atlas launch vehicle No. 100-D was conducted at Convair-Astronautics. This launch vehicle was allocated for the Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) mission..

1961 March 3 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-12. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 March 3 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Antares. Launch Vehicle: Antares. LV Configuration: Antares 010.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 March 3 - . 13:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 4L-6T.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 March 3 - . 16:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-4.
  • HETS A2-1 Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 2,540 km (1,570 mi).

1961 March 4 - . Launch Site: Makat. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • V-1000 target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 460 km (280 mi).

1961 March 6 - . LV Family: UR-200. Launch Vehicle: UR-200.
  • US RORSAT authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: US-A. Summary: Decree 420·1741 'On approval of work on the US satellite and UR-200 launch vehicle / ICBM' was issued..

1961 March 6 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Antares. Launch Vehicle: Antares. LV Configuration: Antares 011.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 March 6 - . 09:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C SL63.
  • Grenade / Chaff / Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 231 km (143 mi).

1961 March 7 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • First flight Saturn I on test stand. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: First flight model of Saturn booster (SA-1) installed on static test stand for preflight checkout, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville..

1961 March 7 - . Launch Site: Warren AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas SMS 565 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Warren-2 AFB SMS 565 operational .

1961 March 7 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Antares. Launch Vehicle: Antares. LV Configuration: Antares 012.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 March 7 - . 18:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Silver Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 35.3 N x 116.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-13-26.
  • X-15A Mach 4 flight test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 23 km (14 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 4674 kph. Maximum Altitude - 23610 m..

1961 March 8 - . 16:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300. LV Configuration: Aerobee 300 AA10.192.
  • Ne / RPA Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1961 March 8 - . 17:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Astrobee. Launch Vehicle: Astrobee 1500. LV Configuration: Astrobee 1500 AE16.305.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 431 km (267 mi).

1961 March 9 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-8.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 March 9 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 2040. FAILURE: Control system malfunction during re-entry at 374 sec..
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 358 m..

1961 March 9 - . 06:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K. LV Configuration: Vostok 8K72K E103-14.
  • Korabl-Sputnik 4 - . Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 1. Mass: 4,700 kg (10,300 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mozzhorin; Yazdovskiy. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 0.0700 days. Decay Date: 1961-03-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 91 . COSPAR: 1961-Theta-1. Apogee: 239 km (148 mi). Perigee: 173 km (107 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 88.60 min. Carried dog Chernushka, mannequin Ivan Ivanovich, and other biological specimens. Ivanovich was ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Chernsuhka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 9, 1961 8:10 GMT.
    Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, which ensure necessary conditions for man's flight. Additional details: here....

1961 March 10 - .
  • Birth of Laurel Blair Salton Clark - . Nation: USA. Summary: American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-107. Physician. Perished in Columbia shuttle disintegration during re-entry..

1961 March 10 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Vehicle: SE.4400. LV Configuration: SE4400 F92.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: STA. Apogee: 67 km (41 mi).

1961 March 11 - .
  • New manned spacecraft - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Vershinin. Spacecraft: Vostok-Zh; Raketoplan; Sever. The VVS TTZ requirements document for the next generation Soviet manned spacecraft is approved by Vershinin. It is to accommodate two cosmonauts, have a launch mass of 6.5 to 7.0 tonnes, be capable of manoeuvring and changing its orbit at altitudes of 270 to 300 km altitude. The TDU engine is to be restartable, and the spacecraft will have a system to reliably change and hold its orientation in flight. The crew will be returned in a pressurised spherical re-entry capsule, but still be provided with ejection seats for separate landing of the crew in emergencies. The craft will be capable of flights of 15 to 20 days duration and be equipped with redundant communications systems. Kamanin points out the necessity of coordinating the TTZ with OKB-1. Vershinin and Ponomarev fight over whether to consider Chelomei's Raketoplan as meeting the requirement. Kamanin's position is that Korolev's Vostok is now flying reliably, while the Raketoplan is a 'crane in the clouds' - it might come to them some day, but who knows when.

1961 March 13 - .
  • Cosmonaut training - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Vershinin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Vershinin formalises two decrees - one to supply a Tu-104 to TsPK for cosmonaut zero-G training, the other for two Il-14's with HF transponders for long-range communications. Two further questions are discussed - should the cosmonauts be given the code for unlocking the manual orientation system of the spacecraft? It is decided they will be. And when will the flight be announced? Kamanin's position is that should happen as soon as the spacecraft safely reaches orbit, the others only want to make the first manned flight public after landing. It is decided to refer the matter for decision at the General Staff level.

1961 March 14 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas launch vehicle 100-D delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Atlas launch vehicle 100-D was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) mission..

1961 March 14 - . 04:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 13E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 March 14 - . 21:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun AA6.801.
  • Antenna Breakdown Experiment Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 118 km (73 mi).

1961 March 15 - .
  • Mercury Bermuda tracking station agreement. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: United States and United Kingdom signed formal agreement covering Mercury tracking stations on Bermuda..

1961 March 15 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 March 15 - . 17:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.49GT.
  • Cajun fin test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 March 16 - .
  • Project SAINT Phase I contract signed by RCA. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Project SAINT (SAtellite INTerceptor) was a large and still deeply classified US Air Force program begun in the late 1950's covering a wide range of technologies for interception, inspection, and destruction of enemy spacecraft. After studies in the 1950’s. The Phase I development contract was let to Radio Corporation of America. Saint Phase I would have weighted 1,100 kg and been launched by Atlas D/Agena B.

1961 March 16 - . LV Family: UR-200. Launch Vehicle: UR-200.
  • UR-200 (8K81) launch vehicle development authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Kosmoplan; IS-A; US-A; US-P; OGCh. An enabling decree was issued on 1 August 1961 by the Central Committee and Politburo. The UR-200 was designed not only to send a thermonuclear warhead over a range of 12,000 km, but also to orbit all of the Kosmoplan military variants: the IS ASAT; the US nuclear-powered naval intelligence satellite; and the Kosmoplan combat re-entry vehicle.

1961 March 16 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft No. 10 was withdrawn from the flight program - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: It was allocated to a ground test simulating orbital flight environmental conditions at the McDonnell plant site..

1961 March 17 - . LV Family: Vanguard. Launch Vehicle: Vanguard.
  • Vanguard third anniversary. - . Nation: USA. Program: Vanguard. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Vanguard 1. Vanguard I completed third year in orbit and was still transmitting. Vanguard I provided much useful data on orbits, including the slight pear-shape of the Earth and the effect of solar pressure. Vanguard also provided the second stage for the Able, Delta, and Able-Star, as well as the third stage of Scout, pioneering solid-propellant stages used in Polaris and Minuteman.

1961 March 18 - . 16:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 4C. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-4C LJ-5A. FAILURE: Escape tower fired prematurely.
  • Mercury LJ-5A - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi). Mercury Little Joe 5A (LJ-5A), the sixth in the series of Little Joe missions, was launched from Wallops Island. This flight was intended to satisfy test objectives, which were not met previously because of the failure of the spacecraft to separate from the launch vehicle during the Little Joe 5 (LJ-5) mission flown on November 8, 1960. For reference, the purpose of this test was to demonstrate primarily the structural integrity of the spacecraft and the escape system during an escape maneuver initiated at the highest dynamic pressure anticipated during an Atlas launch for orbital flight. Little Joe 5A (LJ-5A) lifted off normally, but 19 seconds later the escape tower fired prematurely, a situation closely resembling the November 1960 flight. The signal to initiate the abort maneuver was given; and the launch vehicle-adapter clamp ring was released as intended, but the spacecraft remained on the launch vehicle since the escape motor was already expended. The separation was effected by using the retrorockets, but this command was transmitted before the flight had reached its apex, where separation had been planned. Therefore, the separation was rather violent. The parachutes did deploy at about 40,000 feet, and after recovery it was found that the spacecraft had actually incurred only superficial structural damage. In fact, this spacecraft was later used for the subsequent Little Joe 5B (LJ-5B) flight test. Test objectives of the Little Joe 5A (LJ-5A) were not met.

1961 March 19 - .
  • Vostok launch delay - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gusev; Feoktistov; Yazdovskiy; Karpov; Gagarin; Nelyubov; Titov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. The launch has been delayed to 24-25 March due to problems with L I Gusev's radio system aboard the spacecraft. A meeting of the cosmonauts at 10:00 reviews landing contingency plans that will bring the capsule down on the territory of the USSR. The best chances for such a landing are on orbits 1, 2, and 16, but it is also possible on orbits 4, 5, 6, and 7. A map will be aboard the capsule to show where and when to ignite the TDU retrorocket for each landing opportunity. Feoktistov was a great help in developing this visual aid. For about an hour Kamanin, Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Karpov, and Azbiyevich discuss long-range plans. Korolev is interested in the VVS position that they should be responsible for all military space activities. The reconnaissance satellite version of Vostok is discussed. Korolev says he plans to send a cosmonaut to the moon by 1965.

    Afterwards the cosmonauts develop the radio communications plan for the flight. During the 710-second ascent to orbit, and after landing, they are to use the UHF radio. The HF and UHF radios can be used from orbit, but only over the USSR. Plans for filming the cosmonaut in flight are also discussed.


1961 March 20 - .
  • Phase III of the Mercury spacecraft airdrop program - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury; Mercury Heat Shield. Primary objectives of the drops were to study further the spacecraft suitability and flotation capability after water impact. Six drops were made, but later (April 24-28, 1961) the tests were extended for two additional drops to monitor hard-surface landing effects. In the water phase of the program, spacecraft components under particular scrutiny were the lower pressure bulkhead and its capability to withstanding heat shield recontact without impairing flotation capability. Helicopters were used to make the drops.

1961 March 21 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • The Mercury-Atlas Missile Range Projects Office designated as a staff function - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: The Mercury-Atlas Missile Range Projects Office, headed by Elmer H. Buller, was designated as a staff function of the Space Task Group Director's office..

1961 March 22 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K.
  • Flight preparations - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Nelyubov; Titov; Barmin; Keldysh; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Between 10:00 and 12:00 Chief Designer of Launch Facilities Barmin meets with the cosmonauts. He reviews the launch mechanism. The rocket is suspended at the 'shoulders' of the strap-ons, on four swivelled supports. After the rocket has lifted 49 mm, it is free from these, and counterweights weighing dozens of tonnes will swing them back and away from the rising booster. At 12:00 Kamanin meets with Keldysh and Korolev. They agree with his position that the flight be announced as soon as the cosmonaut is safely in orbit.

1961 March 23 - .
  • Death of Valentin Vasilyevich Bondarenko at Moscow, Russia. Killed in fire in pure oxygen simulator run. - . Nation: Ukraine. Related Persons: Bondarenko. Summary: Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut, 1960-1961. Killed in a fire in a spacecraft simulator run using a a pure oxygen atmosphere. His death had a profound effect on future design of Soviet spacecraft..

1961 March 23 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Configuration changes for the Saturn C-1 launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Representatives of Marshall Space Flight Center recommended configuration changes for the Saturn C-1 launch vehicles to NASA Headquarters. These included:

    • Elimination of third-stage development, since two stages could put more than ten tons into earth orbit.
    • Use of six LR-115 (15,000-pound) Centaur engines (second-stage thrust thus increased from 70,000 to 90,000 pounds).
    • Redesign of the first stage (S-1) to offer more safety for manned missions.
    Plans were also presented to accelerate the development of the Saturn C- 2, and a recommendation was made that a prime contractor be selected to work on the second stage (S-II) of the C-2. NASA Headquarters approved the C-2 plans on March 31.

1961 March 23 - .
  • Cosmonaut Bondarenko dies at age of 24. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Nelyubov; Titov; Bondarenko. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. At Tyuratam in the morning, LII engineers brief the cosmonauts on correcting the Globus instrument in flight, which indicates their position over the earth. Korolev checks in for a few minutes to make sure the cosmonauts have everything they need. In the evening the news of the death of cosmonaut Bondarenko reaches the cosmodrome. He died on the tenth day of a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber at IAKM when a fire broke out in the pure-oxygen cabin. Kamanin blames his death on IAKM's poor organisation and control of the experiment.

1961 March 23 - . 19:25 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 600. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-17.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 March 24 - .
  • Mercury MR-3A (cancelled) - . Call Sign: Freedom 7. Crew: Shepard. Backup Crew: Grissom. Payload: Mercury SC7. Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun; Shepard; Grissom. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3A. Spacecraft: Mercury. After booster problems on the Mercury MR-2 chimp test flight, Von Braun insisted on a further unmanned booster test flight, against the wishes of Shepard and others at NASA. A Mercury boilerplate capsule was launched on a flawless test on 24 March. If NASA had overruled Von Braun, the manned Freedom 7 capsule would have flown instead. Shepard would have been the first man in space (though not in orbit), beating Gagarin's flight by three weeks.

1961 March 24 - .
  • Mercury MR-BD - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. After analyzing launch vehicle behavior in the Mercury-Redstone 1A (MR-1A) and Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2), officials at the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Space Task Group were of the opinion that there were a number of problems that needed to be corrected prior to the advent of manned flight. The problems to be resolved included jet-vane vibration, instrumentation compartment vibration, failure of the thrust-controller system, and several other areas that needed attention. Many of these problems were studied by the personnel of engineering activities and proposed solutions were formulated. It was felt, however, that flight was necessary to verify the corrections and the Mercury-Redstone Booster Development test was scheduled and flown. All test objectives were met; as a result of this test, the launch vehicle was man-rated for the planned suborbital flights.

1961 March 24 - . 17:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV. LV Configuration: Redstone MRLV-5.
  • Mercury MR-BD - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Apogee: 181 km (112 mi). Summary: Suborbital test of Redstone modifications using a boilerplate Mercury capsule. The test was done at von Braun's insistence against Shepard's wishes, thereby putting the first US manned flight after Gagarin's..

1961 March 25 - . 01:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 16E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 March 25 - . 05:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K. LV Configuration: Vostok 8K72K E103-15.
  • Korabl-Sputnik 5 - . Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 2. Mass: 4,695 kg (10,350 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Goreglyad; Karpov; Kamanin; Yazdovskiy; Gagarin; Nelyubov; Popovich; Titov; Bykovsky; Nikolayev; Korolev; Kirillov; Voskresenskiy. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 0.0600 days. Decay Date: 1961-03-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 95 . COSPAR: 1961-Iota-1. Apogee: 175 km (108 mi). Perigee: 175 km (108 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 88.00 min. Carried dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Ivanovich was again ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Zvezdochka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 25, 1961 7:40 GMT.
    Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, designed to ensure man's life functions during flight in outer space and return to Earth. Additional details: here....

1961 March 25 - . 15:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta. LV Configuration: Thor Delta 295/D4.
  • Explorer 10 - . Payload: P-14. Mass: 35 kg (77 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: P-14. Decay Date: 1961-06-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 98 . COSPAR: 1961-Kappa-1. Apogee: 181,100 km (112,500 mi). Perigee: 221 km (137 mi). Inclination: 33.0000 deg. Period: 5,013.90 min. Summary: Magnetic field data. Decay date suspect Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1961 March 26 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5. LV Configuration: R-5 V-1000 target.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: OKB-30. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1961 March 26 - . 16:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 300A NASA 06.04UI.
  • UM ionospheric Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi). Summary: NASA Aerobee research rocket with University of Michigan payload shot to 406-km altitude from Wallops Station..

1961 March 27 - . 04:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 8. LV Configuration: Kappa 8 K-8-5.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 172 km (106 mi).

1961 March 28 - .
  • USAF/NASA Dynasoar review. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: USAF Dyna-Soar System Project Office personnel visited NASA headquarters for review of technical and management programs..

1961 March 28 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-14.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 March 29-30 - .
  • Convair selects M-1 design for Apollo in preference to lenticular configuration - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Heat Shield; CSM Source Selection. William W. Petynia of STG visited the Convair Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation to monitor the Apollo feasibility study contract. A selection of the M-1 in preference to the lenticular configuration had been made by Convair. May 17 was set as the date for the final Convair presentation to NASA.

1961 March 29 - .
  • State Commission on Vostok 1 - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov; Ivashutin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. The commission meets from 16:00 to 18:00 to assess readiness for launch. Korolev says he is ready to launch a man, following the two consecutive successful mannequin flights. Who will be selected to be the first man in space? The commission discusses the issue at some length. Afterwards, Kamanin meets with Ustinov at 18:30 and shows him a picture album of photographs taken from Vostok on the March 9 and 25 test flights. One taken over Turkey clearly shows the city of Alexandretta and the concrete runways of the airfields, demonstrating the military potential of the system. All is ready for the flight. The Central Committee of the Communist Party has issued a decree that the first man be launched into space between 10 and 20 April 1961. Three variant press releases are prepared, for 1) attainment of a successful orbit; 2) after a successful landing; and 3) in the event of an emergency landing with a request for international assistance in recovery and return of the cosmonaut. The consensus is that the APO destruct system used in the unmanned test flights will be deleted for the manned flight. Only Ivashutin is against this. Two successful ejection tests from an Il-28 bomber were reported from LII, finally completing a key milestone required for the flight.

1961 March 30 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I RIFT.
  • RIFT flight briefed to contractors. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. Summary: Reactor-in-flight-test system (Rift) study, a part of the NASA-AEC program on nuclear rockets, was briefed by contractors at NASA headquarters..

1961 March 30 - . Launch Site: Offutt AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas SMS 566 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Offutt AFB SMS 566 operational.

1961 March 30 - . 05:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. LV Configuration: Thor DM-18A 243.
  • Combat training launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1961 March 30 - . 18:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Hidden Hills DZ. Launch Pad: 36.1 N x 116.0 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-14-28.
  • X-15A Alt., BCS, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 51 km (31 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 4441 kph. Maximum Altitude - 51700 m..

1961 March 30 - . 20:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 300 / Agena B 1105. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 22 - . Payload: KH-2 9015. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-2. Decay Date: 1961-03-30 . COSPAR: F610330A. Summary: KH-2; Mission failed..
  • SRV 509 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-2. COSPAR: F610330B.

1961 March 31 - .
  • MHD / Thermal arc jet engine contracts. - . Nation: USA. Summary: NASA selected GE's Space Sciences Laboratory and Avco Corp. for negotiation of contracts to study feasibility of magneto gas dynamic electric rocket or thermal arc jet rocket engines..

1961 March 31 - .
  • All stations of NASA's world-wide Mercury tracking network were classed as being operational. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: An industrial team headed by the Western Electric Company turned over the $60,000,000 global network (figs. 48 and 49) to NASA in a formal ceremony later in the year..

1961 March 31 - . 19:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-15. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 April 1 - . 03:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 9L. LV Configuration: Kappa 9L K-9L-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 350 km (210 mi).

1961 April 2 - . 14:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 5L-7T.
  • First full range R-16 flight. - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi). Summary: The R-16 carried a warhead to the impact zone in the Kamchatka Peninsula, only 400 m off target in range, and only 50 m to the right..

1961 April 3 - .
  • Public Affairs Office named as Project Mercury information source - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: To satisfy the national interest in Project Mercury, Robert R. Gilruth designated the Public Affairs Office as the point of contact for Space Task Group activities to supply information, within the limits of security, for news dissemination..

1961 April 4 - .
  • Mercury crew refresher centrifuge training. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Summary: Three astronauts selected for Mercury-Redstone flight (MR-3) were ordered to take refresher course in Navy centrifuge at Johnsville, Pa..

1961 April 4 - . LV Family: RT-2. Launch Vehicle: RT-1.
  • Development of the RT-2 ICBM authorised by a decree in parallel with the RT-1. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Development of the RT-2 ICBM was authorised by a decree of 4 April 1961 in parallel with the RT-1..

1961 April 5 - . 10:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL64.
  • Grenades / Chaff Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 158 km (98 mi).

1961 April 5 - . 12:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.33GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 116 km (72 mi).

1961 April 6 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • 1,640 million pounds of thrust achieved in static- firing of the F-1 engine - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: The Marshall Space Flight Center announced that 1.640 million pounds of thrust was achieved in a static- firing of the F-1 engine thrust chamber at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. This was a record thrust for a single chamber..

1961 April 6 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 600. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-19.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 April 7 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Nike. Launch Vehicle: Nike Recruit.
  • Reentry Stability re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1961 April 8 - . 19:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 307 / Agena B 1106.
  • Discoverer 23 - . Payload: KH-5 s/n 9016A / Agena B 1106 / Capsule SRV 521. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1962-04-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 100 . COSPAR: 1961-Lambda-1. Apogee: 651 km (404 mi). Perigee: 295 km (183 mi). Inclination: 82.3000 deg. Period: 94.10 min. Summary: KH-5; film capsule boosted into higher orbit, decayed 5/23/62. Mission failed. Loss of satellite control gas caused unstable condition. No recovery. Officially: Spacecraft Engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..

1961 April 9 - . 09:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10308.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi). Summary: The R-9 launch went normally, from the launch pad adjacent to that from which Yuri Gagarin would be launched three days later, in view of the cosmonauts..

1961 April 10 - .
  • Joint meeting of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups was held at STG - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. A joint meeting of the Apollo Technical Liaison Groups was held at STG. NASA Headquarters and STG representatives briefed members of the Groups on the status of the Apollo program. The individual Liaison Groups were asked to reexamine the Apollo guidelines in the light of NASA and contractor studies conducted during the past year and to help gather detailed technical information for use as background material in the preparation of the Apollo spacecraft specification.

1961 April 11 - .
  • Vostok 1 countdown - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Titov; Korolev; Yazdovskiy; Feoktistov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. The booster is rolled out to the pad at 05:00. At 10:00 the cosmonauts meet with Feoktistov for a last review of the flight plan. Launch is set of 09:07 the next day, followed by shutdown and jettison of the lateral boosters of the first stage at 09:09, and orbital insertion at 09:18. The spacecraft will orient itself toward the sun for retrofire at 09:50. At 10:15 the first command sequence will be uploaded to the spacecraft, followed by the second at 10:18 and the third at 10:25. Retrofire of the TDU engine will commence at 10:25:47. The service module will separate from the capsule at 10:36 as the capsule begins re-entry. The capsule's parachute will deploy at 10:43:43 and at 10:44:12 the cosmonaut's ejection seat will fire. While the cosmonauts go through this, the booster has been brought upright on the pad, the service towers raised, and all umbilical connections made. Korolev, Yazdovskiy, and the others make a final inspection at the pad prior to the commencement of the countdown. At 13:00 Gagarin meets a group of soldiers, NCO's, and officers. After this Kamanin and the cosmonauts go to the cottage formerly occupied by Marshal Nedelin, where they will spend the last night before launch. They eat 'space food' out of 160 g toothpaste-type tubes for lunch - two servings of meat puree and one of chocolate sauce. Gagarin's blood pressure is measured as 115/60, pulse 64, body temperature 36.8 deg C. He then subjects to placement of the biosensors he will wear during the flight, and baseline measurements are taken for an hour and twenty minutes. He is very calm through all this. At 21:30 Korolev comes to the cottage, says good night to the cosmonauts, then goes back out to check on launch preparations. Gagarin and Titov go to bed after this. Kamanin stays up a while in the next room, listening to them talk to one another in the dark.

1961 April 12 - .
  • President Kennedy says United States second to Russia in space - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy. Program: Apollo. President John F. Kennedy, in his regular press conference, stated that "no one is more tired than I am" of seeing the United States second to Russia in space. "They secured large boosters which have led to their being first in Sputnik, and led to their first putting their man in space. We are, I hope, going to be able to carry out our efforts, with due regard to the problem of the life of the men involved, this year. But we are behind . . . the news will be worse before it is better, and it will be some time before we catch up. . . ."

1961 April 12 - . 06:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-5.
  • HETS A2-2 Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,931 km (1,199 mi).

1961 April 12 - . 06:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K. LV Configuration: Vostok 8K72K E103-16.
  • Vostok 1 - . Call Sign: Kedr (Cedar ). Crew: Gagarin. Backup Crew: Titov; Nelyubov. Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 3. Mass: 4,725 kg (10,416 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Keldysh; Rudnev; Karpov; Moskalenko; Gagarin; Titov; Nelyubov. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 1. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 0.0750 days. Decay Date: 1961-04-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 103 . COSPAR: 1961-Mu-1. Apogee: 315 km (195 mi). Perigee: 169 km (105 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. First manned spaceflight, one orbit of the earth. Three press releases were prepared, one for success, two for failures. It was only known ten minutes after burnout, 25 minutes after launch, if a stable orbit had been achieved.

    The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The flight was automated; Gagarin's controls were locked to prevent him from taking control of the ship. The combination to unlock the controls was available in a sealed envelope in case it became necessary to take control in an emergency. After retrofire, the service module remained attached to the Sharik reentry sphere by a wire bundle. The joined craft went through wild gyrations at the beginning of re-entry, before the wires burned through. The Sharik, as it was designed to do, then naturally reached aerodynamic equilibrium with the heat shield positioned correctly.

    Gagarin ejected after re-entry and descended under his own parachute, as was planned. However for many years the Soviet Union denied this, because the flight would not have been recognized for various FAI world records unless the pilot had accompanied his craft to a landing. Recovered April 12, 1961 8:05 GMT. Landed Southwest of Engels Smelovka, Saratov. Additional details: here....


1961 April 13 - .
  • Vostok 1 State Commission - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Brezhnev; Vershinin; Gagarin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. The commission meets from 09:30 to 12:00, making the official interview of Gagarin on his flight. There are unending questions. Afterwards Gagarin fields more questions by phone from the press. In the second half of the day he is readied for the return to Moscow. He has to make a half-hour speech to Khrushchev, but he hurries through the prepared text. Two or three trainers had noted this impatience of his, but Kamanin had already decided before the flight that Gagarin had the makings of a good orator. In the evening Brezhnev calls twice, and Vershinin several more times, coordinating things for Gagarin's return to Moscow. Bad weather is predicted for the next day and it is decided that Gagarin's airplane will arrive at Vnukovo. Gagarin is to exit the aircraft and walk alone to the reviewing stand. For this performance he is measured for a new uniform and great coat. He rehearses the speech twice, with Kamanin playing the part of Khrushchev in posing impromptu questions.

1961 April 14 - .
  • NASA issued study contract NAS 9-119 to McDonnell for improvement of the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I. McDonnell formed a small project group for the study, which immediately began looking to Mercury spacecraft component improvement, with accessibility as the guideline. Mercury had been a first step, almost an experiment, while the improved Mercury was to be an operational vehicle. One result of this line of thought was a basic change in equipment location, from inside the pressure vessel (where it had been in Mercury) to the outside. The contractor was authorized to acquire several long-lead-time procurement items under an amendment to the basic Mercury contract, but Space Task Group limited company expenditures to $2.5 million. The McDonnell project team initially included 30 to 40 engineers.

1961 April 14 - .
  • Apollo Congressional hearings. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. In response to questioning by the House Science and Astronautics Committee, Associate NASA Administrator Seamans repeated the general estimate of $20 to $40 billion as the cost for the total effort required to achieve a lunar landing, that an all-out program might cost more, and that 1967 could be considered only as a possible planning date at this stage of such a complex task.

1961 April 14 - .
  • Gagarin returns to Moscow - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin; Agaltsov; Yazdovskiy; Khrushchev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Everyone is up at the dacha on the Volga at 06:00 and are ready to leave shortly thereafter. Now the weather in Moscow is expected to be fine. At 10:40 an Il-18 takes off for Moscow with Gagarin's party. This consists of Gagarin, Agaltsov, Rytov, Yazdovskiy, several correspondents, and some film operators. 50 km from Moscow seven fighters intercept the transport and form up as an escort, two off each wing, and three trailing. Gagarin calls them on the radio 'Brother fighter pilots - I send you greetings - Yuri Gagarin!' The aircraft formation flies down Lenin Prospekt, Red Square, and then up Gorkiy Street to Vnukovo. There are masses of people everywhere below. At exactly 15:00 the aircraft shuts down its engines 100 m from the reviewing stands. Yuri exits the aircraft and steps into history....

1961 April 14 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. FAILURE: Failure..
  • R-7A II-3 test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: Failure occurred only two days after Yuri Gagarin's flight..

1961 April 14 - . 17:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.19GT.
  • Attitude control test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 206 km (128 mi).

1961 April 15 - . 13:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 7L-12T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 April 16 - .
  • Sunday in Moscow - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Khrushchev; Gagarin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1. Summary: Gagarin and Kamanin spend the day at Khrushchev's dacha..

1961 April 17 - .
  • Bay of Pigs - . Nation: USA. Summary: Cuba invaded at Bay of Pigs by an estimated 1,200 anti-Castro exiles aided by U.S.; invasion crushed .

1961 April 18 - . 04:40 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 NB3.104.
  • NRL NB3.104 Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 242 km (150 mi).

1961 April 18 - . 12:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 8. LV Configuration: Kappa 8 K-8-6.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 April 19 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 601. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-20.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 April 19 - . 09:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.05CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 164 km (101 mi).

1961 April 19 - . 18:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp ISRC-RS-02.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 April 20 - .
  • Prospector vs Apollo program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Prospector. A conference was held at NASA Headquarters on the relationship between the Prospector and Apollo programs. Representatives of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and STG discussed the possible redirection of Prospector planning to support more directly the manned space program. The Prospector spacecraft was intended to soft-land about 2,500 pounds on the lunar surface with an accuracy of +/-1 kilometer anywhere on the visible side of the moon. An essential feature of Prospector was the development of an automatic roving vehicle weighing about 1500 pounds which would permit detailed reconnaissance of the lunar surface over a wide area. Additional details: here....

1961 April 20 - . 03:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp ISRC-RS-03.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 190 km (110 mi).

1961 April 20 - . 18:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp ISRC-RS-04.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 188 km (116 mi).

1961 April 20 - . 18:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp ISRC-RS-05.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 190 km (110 mi).

1961 April 21 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 6L-11T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 April 21 - . 00:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.06CA. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 180 km (110 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 02:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10309.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 09:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.07CA. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 09:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.08CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 165 km (102 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.39NP.
  • LeRC LH2 test Technology test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 154 km (95 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 18:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Hidden Hills DZ. Launch Pad: 36.1 N x 116.0 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-15-29. FAILURE: Three hardware problems during flight..
  • X-15A Mach 4, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 4946 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32000 m..

1961 April 22 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter. LV Configuration: Jupiter IRBM CM-209.
  • CTL - . Nation: Italy. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Jupiter Missile Combat Training Launch 209, the first in a series of 12 CTL firings, was launched from AMR to a prescribed range of 1514 nm. The nose cone impacted .79 nm over and 2.19 nm right of the intended target. All missions were accomplished. The missile followed the intended flight path and performed within the accuracy requirements of the Jupiter system. IAF troops conducted the firing after LOD of MFSC completed the preliminary checkout. The primary mission of the test woe to evaluate the capabilities of launch crews under operational alert conditions.

1961 April 24 - . LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: R-14.
  • R-14 missile accepted into military service. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On adoption of the R-14 missile into armaments' was issued..

1961 April 24 - . 02:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Vehicle: HAD. LV Configuration: HAD 101.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 58 km (36 mi).

1961 April 25 - .
  • Birth of Frank De Winne - . Nation: Belgium. Summary: Belgian physician astronaut. Flew on ISS EP-4, ISS EO-20..

1961 April 25 - .
  • Vice President Johnson made head of the National Aeronautics and Space Council. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy; Johnson, Lyndon. Summary: President Kennedy signed legislation making the Vice President of the United States the presiding officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Council..

1961 April 25 - . 02:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-02T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 April 25 - . 16:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 100D. FAILURE: Destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Mercury MA-3 - . Payload: Mercury SC8. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Decay Date: 1961-04-25 . COSPAR: F610425A. Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) was launched from Cape Canaveral in an attempt to orbit the spacecraft with a 'mechanical astronaut' aboard. After lift-off, the launch vehicle failed to roll to a 70 degree heading and to pitch over into the proper trajectory. The abort-sensing system activated the escape rockets prior to the launch vehicle's destruction by the range safety officer after approximately 40 seconds of flight that had attained an altitude of 16,400 feet. The spacecraft then coasted up to 24,000 feet, deployed its parachutes, and landed in the Atlantic Ocean 2,000 yards north of the launch pad. The spacecraft was recovered and was found to have incurred only superficial damage; it was then shipped to McDonnell for refitting.

1961 April 26 - .
  • Dyna-Soar system package program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. The Dyna-Soar program office completed a system package program, further elaborating the three-step approach. Under Step 1, 20 air-launch tests would not begin until January 1964 and overlap with the beginning of space launches. The first of two unmanned launches would take place in August 1964, followed by 12 manned suborbital launches atop a Titan 2 beginning in April 1965, which would extend the speed envelope gradually from 4.9 km/s to 6.7 km/s. Step 2A would be completed with a single orbital flight from Cape Canaveral to Edwards Air Force Base in April 1966. The interim operational vehicle, capable of reconnaissance, satellite inspection, space logistics missions, and bombing, would be available in October 1967. The complete weapons system, including space-to-earth and space-to-space missiles, would become operational in late 1971.

1961 April 27 - . LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • R-16U silo-based ICBM operational plan issued. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On the Organisation of Military Duty of the R-16U (Unified Variant)--putting the R-16U missile into operation' was issued..

1961 April 27 - . 14:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II. LV Configuration: Juno II AM-19E.
  • Explorer 11 - . Payload: S-15. Mass: 37 kg (81 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: S-15. USAF Sat Cat: 107 . COSPAR: 1961-Nu-1. Apogee: 1,458 km (905 mi). Perigee: 480 km (290 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 104.50 min. Summary: Gamma ray data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1961 April 27 - . 20:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.10GI.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 724 km (449 mi).

1961 April 28 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Dynasoar launch by Saturn I studied. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: Final NASA report on the study proposed for Saturn for use as Dyna-Soar booster was presented to the Air Force..

1961 April 28 - . 14:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA4. LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1 4C. LV Configuration: Little Joe 1-4C LJ-5B.
  • Mercury LJ-5B - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 4.00 km (2.40 mi). Little Joe 5B (LJ-5B) was launched from Wallops Island to test the Mercury escape system under maximum dynamic pressure conditions. At the time of lift-off, one of the launch vehicle rocket motors did not ignite until after 4 seconds had elapsed. This delay caused the launch vehicle to pitch into a lower trajectory than had been planned, with a result that the abort maneuver experienced greater dynamic pressures than had been specified in the flight test plan. Other than this, all other sequential systems operated according to plan, and after landing, a normal helicopter recovery was accomplished. Thus, all test objectives were met and were actually exceeded because the spacecraft withstood the higher dynamic pressures.

1961 April 29 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn I fight qualification. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: The first successful flight qualification test of the Saturn SA-1 booster took place in an eight-engine test lasting 30 seconds..

1961 April - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Air transport of the Saturn C-1 second stage feasible - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: The Douglas Aircraft Company reported that air transport of the Saturn C-1 second stage (S-IV) was feasible..

1961 May 1 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Webb warns of Mercury failures. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Mercury. NASA Administrator Webb issued a statement concerning the 2-year Mercury manned space flight program, which said, in part: "NASA has not attempted to encourage press coverage of the first Mercury-Redstone manned flight. It has responded to press and television requests, with the result that over 100 representatives of the press, radio, and TV are now at Cape Canaveral. . . . We must keep the perspective that each flight is but one of the many milestones we must pass. Some will completely succeed in every respect, some partially, and some will fail. From all of them will come mastery of the vast new space environment on which so much of our future depends."

1961 May 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-16.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 May 1 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL43.
  • Stellar ultraviolet Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 155 km (96 mi).

1961 May 2 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Mercury MR-3 postponed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Summary: Manned Mercury-Redstone (MR-3) launch postponed because of rain squalls in the recovery area..

1961 May 3 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • The draft project of the TKS Heavy Space Station was completed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Spacecraft: TKS Heavy Space Station. Summary: Also known as TOSZ - Heavy Orbital Station of the Earth, this was Korolev’s first 1961 project for a large N1-launched military space station..

1961 May 3 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLTF. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I VS-1.
  • Demonstration launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi). Summary: The nation's first silo launch of a Titan I at Vandenberg AFB..

1961 May 3 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-22.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 4 - .
  • Streamline approach for accelerating the Dyna-Soar program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: The Boeing Company offered a "streamline" approach for accelerating the Dyna-Soar program by the elimination of suborbital flights..

1961 May 5 - .
  • First draft of the Apollo spacecraft specification - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. STG completed the first draft of "Project Apollo, Phase A, General Requirements for a Proposal for a Manned Space Vehicle and System" (Statement of Work), an early step toward the spacecraft specification. A circumlunar mission was the basis for planning.

1961 May 5 - .
  • Integrated research, development, and applied orbital operations program to cost $1 billion through 1970. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. A NASA Headquarters working group, headed by Bernard Maggin, completed a staff paper presenting arguments for establishing an integrated research, development, and applied orbital operations program at an approximate cost of $1 billion through 1970. The group identified three broad categories of orbital operations: inspection, ferry, and orbital launch. It concluded that future space programs would require an orbital operations capability and that the development of an integrated program, coordinated with Department of Defense, should begin immediately. The group recommended that such a program, because of its scope and cost, be independent of other space programs and that a project office be established to initiate and implement the program.

1961 May 5 - . 14:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV. LV Configuration: Redstone MRLV-7.
  • Mercury MR-3 - . Call Sign: Freedom 7. Crew: Shepard. Backup Crew: Grissom. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shepard; Grissom. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 187 km (116 mi). Alan Shepard first American in space, less than a month after Gagarin and only on a 15 minute suborbital flight. Only manned flight with original Mercury capsule design (tiny round porthole and periscope a la Vostok). If NASA had not listened to Von Braun, Shepard would have flown on the MR-BD flight of 24 March, beating Gagarin by three weeks and becoming the first man in space (though not in orbit). Shepard's capsule reached an altitude of 115.696 miles, range of 302 miles,and speed of 5,100 miles per hour. He demonstrated control of a vehicle during weightlessness and high G stresses. Recovery operations were perfect; there was no damage to the spacecraft; and Astronaut Shepard was in excellent condition.

1961 May 5 - . 23:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.02GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 117 km (72 mi).

1961 May 6 - . 04:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.28GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 117 km (72 mi).

1961 May 7 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Titan II proposed for lunar landing program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth; Seamans; Silverstein. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini LOR. Albert C. Hall of The Martin Company proposed to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, that the Titan II be considered as a launch vehicle in the lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans arranged for a more formal presentation the next day. Abe Silverstein, NASA's Director of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and STG to study the possible uses of Titan II. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.

1961 May 7 - .
  • Initial Study Contracts - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. In initial study contracts, Martin proposed vehicle similar to the Apollo configuration that would eventually fly and closest to STG concepts. GE proposed design that would lead directly to Soyuz. Convair proposed a lifting body concept. All bidders were influenced by STG mid-term review that complained that they were not paying enough attention to conical blunt-body CM as envisioned by STG.

1961 May 8 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • S-IV satisfactory for Apollo missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. After study and discussion by STG and Marshal! Space Flight Center officials, STG concluded that the current 154-inch diameter of the second stage (S-IV) adapter for the Apollo spacecraft would be satisfactory for the Apollo missions on Saturn flights SA-7, SA-8, SA-9, and SA-10.

1961 May 8 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Martin briefed NASA on the Titan II weapon system. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth; Seamans. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini; Mercury Mark I. Martin Company personnel briefed NASA officials in Washington, D.C., on the Titan II weapon system. Albert C. Hall of Martin had contacted NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on April 7 to propose the Titan II as a launch vehicle for a lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans nevertheless arranged for a more formal presentation. Abe Silverstein, NASA Director, Office of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed by the Martin briefing to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and Space Task Group to study possible Titan II uses. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.

1961 May 8 - . 17:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-19.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 May 9 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Kennedy decision to allow MR-3 flight defended. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Senator Robert S. Kerr, chairman of the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, told a group at the National Radio and Television Convention that President Kennedy accepted the views of NASA and congressional leaders in approving the manned Mercury-Redstone flight of May 5.

1961 May 9 - . LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas-Robin.
  • Arcas-Robin sounding rocket launches. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Twenty-four Arcas-Robin weather sounding rockets fired within 24 hours by AFPGC at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla..

1961 May 9 - . 11:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.29GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 117 km (72 mi).

1961 May 9 - . 12:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight 201/C. LV Configuration: Black Knight-201/C BK.14. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Gaslight Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: UK. Agency: RAE. Apogee: 415 km (257 mi).

1961 May 10 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • - . Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 May 11 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury spacecraft 8A delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Mercury spacecraft 8A was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) orbital unmanned (mechanical astronaut) mission..

1961 May 12 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C.
  • Martin C plan for Dyna-Soar Step IIA booster. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: A Dyna-Soar technical evaluation board recommended the Martin C plan for a Step IIA booster..

1961 May 13 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soviet response to Apollo program - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Spacecraft: Kosmoplan; Raketoplan; Elektron-A; Elektron-B; LK-1. Soviet Decree 'On the Revision of Plans for Space Objects for Accomplishing Goals of Defence Designations--heavy boosters, course of work on Elektron, and suspension of work of work on the Kosmoplan and Raketoplan with continuation of new Raketoplan work' was issued. The decree set the end of 1965 as the date for the first launch of the N1. It also authorised Chelomei to stop work on Kosmoplan interplanetary probes and instead concentrate on a specific Raketoplan design - the LK-1 manned lunar flyby spacecraft.

1961 May 13 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Antares. Launch Vehicle: Antares. LV Configuration: Antares 013.
  • Ionosphere mission? - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1961 May 13 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 12E.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1961 May 15 - .
  • Final study contract reports. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. The final reports on the feasibility study contracts for the advanced manned spacecraft were submitted to STG at Langley Field, Va., by the General Electric Company, Convair Astronautics Division of General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. These studies had begun in November 1960.

1961 May 16 - . 15:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.145.
  • Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 294 km (182 mi).

1961 May 16 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.127.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 312 km (193 mi).

1961 May 16 - . 19:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 8L-8T.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 May 17 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury MA-3 investigation board - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: An Atlas investigation board was convened to study the cause of the Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) mission launch vehicle failure. Several possible areas were considered, and three were isolated as probable causes based on a review of test data..

1961 May 17 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-27.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 17 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-26.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 17 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-33.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 17 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-29.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 17 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-28.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 May 18-31 - .
  • Apollo A - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Spacecraft: Apollo A. Space Task Group Director Robert R. Gilruth informed Ames Research Center that current planning for Apollo 'A' called for an adapter between the Saturn second stage and the Apollo spacecraft to include, as an integral part, a section to be used as an orbiting laboratory. Preliminary in-house configuration designs indicated this laboratory would be a cylindrical section about 3.9 m in diameter and 2.4 m in height. Additional details: here....

1961 May 18 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 2042.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 304 m..

1961 May 18 - . 06:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ih.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 May 19 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral.
  • Cape Canaveral first open house. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Cape Canaveral opened to the general public for the first time in its history..

1961 May 19 - . 14:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC31A. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 402. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 May 20 - .
  • Vostok 2 discussions - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Yazdovskiy; Bushuyev; Feoktistov; Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 2. Spacecraft: Sever; Vostok. Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, Bushuyev, and Feoktistov fly to Sochi. Korolev arrives on the next flight, and discussions begin on plans for the second Soviet manned spaceflight. Korolev wants a one-day/16-orbit flight, but Kamanin thinks this is too daring and wants a 3 to 4 orbit flight. Korolev rejects this, saying recovery on orbits 2 to 7 is not possible since the solar orientation sensor would not function (retrofire would have to take place in the earth's shadow). But Kamanin believes one day is too big a leap since the effects of sustained zero-G are not known. He finally agrees to a one-day flight, but with the proviso that a manually-oriented retrofire can be an option on orbits 2 to 7 if the cosmonaut is feeling unwell. Korolev reports that the new Sever spacecraft should be ready for flight by the third quarter of 1962. OKB-1 is working hard on the finding solutions to the problems of manoeuvring, rendezvous, and docking in orbit. Kamanin tells Korolev that it would be difficult to recruit and train three-man crews in time to support such an aggressive schedule.

1961 May 22 - .
  • Second draft of the Apollo spacecraft specification - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. Summary: The second draft of a Statement of Work for the development of an advanced manned spacecraft was completed, incorporating results from NASA in-house and contractor feasibility studies..

1961 May 23 - .
  • Death of Ludmila. Reported killed in an orbital flight May 23, 1961. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Ludmila. Summary: Russian phantom cosmonaut, claimed by Judica-Cordiglia brothers to have died in space in 1961 - or 1963..

1961 May 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-16.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 May 24 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven.
  • Rocket mail in Vienna - . Nation: Austria. Summary: The DRG (German Rocket Society) launched twelve of their small mail rockets from Vienna (Wien-Aspern) with 5000 postcards aboard..

1961 May 24 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Belier I. LV Configuration: Belier B05.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNET. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1961 May 24 - . 03:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 9L-9T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 May 24 - . 19:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II. LV Configuration: Juno II AM-19G. FAILURE: Second Stage failed to ignite.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Explorer S-45A - . Payload: S-45A. Mass: 33 kg (72 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: P-14. Decay Date: 1961-05-24 . COSPAR: F610524A.

1961 May 24 - . 21:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576B2. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 95D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1961 May 25 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn I.
  • Kennedy Proclaims Moon Landing Objective - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. Following Gagarin's flight and Bay of Pigs failure, Kennedy announces the objective of landing an American on the moon by end of the decade. In his second State of the Union Message President Kennedy said: "With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we (United States) are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. . . . Now is the time to take longer strides-time for a great new American enterprise-time for this Nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth." President Kennedy set forth an accelerated space program based upon the long-range national goals of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth; early development of the Rover nuclear rocket; speed up the use of Earth satellites for worldwide communications; and provide "at the earliest possible time a satellite system for worldwide weather observation." An additional $549 million was requested for NASA over the new administration March budget requests; $62 million was requested for DOD for starting development of a solid-propellant booster of the Nova class.

1961 May 25 - .
  • Lundin Committee to assess Lunar landing mission - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, requested the Directors of the Office of Launch Vehicle Programs and the Office of Advanced Research Programs to bring together members of their staffs with other persons from NASA Headquarters to assess a wide variety of possible ways of accomplishing the lunar landing mission. This study was to supplement the one being done by the Ad Hoc Task Group for Manned Lunar Landing Study (Fleming Committee) but was to be separate from it. Additional details: here....

1961 May 25 - .
  • Kennedy called for a national goal of landing a man on the moon - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy. Program: Apollo. President Kennedy, in a major message to Congress, called for a vastly accelerated space program based on a long-range national goal of landing a man on the moon and bringing him safely back to Earth. For this and associated projects in space technology, the President requested additional appropriations totaling $611 million for NASA and the Department of Defense.

1961 May 25 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 May 25 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-9. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 May 25 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 May 25 - . 17:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.01GT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 116 km (72 mi).

1961 May 25 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-16-31.
  • X-15A Mach 5, SAS, Aero test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5321 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32850 m..

1961 May 26 - .
  • Freedom 7 displayed at Paris Air Show. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Freedom 7, Mercury spacecraft in which Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made his space flight on May 5, was a major drawing card at the Paris International Air Show. Details of the spacecraft and of Shepard's flight were related to about 650,000 visitors..

1961 May 26-27 - .
  • First conference on the "Peaceful Uses of Space" - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Summary: The first conference on the 'Peaceful Uses of Space' was held at Tulsa, Oklahoma. A second conference on this subject was held at Seattle, Washington, on May 8-10, 1962. In both instances, Robert R. Gilruth reported on the manned space flight aspect..

1961 May 26 - .
  • Mercury Freedom 7 at Paris Air Show. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Until June 4, 1961, the Mercury spacecraft Freedom 7 (MR-3) was displayed at the Paris International Air Show. Some 650,000 visitors received the details on the spacecraft and on Shepard's suborbital flight..

1961 May 26 - . 02:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 18E.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1961 May 27 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. Launch Pad: Bacchus?. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C03.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 May 28 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven.
  • Rocket mail delivered to Neuwerk - . Nation: Germany. The DRG (German Rocket Society) launched a 40 kg rocket over a range of 14 km to the island of Neuwerk. The missile had a thrust of 508 kgf and took 30 seconds to cover the distance. 5000 postcards were carried. This fulfilled a 28 year old plan for such a rocket flight.

1961 May 29 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: SLV-3 Agena B.
  • Ranger booster erected. - . Nation: USA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Summary: Atlas booster 111-D, to be used for Ranger I, was erected on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral..

1961 May 29 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Centrifuge training for Mercury-Atlas orbital missions. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: A 30 day centrifuge training program was conducted at the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory directed entirely toward training the astronauts for the Mercury-Atlas orbital missions..

1961 May 29 - .
  • Advanced Re-entry Technology program and SAINT II program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar; Asset; SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: The Space Systems Division completed two development plans for an Advanced Re-entry Technology program and a SAINT II program..

1961 May 29 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. Launch Pad: Bacchus?. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C04.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 May 29 - . 01:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10310. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 May 30 - . 05:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL25.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 149 km (92 mi).

1961 May - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Reevaluation of the Saturn C-2 to support circumlunar missions - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: The Marshall Space Flight Center began reevaluation of the Saturn C-2 configuration capability to support circumlunar missions. Results showed that a Saturn vehicle of even greater performance would be desirable..

1961 May - .
  • Lunar orbit rendezvous plan - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. Summary: Basic concepts of the lunar orbit rendezvous plan were presented to the Lundin Committee by John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center..

1961 May 31 - .
  • STG submitted to NASA Headquarters recommendations on crew selection and training - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. STG submitted to NASA Headquarters recommendations on crew selection and training:

    • There would be no need to select crews within the next 12 months, Pilots could be chosen as required from the astronaut group, permitting the prospective crewmen to be active in test flying until assigned to Apollo missions.
    • Based on extrapolations from the Mercury program, STG expected that 12 months would be ample time for specialized training before a flight.
    • A maximum of 18 astronauts in 1965 would be needed to fulfil the requirements of the flight schedule.
    • All crew members would be experienced flight personnel; special engineering or scientific capabilities would be provided through crew indoctrination.

1961 June 1 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Change in the Saturn C-1 configuration - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. NASA announced a change in the Saturn C-1 vehicle configuration. The first ten research and development flights would have two stages, instead of three, because of the changed second stage (S-IV) and, starting with the seventh flight vehicle, increased propellant capacity in the first stage (S-1) booster.

1961 June 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Moon program go-ahead in response to U.S. start - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Korolev; Yangel. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Soyuz A; Soyuz B; Soyuz V; LK-1. Chelomei is informally asked by Khruschev to begin design of a booster and spacecraft for a manned circumlunar mission (UR-500 Proton and LK-1). There is no authorization for a lunar landing program, although Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei all begin booster designs.

1961 June 1 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Prelaunch mission rules for Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) were published. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

1961 June 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LA. Launch Pad: LA?. LV Family: Matador. Launch Vehicle: Matador. LV Configuration: Matador GM-56-1944.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1961 June 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LA. Launch Pad: LA?. LV Family: Matador. Launch Vehicle: Matador. LV Configuration: Matador GM-56-1949.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1961 June 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LA. Launch Pad: LA?. LV Family: Matador. Launch Vehicle: Matador. LV Configuration: Matador GM-56-1947.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1961 June 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LA. Launch Pad: LA?. LV Family: Matador. Launch Vehicle: Matador. LV Configuration: Matador GM-56-1948.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1961 June 2 - .
1961 June 2 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn I transport route interdicted. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Collapse of a lock in the Wheeler Dam below Huntsville on the Tennessee River interdicted the planned water route of the first Saturn space booster from Marshall Space Flight Center to Cape Canaveral on the barge Palaemon..

1961 June 2 - . 05:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-01T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 June 2 - . 17:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 10L-10T.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 June 3 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 June 4 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: R-14.
  • - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 675 km (419 mi).

1961 June 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC34. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn I launch complex completed. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Huge Saturn launch complex at Cape Canaveral dedicated in brief ceremony by NASA, construction of which was supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers. Giant gantry, weighing 2,800 tons and being 310 feet high, is largest movable land structure in North America.

1961 June 6 - . 12:31 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.108.
  • Venus Flytrap Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 165 km (102 mi).

1961 June 6 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 11L-13T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 June 6 - . 21:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.50UA.
  • Sphere / Inflating Sphere 1 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 June 7 - . LV Family: Little Joe II. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe II.
  • Preliminary study of Little Joe Senior - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. A preliminary study of a fin-stabilized solid-fuel rocket booster, the Little Joe Senior, was completed by members of STG. The booster would be capable of propelling a full-size Apollo reentry spacecraft to velocities sufficient to match critical portions of the Saturn trajectory. Additional details: here....

1961 June 7 - . 00:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL26.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 184 km (114 mi).

1961 June 7 - . 11:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight 201/C. LV Configuration: Black Knight-201/C BK.17. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Gaslight Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: UK. Agency: RAE. Apogee: 583 km (362 mi).

1961 June 7 - . 21:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg OSTF1. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 27E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development Category II test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Summary: First E launched at SMS 576 from OSTF-1, unsuccessful.

1961 June 8 - . Launch Vehicle: Rocket belt.
  • Rocket belt demonstrated. - . Nation: USA. Small rocket lift device demonstrated publicly for the first time at Fort Eustis, Va., a rocket belt developed by Bell Aerosystems, which lifted Harold M. Graham in a controlled free flight to an altitude of 15 feet and a standup landing 150 feet from his starting point.

1961 June 8 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) recovery requirements were published. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

1961 June 8 - . 21:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 302 / Agena B 1108. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 24 - . Payload: KH-5 s/n 9018A. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1961-06-08 . COSPAR: F610608A. Summary: KH-5. Mission failed..
  • SRV 541 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-5. COSPAR: F610608B.

1961 June 9 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • V-1000 target mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 June 9 - . 18:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.56UA.
  • Composition Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi).

1961 June 10 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Nova A.
  • Preparation for NOVA rocket motor tests. - . Nation: USA. Summary: National Bureau of Standards broke ground for new research facility at Gaithersburg, Md., which will include a mega-pound deadweight testing machine to provide measurement standards for multimillion rocket thrust requirements..

1961 June 10 - . Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Lundin Committee recommended earth orbit rendezvous mode - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. 'The Lundin Committee completed its study of various vehicle systems for the manned lunar landing mission, as requested on May 25 by NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The Committee had considered alternative methods of rendezvous: earth orbit, lunar orbit, a combination of earth and lunar orbit, and lunar surface. Launch vehicles studied were the Saturn C-2 and C-3. Conclusion was that 43,000 kg stage (85% fuel) was needed for a lunar landing mission. The concept of a low- altitude earth orbit rendezvous using two or three C-3's was clearly preferred by the Committee. Reasons for this preference were the small number of launches and orbital operations required and the fact that the Saturn C- 3 was considered to be an efficient launch vehicle of great utility and future growth.

1961 June 10 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. LV Configuration: Veronique AGI31.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 June 12 - . 15:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-5.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 June 13 - .
  • Freedom 7 exhibited in Rome. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Freedom 7 Mercury capsule displayed to approximately 750,000 visitors at the Rassegna International Electronic and Nuclear Fair at Rome, Italy..

1961 June 13-25 - .
  • Mercury Freedom 7 in Rome, Italy. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: The Freedom 7 (MR-3) spacecraft was viewed by approximately 750,000 visitors at the Rassegna International Electronic and Nuclear Fair at Rome, Italy..

1961 June 13 - . 05:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.09GI.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 867 km (538 mi).

1961 June 15 - . 00:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.13II.
  • Antenna deploy test Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 901 km (559 mi).

1961 June 15 - . 05:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. LV Configuration: R-7A E15001-06.
  • R-7A II-4 test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1961 June 16 - .
  • Fleming Committee Report: lunar mission could be accomplished within the decade - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. The Fleming Committee, which had been appointed on May 2, submitted its report to NASA associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on the feasibility of a manned lunar landing program. The Committee concluded that the lunar mission could be accomplished within the decade. Chief pacing items were the first stage of the launch vehicle and the facilities for testing and launching the booster. It also concluded that information on solar flare radiation and lunar surface characteristics should be obtained as soon as possible, since these factors would influence spacecraft design. Special mention was made of the need for a strong management organization.

1961 June 16 - . 07:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 14L-16T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 June 16 - . 23:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 303 / Agena B 1107.
  • Discoverer 25 - . Payload: KH-2 9017 / Agena B 1107. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-2. Decay Date: 1961-07-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 108 . COSPAR: 1961-Xi-1. Apogee: 404 km (251 mi). Perigee: 222 km (137 mi). Inclination: 82.1000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Summary: KH-2; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. Capsule recovered from water on orbit 32. Streaks throughout film..

1961 June 17 - . 07:29 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 ND3.112.
  • NRL ND3.112 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 197 km (122 mi).

1961 June 18 - . 04:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Obachi. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 4. LV Configuration: Kappa 4 K-4-2.
  • Sigma 4 Rockoon Chemical release mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

1961 June 19 - . LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15A.
  • X-15 awards. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crossfield; Walker; White, Robert. Program: X-15. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: X-15A. Summary: Harmon International Aviator's Trophy for 1961 announced as going to three winners for the first time-X-15 rocket research airplane pilots: A. Scott Crossfield, of North American; Joseph A. Walker, of NASA, and Maj. Robert A. White, U.S. Air Force..

1961 June 20 - . 23:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. LV Configuration: Thor DM-18A 276.
  • Combat training launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1961 June 21 - . 14:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 NE3.102.
  • NRL NE3.102 Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 271 km (168 mi).

1961 June 22 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • First decision on Apollo launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. Meeting with Webb/Dryden, work on Saturn C-2 stopped; preliminary design of C-3 and continuing studies of larger vehicles for landing missions requested. STG push for 4 x 6.6 m diameter solid cluster first stage rejected for safety and ground handling reasons.

1961 June 23 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn C-1 to be operational in 1964 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA announced that the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle, which could place ten-ton payloads in earth orbit, would be operational in 1964..

1961 June 23 - .
  • NASA / DOD agree to define support requirements. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA-DOD Executive Committee for Joint Lunar Study and a Joint Lunar Study Program Office established by letter directive to work out and define support requirements for the U.S. manned lunar landing program..

1961 June 23 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Saturn C-2 discontinued - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. NASA announced that further engineering design work on the Saturn C-2 configuration would be discontinued and that effort instead would be redirected toward clarification of the Saturn C-3 and Nova concepts. Investigations were specifically directed toward determining capabilities of the proposed C-3 configuration in supporting the Apollo mission.

1961 June 23 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 17E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1961 June 23 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun AA6.104.
  • Micrometeors Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 157 km (97 mi).

1961 June 23 - . 22:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-17-33.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aerodynamics, Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5797 kph. Maximum Altitude - 32830 m. Lost cabin pressure..

1961 June 23 - . 23:40 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 June 24 - . 03:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1961 June 24 - . 23:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.15AI.
  • Topside Sounder Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,018 km (632 mi).

1961 June 25 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven.
  • Rocket mail delivered to Scharhoern - . Nation: Germany. The DRG (German Rocket Society) launches two 3-m long, 51.9 kg, 600 kgf thrust Kumulus rockets from Arensch over the sea 18 km to the flats of the island of Scharhoern. The trip was made in 28 seconds at a top speed of 850 m/s with a payload of 5000 postcards weighing 15 kg.

1961 June 26 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn I barge replacement. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: A Navy YFNB barge was obtained by NASA to serve as a replacement for the Palaemon in transporting of the Saturn booster to Cape Canaveral..

1961 June 26 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-11. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 June 26 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.20GT.
  • Attitude control test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 187 km (116 mi).

1961 June 27 - . 02:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 2043. FAILURE: Air vane actuator malfunction at 262 sec..
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 1,044 m..

1961 June 28 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft No. 5 in seaworthiness test - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Using spacecraft No. 5, a spacecraft seaworthiness test was conducted 65 miles east of Wallops Island. Sea conditions varied with 2 to 4 foot ground swells and wave heights of from 1 to 2 feet. Spacecraft flotation characteristics were found to be quite satisfactory.

1961 June 29-30 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas vehicle 88-D roll-out - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Factory roll-out inspection of Atlas launch vehicle 88-D, designated for the Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission, was conducted at Convair..

1961 June 29 - . 04:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 315 AB008.
  • Transit 4A - . Mass: 79 kg (174 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Transit. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft: Transit. USAF Sat Cat: 116 . COSPAR: 1961-Omicron-1. Apogee: 986 km (612 mi). Perigee: 865 km (537 mi). Inclination: 66.8000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. Summary: Transits 4A and 4B were drum-shaped instead of spherical to provide more space for solar cells. In addition, operational 150-and 400-MHz frequencies were used for the first time. Carried SNAP-3A nuclear power source..
  • Injun 1 - . Mass: 25 kg (55 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: Injun. USAF Sat Cat: 117 . COSPAR: 1961-Omicron-2. Apogee: 992 km (616 mi). Perigee: 869 km (539 mi). Inclination: 66.8000 deg. Period: 103.60 min. Summary: Dual launch; failed to separate from Solrad 3; still returned radiation data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Solrad 3 - . Payload: GRAB 3. Mass: 18 kg (39 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: GRAB. COSPAR: 1961-Omicron-xx.

1961 Summer - .
  • Construction begun of lunar landing simulator - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Construction began at Langley Research Center of facilities specifically oriented toward the Apollo program, including a lunar landing simulator..

1961 June - .
  • Project Apollo feasibility studies assessed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. STG completed a detailed assessment of the results of the Project Apollo feasibility studies submitted by the three study contractors: the General Electric Company, Convair/Astronautics Division of the General Dynamics Corporation, and The Martin Company. (Their findings were reflected in the Statement of Work sent to prospective bidders on the spacecraft contract on July 28.)

1961 June 30 - . 17:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout X-1. LV Configuration: Scout X-1 ST-5. FAILURE: Third stage did not ignite, and the vehicle was destroyed.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Explorer (13) S 55 - . Payload: S-55. Mass: 84 kg (185 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: S-55. Decay Date: 1961-06-30 . COSPAR: F610630A. Apogee: 172 km (106 mi). Summary: Micrometeorite counter satellite (S-55)..

1961 June 30 - . 17:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Astrobee. Launch Vehicle: Astrobee 200. LV Configuration: Astrobee 200 CRL AA15.303. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 29 km (18 mi).

1961 July 1 - .
  • Birth of Dr Kalpana Chawla - . Nation: India; USA. Summary: Indian-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-87, STS-107. She perished with the rest of the crew of the shuttle Columbia on 1 February 2003..

1961 July - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Martin proposal for a Titan-boosted Mercury vehicle. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I. James L. Decker of Martin Company submitted a proposal for a Titan-boosted Mercury vehicle. A Mercury-Titan program, expected to span an 18-month flight schedule, would benefit from the Air Force's booster development and test of the ballistic missile system and the considerable design and test that the Air Force had expended in the Dyna-Soar program to adapt the vehicle to manned spaceflight. The Titan, with its sea-level rating of 430,000 pounds of thrust in the first stage and 100,000 pounds in the second stage, was capable of lifting significantly heavier spacecraft payloads than the Mercury-Atlas. Its hypergolic propulsion system, using storable liquid propellants, was a much simpler system than the cryogenic propellant system in Atlas. A highly reliable booster could be provided, employing complete redundancy in the flight control systems in the form of a three-axis reference system, autopilot, servo, electrical, and hydraulic systems. The short time he proposed would depend on the availability of pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, planned for conversion to the Titan II configuration. Pad 19, unlike the other three Titan I pads, had been intended for space applications and was better designed for required prelaunch test programs.

1961 July 1 - .
  • Mercury global network assigned to Goddard - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Responsibility for the operation of the Mercury global network was assigned to the Goddard Space Flight Center. During active mission periods, network control would revert to Space Task Group personnel..

1961 Q3 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 Q3 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 July 3 - .
  • Khrunichev plant named. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Decree 'On naming OKB-23 plant after M. V. Khrunichev' was issued..

1961 July 4 - .
  • Birth of Richard Allen Garriott - . Nation: UK; USA. Summary: American computer scientist cosmonaut. Flew on ISS EP-15. Son of astronaut Owen Garriott. Sold first computer game at 16; made millions in computer games. Paid $30 million for a flight to the International Space Station..

1961 July 4 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. LV Configuration: R-7A L2-4.
  • R-7A II-5 test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1961 July 4 - . 20:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. LV Configuration: R-7A L2-2.
  • R-7A II-6 test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Summary: Two launches from one launch complex in the same day..

1961 July 6 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 1005.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 266 m..

1961 July 7 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • NASA and DoD to study development of large launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The NASA Administrator and the Secretary of Defense concluded an agreement to study development of large launch vehicles for the national space program. For this purpose, the DOD-NASA Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group was created, reporting to the Associate Administrator of NASA and to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering).

1961 July 7 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • McDonnell studies of the redesigned Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Ejection; Gemini Parachute. Walter F. Burke of McDonnell summarized the company's studies of the redesigned Mercury spacecraft for Space Task Group's senior staff. McDonnell had considered three configurations: (1) the minimum-change capsule, modified only to improve accessibility and handling, with an adapter added to carry such items as extra batteries; (2) a reconfigured capsule with an ejection seat installed and most of the equipment exterior to the pressure vessel on highly accessible pallets; and (3) a two-man capsule, similar to the reconfigured capsule except for the modification required for two rather than one-man operation. The capsule would be brought down on two Mercury-type main parachutes, the ejection seat serving as a redundant system. In evaluating the trajectory of the two-man capsule, McDonnell used Atlas Centaur booster performance data.

1961 July 7 - . 04:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 22E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: Successful Atlas E flight, 9054 miles, from AMR to Indian Ocean (with GE Mark 3 nose cone).

1961 July 7 - . 23:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 308 / Agena B 1109.
  • Discoverer 26 - . Payload: KH-2 9019 / Agena B 1109. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-2. Decay Date: 1961-12-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 160 . COSPAR: 1961-Pi-1. Apogee: 803 km (498 mi). Perigee: 228 km (141 mi). Inclination: 82.9000 deg. Period: 94.90 min. Summary: KH-2; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. Main camera malfunctioned on pass 22..

1961 July 11 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • F-1 engine begins static testing. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA announced that a complete F-1 engine had begun a series of static test firings at Edwards Rocket Test Center, Calif..

1961 July 11 - . LV Family: SLS; Titan.
  • Phoenix A388 space launch system recommended for Dyna-Soar Step IIA booster. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: The Dyna-Soar Directorate of the Space Systems Division recommended employment of the Phoenix A388 space launch system for the Step IIA booster..

1961 July 12 - .
  • First large space simulator in the United States - . Nation: USA. Program: Ranger. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that construction was under way on the first large space simulator in the United States capable of testing full-scale spacecraft of the Ranger and Mariner classes. Three primary space effects could be simulated: solar radiation, cold space heat sink, and a high vacuum equivalent to about one part in a billion of the atmospheric pressure at sea level.

1961 July 12 - . 10:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta. LV Configuration: Thor Delta 286/D5.
  • Tiros 3 - . Payload: Tiros C (A-3). Mass: 129 kg (284 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Tiros. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: Tiros. USAF Sat Cat: 162 . COSPAR: 1961-Rho-1. Apogee: 790 km (490 mi). Perigee: 723 km (449 mi). Inclination: 47.9000 deg. Period: 100.00 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

1961 July 12 - . 15:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 97D / Agena B 1201.
  • Midas 3 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1201. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 163 . COSPAR: 1961-Sigma-1. Apogee: 3,540 km (2,190 mi). Perigee: 3,343 km (2,077 mi). Inclination: 91.2000 deg. Period: 161.40 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System..

1961 July 13 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Mercury MR-6 static engine test - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-6. Summary: Mercury-Redstone 6 was static tested for 30 seconds at Marshall Space Flight Center to ensure satisfactory operation of the turbopump assembly..

1961 July 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-20.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 July 13 - . 22:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.30GA.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 119 km (73 mi). Summary: Two Nike-Cajun rockets launched University of New Hamsphire-Goddard Space Flight Center payloads from NASA Wallops Station..

1961 July 14 - . 02:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.03UE.
  • Magnetic Fields Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 196 km (121 mi).

1961 July 14 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.04UE.
  • Magnetic Fields Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 July 14 - . 16:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.31GA.
  • Grenades Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 101 km (62 mi).

1961 July 15 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas launch vehicle 88-D delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Atlas launch vehicle 88-D was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission..

1961 July 18 - .
  • NASA-Industry Apollo Technical Conference - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. 1,000 persons from 300 potential Project Apollo contractors and government agencies attended the conference. STG pushed the conical CM shape, in defiance of Gilruth's preference for the competitive blunt body/lifting body designs. Scientists from NASA, the General Electric Company, The Martin Company, and General Dynamics/Astronautics presented the results of studies on Apollo requirements. Within the next four to six weeks NASA was expected to draw up the final details and specifications for the Apollo spacecraft.

1961 July 18-19 - .
  • Two attempts made to launch Mercury MR-4 - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-4. Summary: Two attempts were made to launch Mercury-Redstone 4 (MR-4) with astronaut Virgil Grissom aboard the spacecraft, but unfavorable weather forced mission postponement..

1961 July 19 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Mercury MR-4 launch scrubbed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MR-4. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Mercury-Redstone (MR-4) with manned Liberty Bell 7 capsule canceled within minutes of launch because of adverse weather..

1961 July 20 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: The Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, established on July 7, 1961, began its formal existence with seven DOD and seven NASA members and alternates.. Additional details: here....

1961 July 20 - . 10:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.32GA.
  • Grenades Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 124 km (77 mi).

1961 July 20 - . 13:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.05UE.
  • Magnetic Fields Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 193 km (119 mi).

1961 July 21 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-18.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 July 21 - . 02:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 8. LV Configuration: Kappa 8 K-8-7 TW-10/ID-6.
  • Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 158 km (98 mi).

1961 July 21 - . 12:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV. LV Configuration: Redstone MRLV-8.
  • Mercury MR-4 - . Call Sign: Liberty Bell 7. Crew: Grissom. Backup Crew: Glenn. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom; Glenn. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MR-4. Spacecraft: Mercury. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). The Mercury capsule, Liberty Bell 7, manned by Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom, boosted by a Redstone rocket, reached a peak altitude of 190.3 km and a speed of 8,335 km per hour. After a flight of 15 minutes and 37 seconds, the landing was made 487 km downrange from the launch site. The hatch blew while still in water, and the capsule sank; Grissom saved, though his suit was filling up with water through open oxygen inlet lines.

    This was the second and final manned suborbital Mercury Redstone flight, and the first flight with trapezoidal window. Further suborbital flights (each astronaut was to make one as a training exercise) were cancelled. An attempt to recover the capsule in very deep water in 1994 not successful. It was finally raised in the summer of 1999.


1961 July 21 - . 22:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 322 / Agena B 1110. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 27 - . Payload: KH-5 s/n 9020A. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1961-07-21 . COSPAR: F610721A. Summary: KH-5; destroyed by range safety. Mission failed..
  • SRV 524 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-5. COSPAR: F610721B.

1961 July 22 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 13L-15T. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 July 24 - .
  • Contract for television system for Ranger - . Nation: USA. Program: Ranger. Spacecraft: Ranger 3-4-5. Summary: NASA issued a letter contract to the Astro-Electronic Division of Radio Corporation of America to develop and fabricate the high-resolution television system (including associated communication and electronic equipment) for the Ranger program..

1961 July 24 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Changes in Saturn launch vehicle configurations - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Changes in Saturn launch vehicle configurations were announced :

    C-1:
    Stages S-I (1.5 million pounds of thrust) and S-IV
    C-2:
    Stages S-I, S-II, and S-IV
    C-3:
    Stages S-IB (3 million pounds of thrust), S-II, and S-IV.
    .

1961 July 25 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10312.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 July 25 - . 19:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-2.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 July 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 July 26 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.57UA.
  • Composition Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 143 km (88 mi).

1961 July 27 - .
1961 July 27-28 - .
  • Advanced Mercury concepts - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MA-10; Mercury MA-11; Mercury MA-12. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I; Gemini. After the 2-man space concept (later designated Project Gemini) was introduced in May 1961, a briefing between McDonnell and NASA personnel was held on the matter. As a result of this meeting, space flight design effort was concentrated on the 18-orbit 1-man Mercury and on a 2-man spacecraft capable of advanced missions.

1961 July 27 - . 15:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC31A. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 403.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,300 km (800 mi).

1961 July 28 - .
  • Birth of Dr Scott Edward Parazynski - . Nation: USA. Summary: American physician mission specialist astronaut, 1992-2009. Flew on STS-66, STS-86, STS-95, STS-100, STS-120..

1961 July 28 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • NASA invitation to bids for Apollo prime contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Original Specification; CSM Source Selection. NASA invited 12 companies to submit prime contractor proposals for the Apollo spacecraft by October 9: The Boeing Airplane Company, Chance Vought Corporation, Douglas Aircraft Company, General Dynamics/Convair, the General Electric Company, Goodyear Aircraft Corporation, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, The Martin Company, North American Aviation, Inc., and Republic Aviation Corporation. Additional details: here....

1961 July 30 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-25.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 July 31 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral.
  • Unions agree to no strikes at Cape Canaveral. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kennedy. At Cape Canaveral with the President's Missile Sites Labor Commission, Secretary of Labor Goldberg made public President Kennedy's message praising the voluntary, no-strike, no-lockout pledges covering labor-management relations at missile and space sites. The President's message stated that "the Nation cannot afford the luxury of avoidable delay in our missile and space program. Neither can we tolerate wasteful and expensive practices which add to the great financial burden our defense effort already places on us."

1961 July - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3.
  • Improved Mercury proposed for lunar landing - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Chamberlin. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini LOR; Apollo Lunar Landing. James A. Chamberlin and James T. Rose of STG proposed adapting the improved Mercury spacecraft to a 35,000-pound payload, including a 5,000-pound "lunar lander." This payload would be launched by a Saturn C-3 in the lunar orbit rendezvous mode. The proposal was in direct competition with the Apollo proposals that favored direct landing on the moon and involved a 150,000-pound payload launched by a Nova-class vehicle with approximately 12 million pounds of thrust.

1961 July 31 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn C-3; Saturn V.
  • NASA-DOD report on launch sites for Apollo - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Debus; Seamans. Program: Apollo. Phase I of a joint NASA-DOD report on facilities and resources required at launch sites to support the manned lunar landing program was submitted to Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., by Kurt H. Debus, Director, Launch Operations Directorate, and Maj. Gen. Leighton I. Davis, Commander of the Air Force Missile Test Center. The report, requested by Seamans on June 23, was based on the use of Nova- class launch vehicles for the manned lunar landing in a direct ascent mode, with the Saturn C-3 in supporting missions. Eight launch sites were considered: Cape Canaveral (on-shore); Cape Canaveral (off- shore); Mayaguana Island (Atlantic Missile Range downrange); Cumberland Island, Ga.; Brownsville, Tex.; White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.; Christmas Island, Pacific Ocean; and South Point, Hawaii. On the basis of minimum cost and use of existing national resources, and taking into consideration the stringent time schedule, White Sands Missile Range and Cape Canaveral (on-shore) were favored. White Sands presented serious limitations on launch azimuths because of first-stage impact hazards on populated areas.

1961 July 31 - . 21:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 21E.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1961 August 1 - .
  • McDonnell proposal for Gemini - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: Baseline 10 earth orbit flights; also proposed for docking with Centaur and circumlunar flights by March 1965. NASA not interested - threat to Apollo..

1961 August 1 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • Centaur operational contracts initiated. - . Nation: USA. Summary: NASA directed Marshall Space Flight Center to enter contract negotiations with contractors for procurement of five operational Atlas-Centaur vehicles. These launchings were planned to begin in second quarter of 1964..

1961 August - . LV Family: UR-200. Launch Vehicle: UR-200.
  • UR-200 universal ICBM / space booster authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On course of work on the UR-200 missile and launcher' was issued..

1961 August 1 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 1009. FAILURE: Human error in laying launch azimuth. Drop in inter-compartment pressure suspected..
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 5,085 m..

1961 August 1 - . 11:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL34.
  • Ultraviolet Camera Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 124 km (77 mi).

1961 August 1 - . 20:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Astrobee. Launch Vehicle: Astrobee 1500. LV Configuration: Astrobee 1500 AA16.304. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test / geodetic mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1961 August 2 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Apollo launch site study begun. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA headquarters announced that it was making a world-wide study of possible launching sites for Moon vehicles; the size, power, noise, and possible hazards of Saturn-Nova type rockets requiring greater isolation for public safety than presently available.

1961 August 2 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-21.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 August 3 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Martin briefed Space Task Group on Titan II technical characteristics and performance. - . Nation: USA. Representatives of Martin Company briefed Director Robert R. Gilruth and some of the senior staff of Space Task Group on Titan II technical characteristics and expected performance. At a senior staff meeting four days later, August 7, Gilruth commented on the Titan II's promise for manned spaceflight, particularly its potential ability to place larger payloads in orbit than could Atlas, which would make it 'a desirable booster for a two-man spacecraft.' Martin had estimated the cost of procuring and launching nine Titan II boosters, with cost of ancillary equipment, at $47.889 million spread over fiscal years 1962 through 1964.

1961 August 3 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10313. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 August 4 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-19.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 August 4 - . 00:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 309 / Agena B 1111. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 28 - . Payload: KH-2 9021. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-2. Decay Date: 1961-08-03 . COSPAR: F610804A. Summary: KH-2; Mission failed..
  • SRV 512 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-2. COSPAR: F610804B.

1961 August 5 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • First Saturn I leaves factory. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: First Saturn (SA-1) booster began water trip to Cape Canaveral on Navy barge Compromise after overland detour around Wheeler Dam..

1961 August 5 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C.
  • Solid motor segment test. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Segmented solid-propellent rocket engine fired by United Technology Corp. at Sunnyvale, generating over 200,000 pounds of thrust in 80-second firing. Developed under NASA contract, center section of engine contained over 55,000 pounds of propellant, the largest single piece yet manufactured in the United States.

1961 August 5 to October 12 - .
  • Tests conducted on the Mercury spacecraft explosive hatch - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-4. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: A series of environmental tests was conducted on the spacecraft explosive egress hatch because of the difficulties experienced during the Mercury-Redstone 4 (MR-4) mission..

1961 August 5 - . 00:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter. LV Configuration: Jupiter IRBM CM-218.
  • CTL - . Nation: Italy. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). The second Jupiter to be fired under the operational control of NATO troops in the Combat Training Launch program was fired from AMR at 1919 hours and 06 seconds EST to a range of 1,516 nm. The missile was originally scheduled for firing on 3 August but was postponed because of problems with the fuel probe in the fuel start tank and the micro-switch on the fuel pumping lever arm which controls the fuel flow rate. All missions assigned to the missile and to the NATO training launch crew were successfully accomplished.

1961 August 6 - . 06:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K. LV Configuration: Vostok 8K72K E103-17.
  • Vostok 2 - . Call Sign: Oryel (Eagle ). Crew: Titov. Backup Crew: Nikolayev; Nelyubov. Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 4. Mass: 4,730 kg (10,420 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Titov; Nikolayev; Nelyubov. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 2. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 1.00 days. Decay Date: 1961-08-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 168 . COSPAR: 1961-Tau-1. Apogee: 221 km (137 mi). Perigee: 172 km (106 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Second manned orbital flight. The Soviet Union successfully launched Vostok II into orbit with Gherman S. Titov as pilot. The spacecraft carried life-support equipment, radio and television for monitoring the condition of the cosmonaut, tape recorder, telemetry system, biological experiments, and automatic and manual control equipment. Flight objectives: Investigation of the effects on the human organism of a prolonged flight in orbit and subsequent return to the surface of the Earth; investigation of man's ability to work during a prolonged period of weightlessness. Titov took manual control of spacecraft but suffered from space sickness. He was equipped with a professional quality Konvas movie camera, with which ten minutes of film of the earth were taken through the porthole. Both television and film images were taken of the interior of the spacecraft. Like Gagarin, Titov experienced problems with separation of the service module after retrofire. Titov was never to fly again, after being assigned to the Spiral spaceplane, which turned out to be a dead-end project. A biography of him by Martin Caidin ('I Am Eagle') made him somewhat more accessible than Gagarin to the West.

1961 August 7 - .
  • Gagarin World Tour Completed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Gagarin. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 2. Between 27 May and 7 August Gagarin and Kamanin travel to Czechoslovakia, Finland, England, Iceland, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Hungary. In July they are at Paris at the FAI, where the records supporting the record flights of Shepard and Gagarin are examined. Kamanin has no time to write up the materials from the tour. Both he and Gagarin are out of the country during preparations for and the actual flight of Titov aboard Vostok 2.

1961 August 7 - .
  • Landing of Vostok 2 - . Return Crew: Titov. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Titov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 2. Summary: After 17.5 orbits, the spacecraft reentered on August 7 and landed safely at 7:18 GMT near Krasny Kut, Saratov. Titov made a separate parachute landing after riding his ejection seat out of the capsule..

1961 August 9 - .
  • First Apollo development contract - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Guidance; CSM Source Selection. NASA selected MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory to develop the guidance-navigation system for Project Apollo spacecraft. This first major Apollo contract was required since guidance-navigation system is basic to overall Apollo mission. The Instrumentation Laboratory of MIT, a nonprofit organization headed by C. Stark Draper, has been involved in a variety of guidance and navigation systems developments for 20 years. This first major Apollo contract had a long lead-time, was basic to the overall Apollo mission, and would be directed by STG.

1961 August 9 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Key personnel operational assignments for the Mercury MA-4 - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Key personnel operational assignments for the Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) unmanned orbital mission were made by the Space Task Group..

1961 August 9 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Retrofire-from-orbit mission rules for Mercury MA-4 - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury; Mercury Retrorockets. Summary: Retrofire-from-orbit mission rules were published for the unmanned Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) orbital flight..

1961 August 9 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 12L-14T.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 August 9 - . 04:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 2F.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi). Summary: First F flight, at AMR), successful.

1961 August 10 - . 18:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Silver Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 35.3 N x 116.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-22-37.
  • X-15A XLR-99, beta-dot test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 23 km (14 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 4401 kph. Maximum Altitude - 23830 m. Lost cabin pressure..

1961 August 11 - .
1961 August 11 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. Launch Vehicle: Exos. LV Configuration: Exos CRL AA13.194.
  • Ion density Test / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-43.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-35.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-36.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-37.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-42.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 602. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-34.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 August 12 - . 10:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.42NP.
  • LeRC LH2 test Technology test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 153 km (95 mi).

1961 August 13 - .
  • East Germans erect Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin to halt flood of refugees - . Nation: Germany.

1961 August 13 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 21L. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 August 14-15 - .
  • Apollo pre-proposal bidders' briefing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM Source Selection. STG held a pre-proposal briefing at Langley Field, Va., to answer bidders' questions pertaining to the Request for Proposal for the development of the Apollo spacecraft. 14 companies (Boeing, Vought, Douglas, GD, Goodyear, Grumman, Lockheed, Martin, McDonnell, Radio Corp, Republic, STL) attended. The winning bidder would receive contract for CSM (but not LM, if any) and integrate spacecraft with launch vehicle.

1961 August 14 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • First Saturn I arrives at Cape Canaveral. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Navy barge Compromise, carrying first Saturn booster, stuck in the mud in the Indian River just south of Cape Canaveral. Released several hours later, the Saturn was delayed only 24 hours in its 2,200-mile journey from Huntsville..

1961 August 15 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • Chelomei begins UR-500 Proton design studies. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei. Manufacturer: Chelomei. Program: GR-2. At first the launch vehicle was simply to consist of 4 two-stage UR-200 rockets lashed together, the first and second stages working in parallel in clusters. A third stage would be modified from the UR-200 second stage. However study of this configuration, which included manufacturing of a dynamic test article, indicated that the payload capacity could not meet the military’s requirements.

1961 August 15 - .
  • Korolev proposes a Vostok group flight - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Korolev proposes to Kamanin the launch of three manned Vostok spacecraft at one-day intervals: the first on a three-day flight, and the second and third on two- or three-day flights. Three Soviet manned spacecraft would be in orbit at once. Kamanin has no problem in principle, but does not believe any such flight could take place until 1962, rather than the November 1961 schedule proposed by Korolev. Kamanin goes so far as to write a letter from the VVS saying they would not agree to such a schedule. Due to problems on Titov's one-day flight, Kamanin believed the next flight should not exceed two days, which implied a maximum of only two spacecraft could be in space at one time. Korolev is furious -- and his relationship with the VVS and Kamanin are poor thereafter.

1961 August 15 - . 17:21 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.130.
  • Extreme ultraviolet Monochromator Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 271 km (168 mi).

1961 August 16 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • First F-1 firing. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: F-1 rocket engine tested in first of firing series of the complete flight system..

1961 August 16 - . 03:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta. LV Configuration: Thor Delta 312/D6.
  • Explorer 12 - . Payload: EPE A (S-3). Mass: 38 kg (83 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: EPE. Decay Date: 1963-08-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 170 . COSPAR: 1961-Upsilon-1. Apogee: 76,620 km (47,600 mi). Perigee: 790 km (490 mi). Inclination: 33.4000 deg. Period: 1,587.30 min. Summary: Radiation and solar wind data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1961 August 16 - . 20:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.02GT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 182 km (113 mi).

1961 August 17 - . 14:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18A. Launch Pad: LC18A. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout Jr. LV Configuration: Blue Scout Jr O-1.
  • HETS Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Apogee: 225,000 km (139,000 mi).

1961 August 18 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Further Mercury suborbital flights cancelled. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mercury MR-5. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: NASA announced that analysis of Project Mercury suborbital data indicated that all objectives of that phase of the program had been achieved, and that no further Mercury-Redstone flights were planned..

1961 August 18 - . 03:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.51CI.
  • Langmuir Probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 141 km (87 mi).

1961 August 22 - .
  • Mercury MA-4 flight readiness reviews - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Between August 22 and September 12, 1961, mission, spacecraft, and launch vehicle flight safety reviews were held for the unmanned Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) orbital flight..

1961 August 23 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Golovin Committee evaluates three rendezvous methods for manned lunar landing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM ECS; LM Source Selection. The Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group (Golovin Committee) notified the Marshal! Space Flight Center (MSFC), Langley Research Center, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that the Group was planning to undertake a comparative evaluation of three types of rendezvous operations and direct flight for manned lunar landing. Rendezvous methods were earth orbit, lunar orbit, and lunar surface. MSFC was requested to study earth orbit rendezvous, Langley to study lunar orbit rendezvous, and JPL to study lunar surface rendezvous. The NASA Office of Launch Vehicle Programs would provide similar information on direct ascent. Additional details: here....

1961 August 23 - . 01:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576B3. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 101D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1961 August 23 - . 10:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 111D (AA1) / Agena B 6001 (AA1). FAILURE: Agena B second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Ranger 1 - . Payload: NASA P-32 (RA-1). Mass: 306 kg (674 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Decay Date: 1961-08-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 173 . COSPAR: 1961-Phi-1. Apogee: 446 km (277 mi). Perigee: 179 km (111 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Lunar probe; failed to leave Earth orbit. Ranger 1, a test version of the spacecraft which would attempt an unmanned crash landing on the moon, was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B booster. The 306 kg spacecraft did not attain the scheduled extremely elongated orbit because of the misfiring of the Agena B rocket. Although the spacecraft systems were tested successfully, only part of the eight project experiments could be carried out. Ranger 1 reentered on August 29 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.

1961 August 23 - . 17:02 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Extreme ultraviolet Mon / X-ray counter Aeronomy / solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi).

1961 August 24 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Nova; Saturn V.
  • Merritt Island selected for Saturn V launch site. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. After considering Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral-Merritt Island, Mayaguana-Bahamas, Cumberland-Georgia, Brownville-Texas, Christmas Island, Hawaii, and White Sands, Merritt Island selected as launch site for manned lunar flights and other missions requiring Saturn and Nova class vehicles. Based upon national space goals announced by the President in May, NASA plans called for acquisition of 80,000 acres north and west of AFMTC, to be administered by the USAF as agent for NASA and as a part of the Atlantic Missile Range. Additional details: here....

1961 August 24 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) unmanned orbital flight was postponed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

1961 August 25 - .
  • Explorer XIII - . Nation: USA. Summary: , designed in part to measure the effects of micrometeoroids on spaceflight, failed to meet expectations, thereby necessitating further tests in this area..

1961 August 25 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout X-1. LV Configuration: Scout X-1 ST-6. FAILURE: Partial Failure.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Explorer 13 - . Payload: S-55A. Mass: 86 kg (189 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: S-55. Decay Date: 1961-08-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 180 . COSPAR: 1961-Chi-1. Apogee: 1,164 km (723 mi). Perigee: 125 km (77 mi). Inclination: 37.7000 deg. Period: 97.50 min. Summary: Useless orbit; micrometeoroid research. Partial Failure..

1961 August 27 - .
  • Russia explains secrecy on space designers. - . Nation: USSR. The Soviet Communist Party organ, Pravda, explained why Russian space techniques and the names of spaceship designers were kept secret as follows: "A corrupt capitalist society, by it very nature, is extremely capable of turning the greatest peaceful achievements of mankind into the total means of destruction of mankind. This is why it is risky to open even the smallest loopholes in the world of Soviet rocket technique for the gentlemen who are lagging considerably behind as far as their technique is concerned, but who become militarily agitated and distracted from an honest program of general and complete disarmament and who mumble something about the right of inspection of neighbors' orchards and storerooms. That is why the wonderful group of heroes who insured the mastering of the cosmos remain nameless until now."

1961 August 28 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3; Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • NERVA facilities contract. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. Summary: NASA selected Vitro Engineering Co. for negotiation of a design contract for an engine maintenance and disassembly building, one of the facilities to be a part of the National Nuclear Rocket Development Center..

1961 August 28 - . 17:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • ELF D-region Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 August 29 - .
  • Ranger launchings would be increased to nine - . Nation: USA. Program: Ranger. Spacecraft: Ranger 6-7-8-9. NASA announced that planned Ranger launchings would be increased from five to nine. These additional spacecraft would be equipped with six high-resolution television cameras. They would be programmed to begin operating at about 800 miles above the lunar surface and continue until moments before the spacecraft crash-landed. The final pictures would record features no more than eight inches across. About 1,600 photographs were expected from each spacecraft, which would no longer carry previously planned instrumented capsules. The objective of these spacecraft now was to provide information on the lunar surface in support of the manned lunar landing mission.

1961 August 29 - . 14:35 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 NE3.110.
  • Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 August 30 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Investigation of the Mercury MR-4 explosive egress hatch. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-4. Spacecraft: Mercury. An investigation was conducted as a result of the premature activation of the Mercury-Redstone 4 (MR-4) explosive egress hatch. Tests were initiated in an environment more severe than had been conducted in prelaunch activities and tests, but no premature firings occurred. As a backup, McDonnell was asked to design a mechanical-type hatch. The model weighed some 60 pounds more than the explosive type, so other methods had to be sought to prevent any recurrence of the incident. A procedure was initiated which stipulated that the firing plunger safety pin would be left in place until the helicopter hook was attached to the spacecraft and tension was applied to the recovery cable.

1961 August 30 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: RAM. Launch Vehicle: RAM A. LV Configuration: RAM A RAM A-1.
  • RAM A-1 re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,280 km (790 mi).

1961 August 30 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC32B. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 404. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1961 August 30 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 323 / Agena B 1112.
  • Discoverer 29 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9023 / Agena B 1112. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-09-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 181 . COSPAR: 1961-Psi-1. Apogee: 542 km (336 mi). Perigee: 152 km (94 mi). Inclination: 82.1000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. First use of KH-3 camera system. All frames out of focus..

1961 August 31 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-3.
  • Chamberlain proposes lunar landing by Gemini - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: Landing by Gemini using 4,000 kg wet/680 kg empty lander and Saturn C-3 booster. Landing by January 1966..

1961 August 31 - .
  • FOBS threat. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: OGCh. U.S.S.R. announced policy of resumption of nuclear weapon testing which had been suspended March 31, 1958, and that bombs can be delivered anywhere in the world by "powerful rockets like those Majs. Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov rode to begin their unrivaled space flights around the Earth."

1961 August - . LV Family: Saturn C-3; Saturn V.
  • Heaton Committee recommends earth orbit rendezvous for Apollo mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. The Ad Hoc Task Group for Study of Manned Lunar Landing by Rendezvous Techniques, Donald H. Heaton, Chairman, reported its conclusions: rendezvous offered the earliest possibility for a successful lunar landing, the proposed Saturn C-4 configuration should offer a higher probability of an earlier successful manned lunar landing than the C-3, the rendezvous technique recommended involved rendezvous and docking in earth orbit of a propulsion unit and a manned spacecraft, the cost of the total program through first lunar landing by rendezvous was significantly less than by direct ascent.

1961 August - .
  • Deep-space tracking station in South Africa completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The deep-space tracking station at Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, was completed. Dedication took place on September 8. NASA thus gained the capacity for continuous line-of-sight communication with lunar and interplanetary probes despite the earth's rotation. The other deep-space tracking stations were at Goldstone, Calif., and Woomera, Australia.

1961 August 31 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • New mainstage test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 September 1 - .
1961 September 1 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • New ICBM tests announced. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: U.S.S.R. announced that it would launch a series of "more powerful and improved rockets. (Article in Red Star timed to coincide with first firing of new rocket series in the Pacific.).

1961 September - . Launch Vehicle: 8K79; MR.
  • Korolev closes work on MR, 8K79 missiles. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. From 1960 to 1961 Korolev's design bureau worked on the single stage 8K79 military rocket. The 25 tonne missile could hurl an 800 kg warhead over a 2300 km range. A competing missile was selected for the requirement. Korolev's MR was based on stages already designed for the 8K74 and 8K77 missiles. The three-stage space launch version of the rocket would have a total mass of 101 tonnes; an ICBM version would be composed of just the first and second stages, and an IRBM version from the first stage alone.

1961 September 2 - .
  • Japan prepares biological payload. - . Nation: Japan. Summary: Scientists at Nagoya University, Japan, were reported to be training monkey for space flight next year, hopefully in conjunction with Japanese Government-financed rocket program carried out by Tokyo University's Institute of Industrial Science..

1961 September 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 23L.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 September 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Purchase of land for Saturn V launch facilities. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Authorization for NASA to acquire necessary land for additional launch facilities at Cape Canaveral was approved by the Senate..

1961 September 5, 9 and 14 - .
  • Mercury rocket sled tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Three rocket sled tests were conducted at the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California, to study the detailed launch vehicle-spacecraft, clamp-ring separation. From run to run, minor modifications were made, and by the third run the separation action was perfected.

1961 September 6 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 September 6 - . 22:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. LV Configuration: Thor DM-18A 165.
  • Combat training launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1961 September 7 - . LV Family: Saturn C-3; Saturn V.
  • Selection of Saturn first stage assembly plant - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. NASA announced that the government-owned Michoud Ordnance Plant near New Orleans, La., would be the site for fabrication and assembly of the Saturn C-3 first stage as well as larger vehicles. Finalists were two government-owned plants in St. Louis and New Orleans. The height of the factory roof at Michoud meant that an 8 x F-1 engined vehicle could not be built; 4 or 5 engines would have to be the maximum.

1961 September 7 - . 01:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-17.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: USAF Titan successfully launched from Atlantic Missile Range, making 6,100-mile flight..

1961 September 7 - . 18:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp ISRC-RS-06.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 September 8 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-3.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 September 8 - . 04:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Salto di Quirra. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun ISRC-RS-08.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Italy. Agency: CRS. Apogee: 145 km (90 mi).

1961 September 9 - . 01:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 26E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 September 9 - . 19:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 106D / Agena B 2120. FAILURE: Exploded on launch pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Samos 3 - . Payload: Samos E-2 no. 1. Mass: 1,890 kg (4,160 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1961-09-09 . COSPAR: F610909A. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images..

1961 September 9 - . 20:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus. FAILURE: Failure.
  • PM-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1961 September 10 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10311. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 September 10 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 22L.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 September 10 - . 05:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Novaya Zemlya. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 September 11 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • North American selected to build S-II stage. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. NASA selected NAA to develop the second stage (S-II) for the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. The cost, including development of at least ten vehicles, would total about $140 million. The S-II configuration provided for four J-2 liquid-oxygen - liquid-hydrogen engines, each delivering 200,000 pounds of thrust.

1961 September 12 - . 05:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Novaya Zemlya. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 September 12 - . 19:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 310 / Agena B 1113.
  • Discoverer 30 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9022 / Agena B 1113. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-12-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 182 . COSPAR: 1961-Omega-1. Apogee: 557 km (346 mi). Perigee: 219 km (136 mi). Inclination: 82.5000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. Best mission to date. Same out-of-focus condition as in 9023..

1961 September 12 - . 22:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-18-34.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aerodynamics, Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 34 km (21 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5821 kph. Maximum Altitude - 34840 m. Smoke in cockpit due to scorching paint..

1961 September 13 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 17L.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 September 13 - . 09:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.06CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 331 km (205 mi).

1961 September 13 - . 14:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 88D.
  • Mercury MA-4 - . Payload: Mercury SC8A. Mass: 1,200 kg (2,600 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Decay Date: 1961-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 183 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Alpha-1. Apogee: 248 km (154 mi). Perigee: 156 km (96 mi). Inclination: 32.8000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) was launched from Cape Canaveral with special vibration and noise instrumentation and a mechanical crewman simulator aboard in addition to the normal spacecraft equipment. This was the first Mercury spacecraft to attain an earth orbit. The orbital apogee was 123 nautical miles and the perigee was 86 nautical miles. After one orbit, the spacecraft's orbital timing device triggered the retrograde rockets, and the spacecraft splashed in the Atlantic Ocean 161 miles east of Bermuda. Recovery was made by the USS Decatur. During the flight, only three slight deviations were noted - a small leak in the oxygen system; loss of voice contact over Australia; and the failure of an inverter in the environmental control system. Overall, the flight was highly successful: the Atlas booster performed well and demonstrated that it was ready for the manned flight, the spacecraft systems operated well, and the Mercury global tracking network and telemetry operated in an excellent manner and was ready to support manned orbital flight.

1961 September 13 - . 23:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.22CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 431 km (267 mi).

1961 September 14 - . 04:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Kola Peninsula Launch Area. Launch Pad: 70.0 N x 40.0 E. Launch Platform: ZULUV?. Launch Vehicle: R-13.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 September 15 - .
  • Death of Grachev. Reported killed in an orbital flight sometime in 1960/1961. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Grachev. Summary: Russian phantom cosmonaut, one of two that allegedly disappeared aboard 'Vostok 3' on a circumlunar mission in 1961. In reality multimanned Vostok would be flown until 1964, and no circumlunar missions until 1968..

1961 September 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1961 September 16 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. LV Family: Cirrus. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • Cirrus rocket reaches 50 km altitude - . Nation: Germany. The first Cirrus rockets are launched. Cirrus I, a two stage rocket, with each stage providing 508 kgf, reached a velocity of 750 m/s (Mach 2.5) and 35 km altitude. Cirrus II, 4.155 m long, with a thrust of 1.8 tonnes, reached 1000 m/s and an altitude of 50 km. Kumulus I and II took biological specimens aloft. Each Kumulus had a mass of 28 kg, was 3 m long, produced 508 kgf, and reached 750 m/s, Mach 2.0. Kumulus I carried the Mexican salamander Lotte to an altitude of 12 km. Lotte landed safely in the Cuxhaven flats. Kumulus II took the goldfish Max to an altitude of 15 km, but Max, enclosed in a plexiglass globe, made a hard landing.

1961 September 16 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. LV Family: Cirrus. Launch Vehicle: Cirrus I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DRG. Apogee: 35 km (21 mi).

1961 September 16 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. LV Family: Cirrus. Launch Vehicle: Cirrus II.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DRG. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1961 September 16 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kola Peninsula Launch Area. Launch Pad: 70.0 N x 40.0 E. Launch Platform: ZULUV?. Launch Vehicle: R-13.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 September 16 - . 21:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.18CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 208 km (129 mi).

1961 September 17 - .
  • Birth of Pamela Ann Melroy - . Nation: USA. Summary: American test pilot astronaut 1995-2009. Flew on STS-92, STS-112, STS-120. US Air Force test pilot..

1961 September 17 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • 36 companies invited to bid on the first stage of advanced Saturn - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA invited 36 companies to bid on a contract to produce the first stage of the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. Representatives of interested companies would attend a pre-proposal conference in New Orleans, La., on September 26. Bids were to be submitted by October 16 and NASA would then select the contractor, probably in November.

1961 September 17 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 15L.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 September 17 - . 04:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ii.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 September 17 - . 10:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NASA 03.19CA.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 273 km (169 mi).

1961 September 17 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 324 / Agena B 1114.
  • Discoverer 31 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9024 / Agena B 1114. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-10-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 186 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Beta-1. Apogee: 403 km (250 mi). Perigee: 231 km (143 mi). Inclination: 82.6000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Power failure and loss of control gas on orbit 33..

1961 September 18 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mission rules for the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) orbital flight. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Mission rules for the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) orbital flight were published. Revisions were issued on October 16 and 25, 1961, and November 11, 1961..

1961 September 18 - . 12:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C NASA 9.01GG.
  • Southern Sky Survey Ultraviolet Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 193 km (119 mi). Summary: First of four scheduled Skylark rocket firings was launched from Woomera in the joint United States-Australian ultraviolet survey of the southern skies..

1961 September 19 - .
  • Selection of Houston for control center. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Apollo. NASA Administrator Webb announced that location of the new Manned Spacecraft Center would be in Houston, Tex., the conclusion of an intensive nationwide study by a site selection team. The Manned Spacecraft Center would be the command center for the manned lunar landing mission and all follow-on manned space flight missions. This announcement was the third basic decision on major facilities required for the expanded U.S. Range and the establishment of the spacecraft fabrication center at the Michoud Ordnance Plant near New Orleans, La.

1961 September 19 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10314. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 September 20 - .
  • Space Task Group seek temporary operational quarters in Houston - . Nation: USA. Summary: Robert R. Gilruth and other officials of the Space Task Group surveyed the Houston, Texas, area to seek temporary operational quarters while the permanent installation was being constructed..

1961 September 21 - .
  • D. Brainerd Holmes appointed NASA's Director of Manned Space Flight Programs. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Holmes, Brainard. As general manager of Radio Corporation of America's Major Defense Systems Division, Holmes had been project manager of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. Congressman G. P. Miller (D.-Calif.) succeeded the recently deceased Congressman Overton Brooks of Louisiana as chairman of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics.

1961 September 21 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. Launch Pad: LC31?. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A. LV Configuration: R-7A E15003-03.
  • R-7A II-7 test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Summary: R-7A readiness verification test..

1961 September 22 - .
  • Mercury ship recovery provisions. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Announced at Space Task Group that a 30-cubic-foot balloon would be installed in Mercury spacecraft to allow for ship recovery should helicopter be forced to drop it as happened during the MR-4 recovery..

1961 September 22 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. LV Configuration: R-16 16L. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 September 23 - .
  • Birth of William Cameron 'Willie' McCool - . Nation: USA. Summary: American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-107. Perished in Columbia shuttle disintegration during re-entry..

1961 September 23 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 September 23 - . 20:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 395-A1. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I SM-2.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: Launched from Titan II silo.

1961 September 24 - .
  • NASA reorganization - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth; Holmes, Brainard; Silverstein; Webb; Dixon. Program: Mercury. NASA Administrator Webb announced major organizational changes and top-level appointments to become effective November 1. The reorganization should provide a clearer focus on major programs and allow center directors to have a louder voice in policy making. The new appointments included the following Directors of major program offices: Ira H. Abbott, Office of Advanced Research and Technology; Homer E. Newell, Office of Space Sciences; D. Brainerd Holmes, Office of Manned Space Flight; and an as yet unnamed Director of Office of Applications Programs. Also, Thomas F. Dixon was appointed Deputy Associate Administrator; Abe Silverstein was named Director of the Lewis Research Center, and Robert R. Gilruth was chosen Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center.

1961 September 25 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • S-IC fabrication plant manager named. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Summary: Dr. George N. Constan of Marshall Space Flight Center named as acting manager of the new NASA Saturn fabrication plant near New Orleans by Director von Braun of Marshall Space Flight Center..

1961 September 26 - .
  • Death of Charles Erwin 'Engine Charlie' Wilson - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Wilson, Charles Erwin. Summary: American Manager, Eisenhower's Secretary of Defense 1953-1957, an ardent opponent of spaceflight. He had previously run GM, where he coined the phrase "What's good for General Motors is good for the country"..

1961 September 26 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Bidders conference for S-IC stage. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. Summary: NASA bidders conference on a contract to produce the booster (S-I) stage of the Saturn vehicle was held at the Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans..

1961 September 26 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E10315.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 September 26 - . 21:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun OB6.16.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 128 km (79 mi).

1961 September 27 - . 00:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL40.
  • Solar X-rays / B field / SpE Ionosphere-solar mission Ionosphere-solar mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 153 km (95 mi).

1961 September 28 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • Mariner moved to Atlas-Agena due to Centaur delay. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mariner. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Mariner 1-2. Summary: NASA announced that instrumented Venus probe to be launched next year would be launched by an Atlas-Agena B rather than a Centaur rocket as originally planned..

1961 September 28 - .
  • Tiros 2 rocket test. - . Nation: USA. Program: Tiros. Summary: Pair of spinup rockets on Tiros II successfully fired after more than 10 months in orbit..

1961 September 28 - . Launch Site: Fairchild AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E.
  • Atlas SMS 567 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Fairchild AFB SMS 567 operational.

1961 September 28 - . 17:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Hidden Hills DZ. Launch Pad: 36.1 N x 116.0 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-19-35.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Heat Trans. test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5792 kph. Maximum Altitude - 31030 m. Test reentry heat limit. Smoke in cockpit due to scorching paint..

1961 September 29 - .
  • Dynasoar contracts issued. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. USAF awarded three contracts for speeding development of the Dyna-Soar, a manned orbital space glider. Receiving contracts were Boeing Co. for development of the glider and related systems, Radio Corp. of America for communications and tracking devices, and Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co. for the guidance system.

1961 September 29 - . 01:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-20.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 September 29 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1X-50.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 September 30 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 NASA 04.25US.
  • OSO spectrometer Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 223 km (138 mi).

1961 October 1 - .
  • Mercury ship recovery demonstration. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Grissom. Program: Mercury. Summary: Bland demonstrated capability of a destroyer to recover MR-2 Mercury capsule, with Virgil Grissom aboard, from water in series of pickups in lower Chesapeake Bay..

1961 October - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Titan II to be selected as the launch vehicle for NASA's advanced Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Gemini. Martin Company received informal indications from the Air Force that Titan II would be selected as the launch vehicle for NASA's advanced Mercury. Martin, Air Force, and NASA studied the feasibility of modifying complex 19 at Cape Canaveral from the Titan weapon system configuration to the Mercury Mark II launch vehicle configuration.

1961 October - .
  • Apollo X - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Apollo X. Emanuel Schnitzer of LaRC suggested a possible adaptation for existing Apollo hardware to create a space laboratory, which he termed an 'Apollo X' vehicle. Schnitzer's concept involved using a standard Apollo command and service module in conjunction with an inflatable spheroid structure and transfer tunnel to create a space laboratory with artificial gravity potential. Additional details: here....

1961 October 1 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Factory roll-out inspection of Mercury Atlas booster No. 93-D - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Factory roll-out inspection of Atlas booster No. 93-D was conducted at Convair. This booster was designated for the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) mission..

1961 October 1 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Caleb. LV Configuration: Caleb SIP.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NOTS. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi). Satellite Interceptor Program (SIP) test vehicle. This was a follow-on to China Lake's "Notsnik" air-launched satellite and Caleb space-probe projects, SIP was a prototype air-launched satellite-killer system using primarily in-house technology and hardware.

1961 October 1 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 1012.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 197 m..

1961 October 2 - . 18:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 25E.
  • Research and development / Pod 7 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1961 October 3 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • S- IVB stage to have a single J-2 engine - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. The MSFC-STG Space Vehicle Board at NASA Headquarters discussed the S- IVB stage, which would be modified by the Douglas Aircraft Company to replace the six LR-115 engines with a single J-2 engine. Funds of $500,000 were allocated for this study to be completed in March 1962. Additional details: here....

1961 October 3 - . 18:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Silver Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 35.3 N x 116.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-23-39.
  • X-15A VO Stability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 23 km (14 mi). Summary: Flight made with lower ventral off. Maximum Speed - 4553 kph. Maximum Altitude - 23770 m..

1961 October 4 - . 11:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C NASA 9.02GG.
  • Southern Sky Survey Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 195 km (121 mi).

1961 October 4 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-15.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 October 5 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Daniel. Launch Vehicle: Daniel. LV Configuration: Daniel 03.
  • Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 October 5 - . 13:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 30E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: USAF Atlas fired 9,000 miles for Atlantic Missile Range into Indian Ocean, carrying dummy nuclear warhead and a data capsule which was recovered..

1961 October 5 - . 19:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Platform: F-4H. Launch Vehicle: Caleb. LV Configuration: Caleb NC17.116. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NOTS. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1961 October 6 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-21.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 October 6 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 October 7 - . 01:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-4.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: USAF Titan I launched from Cape Canaveral carrying Titan II guidance system..

1961 October 7 - . 20:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus. FAILURE: Failure.
  • PM-2 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1961 October 8 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-22. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 October 9 - .
  • Bids received for Apollo prime contractor - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. Summary: Five Bidding Teams: GD/Avco; GE/Douglas/Grumman/STL; McDonnell/Lockheed/Hughes/Vought; Martin/North American.

1961 October 9 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas booster No. 93-D delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Atlas booster No. 93-D was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5) orbital flight mission..

1961 October 9 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Daniel. Launch Vehicle: Daniel. LV Configuration: Daniel 02.
  • Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 October 9 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16U. LV Configuration: R-16U 2LU.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 October 10 - . Launch Site: Forbes AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E.
  • Atlas SMS 548 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Forbes AFB SMS 548 operational.

1961 October 10 - . 17:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.23GA.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,544 km (959 mi). Summary: NASA Argo D-4 rocket was launched from Wallops, reaching an altitude of 585 miles and landing 817 miles out in the Atlantic, to gather data on the density of electrically charged helium atoms in the upper atmosphere..

1961 October 11 - .
  • Presentations by industrial teams on the Apollo spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. Officials of STG heard oral reports from representatives of five industrial teams bidding on the contract for the Apollo spacecraft: General Dynamics/Astronautics in conjunction with the Avco Corporation; General Electric Company, Missile and Space Vehicle Department, in conjunction with Douglas Aircraft Company, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, and Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.; McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in conjunction with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Hughes Aircraft Company, and Chance Vought Corporation of Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc.; The Martin Company; and North American Aviation, Inc. Additional details: here....

1961 October 11 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16U. LV Configuration: R-16U 1LU. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 October 11 - . 20:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-20-36. FAILURE: Left windshield cracks..
  • X-15A Alt, Aero, Low q test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 66 km (41 mi). Summary: Outer panel of left windshield cracked. Maximum Speed - 5868 kph. Maximum Altitude - 66150 m..

1961 October 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • TMK-1 draft project was completed. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Spacecraft: TMK-1. Design of the manned Mars flyby spacecraft had involved nearly all sections of Korolev's OKB-1. Those who worked on the TMK included A I Dylnev, A K Algypov, A A Kochkin, A A Dashkov, V N Kubasov, V E Bugrov, and N N Protacov. Kubasov would be selected as a cosmonaut in 1966.

1961 October 12 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-23.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,160 km (720 mi).

1961 October 12 - . 13:21 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AA3.146.
  • Ultraviolet absorption Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 192 km (119 mi).

1961 October 13 - . LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor.
  • Thor 100th launch. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Discoverer XXXII was placed into polar orbit; its capsule contained components of USAF satellite systems. This marked the 100th successful firing of the Thor booster rocket..

1961 October 13 - . LV Family: SLS; Titan.
  • Titan III selected as the space launch system for the Air Force. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: The Department of Defense approved the Titan III as the space launch system for the Air Force..

1961 October 13 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 328 / Agena B 1115.
  • Discoverer 32 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9025 / Agena B 1115. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-11-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 189 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Gamma-1. Apogee: 391 km (242 mi). Perigee: 233 km (144 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 1.1 days later. Capsule recovered on orbit 18. 96% of film out of focus..

1961 October 14 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Lunar X-ray X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 October 14 - . 04:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. LV Configuration: Javelin NASA 8.17AI.
  • Topside Sounder Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,055 km (655 mi).

1961 October 15 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16U. LV Configuration: R-16U 4LU.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 October 16 - . 14:54 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-38.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 October 17 - . 18:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-24-40.
  • X-15A Mach 5, Aero, Stab test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 33 km (20 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6275 kph. Maximum Altitude - 33100 m..

1961 October 18 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150A NASA 04.40NP.
  • LeRC LH2 test Technology test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 152 km (94 mi).

1961 October 19 - . 17:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout X-1. LV Configuration: Scout X-1 ST-7.
  • P-21 Plasma / aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 6,855 km (4,259 mi).

1961 October 20 - . LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • R-16 accepted into military service. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Decree 'On adoption of the R-16 into armaments' was issued..

1961 October 20 - . Launch Site: Kola Peninsula Launch Area. Launch Pad: 70.0 N x 40.0 E. Launch Platform: ZULUV?. Launch Vehicle: R-13.
  • Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 October 21 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 October 21 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 October 21 - . 13:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 105D.
  • Midas 4 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1202. Mass: 1,800 kg (3,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 192 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Delta-1. Apogee: 3,763 km (2,338 mi). Perigee: 3,482 km (2,163 mi). Inclination: 95.9000 deg. Period: 165.90 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System. Deployed subsatellites..
  • Westford - . Payload: Westford. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: WestFord Needles. USAF Sat Cat: 194 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Delta-3.

1961 October 22 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16U. LV Configuration: R-16U 3LU.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 October 23 - .
  • Freedom 7 deposited in Smithsonian. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. The Freedom 7 Mercury capsule in which Alan B. Shepard, Jr., made the first suborbital space flight, was presented to the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. In his presentation, NASA Administrator Webb said: "To Americans seeking answers, proof that man can survive in the hostile realm of space is not enough. A solid and meaningful foundation for public support and the basis for our Apollo man-in-space effort is that U.S. astronauts are going into space to do useful work in the cause of all their fellow men."

1961 October 23 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Mercury Freedom 7 presented to the Smithsonian - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Flight: Mercury MR-3. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Freedom 7, the Mercury-Redstone 3 (MR-3) spacecraft, was presented by NASA to the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian Institution..

1961 October 23 - . 16:38 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2E-X1 (A2X-4).
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: First underwater launching of Navy Polaris A-2, and first firing from submarine, U.S.S. Ethan Allen..

1961 October 23 - . 19:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 329 / Agena B 1116. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 33 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9026. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-10-23 . COSPAR: F611023A. Summary: KH-3; Mission failed..
  • SRV 513 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-3. COSPAR: F611023B.

1961 October 24 - .
  • Birth of Susan Leigh Still-Kilrain - . Nation: USA. Summary: Jewish-American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-83, STS-94. US Navy test pilot..

1961 October 24 - . LV Family: Nova. Launch Vehicle: Nova A.
  • Nova launch vehicle studies begun. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Studies of "unconventional" rockets using liquid fuels in the thrust range from 2 to 24 million pounds announced by NASA; 2 contracts being carried out by Aerojet-General and Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation..

1961 October 24 - . 00:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL37.
  • Solar X-rays / Meteors / SpE Solar / aeronomy / chemica mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi).

1961 October 24 - . 03:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 8. LV Configuration: Kappa 8 K-8-8.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 October 24 - . 23:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-21.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 October 25 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn V.
  • Saturn static test stand site selected. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: NASA selected Pearl River site in southwestern Mississippi, 35 miles from Michoud plant in New Orleans, for static test facility for Saturn and Nova-class vehicles, completed facility to operate under direction of Marshall Space Flight Center..

1961 October 25 - . 06:59 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AB3.351.
  • AS&E-2 X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 232 km (144 mi).

1961 October 26 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC51. LV Family: R-9. Launch Vehicle: Romashka. LV Configuration: R-9 No. E15001-24. FAILURE: Failure.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 October 27 - .
  • Dynasoar accelerated. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Secretary of Defense McNamara announced that progress of the Administration's accelerated defense buildup made unnecessary the use of additional defense funds appropriate by the Congress above the amount requested by the administration. The Congress had voted $514.5 million for additional long-range bombers; $180 million additional for the B-70; and $85.8 million additional for Dyna-Soar.

1961 October 27 - . LV Family: Atlas; Titan.
  • Program of manned spaceflight for 1963-1965. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Low, George. Spacecraft: Gemini. Space Task Group (STG), assisted by George M. Low, NASA Assistant Director for Space Flight Operations, and Warren J. North of Low's office, prepared a project summary presenting a program of manned spaceflight for 1963-1965. This was the final version of the Project Development Plan, work on which had been initiated August 14. Additional details: here....

1961 October 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 October 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Nuclear Test K-2 Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 180 km (110 mi). Summary: Two R-12's (other sources say R-5M's or an R-12 and an R-5M) were salvo fired, at least one with a live nuclear warhead, to Sary Shagan to support ABM-related research on the effects of nuclear explosions on rocket systems..

1961 October 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Nuclear Test K-1 Nuclear test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi). Summary: Two R-12's (other sources say R-5M's or an R-12 and an R-5M) were salvo fired, at least one with a live nuclear warhead, to Sary Shagan to support ABM-related research on the effects of nuclear explosions on rocket systems..

1961 October 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1961 October 27 - . 09:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.52CI.
  • Langmuir Probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 148 km (91 mi).

1961 October 27 - . 15:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC34. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-1. LV Configuration: Saturn C-1 SA-1.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 136 km (84 mi). Largest known rocket launch to date, the Saturn I 1st stage booster, successful on first test flight from Atlantic Missile Range. With its eight clustered engines developing almost 1.3 million pounds of thrust at launch, the Saturn (SA-1) hurled waterfilled dummy upper stages to an altitude of 84.8 miles and 214.7 miles down range. In a postlaunch statement, Administrator Webb said: "The flight today was a splendid demonstration of the strength of our national space program and an important milestone in the buildup of our national capacity to launch heavy payloads necessary to carry out the program projected by President Kennedy on May 25.".

1961 October 27 - . 16:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar Mayak-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 63S1. FAILURE: First stage failed.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • DS-2 s/n 1 - . Payload: DS-1. Mass: 300 kg (660 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: DS. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: DS-1. COSPAR: F611027A. Summary: Failed first attempt to launch a DS-1 technology test version of the DS satellite atop a Cosmos 63S1 small launch vehicle. The boster didn't reach orbital velocity due to the failure of an acceleration integrator in the velocity regulation control..

1961 October 28 - .
  • Zenit-2 priority delays manned space flights - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. Spacecraft: Zenit-2; Vostok. Summary: Plans for a November group flight are delayed due to the priority of the spy satellite program. Korolev wants to fly manned Vostoks in December 1961/January 1962, but Kamanin and the VVS oppose this due to poor weather during that period..

1961 October 28 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16U. LV Configuration: R-16U 5LU.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 October 29 - .
  • Mercury-Scout launch announced. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Technology. Type: Tracking network technology satellite. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Summary: NASA announced that first Mercury-Scout launch to verify the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network would take place at Atlantic Missile Range..

1961 October 29 - .
  • U.S.S.R. fires 50-megaton hydrogen bomb, biggest explosion in history - . Nation: USSR.

1961 October 29 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41?/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • K (OT) test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 October 30 - .
1961 October 30 - .
  • Soviet military space plans through 1965 approved. - . Nation: USSR. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On plans for the military use of space during the period 1961-65' was issued. This formalised the first true military space plans - prior to that date only the Zenit-2 and Zenit-4 reconnaissance satellites had been authorised. The following missions were identified:

    • Photo reconnaissance / cartography
    • ELINT
    • Television reconnaissance
    • Communications satellites
    • Ocean reconnaissance
    • Navigation
    • Meteorology
    • Training/target objects
    • Geodesy

1961 October 30 - .
  • Molniya-1 and Meteor-1 satellites authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Molniya-1; Molniya-2; Meteor. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of work on the Molniya-1 communications satellite and Meteor-1 weather satellite' was issued. Thedecree authorised work on the Molniya-1M production model, providing international communications on the centimetre band. But the protoype Molniya-1 worked so well that it was taken directly into service, and the -1M was skipped.

1961 October 30 - . 11:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 8. LV Configuration: Kappa 8 K-8-9.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 175 km (108 mi).

1961 October 31 - . LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 65S3.
  • Kosmos 65S3 intermediate launch vehicle development authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Meteor; Strela-1; Strela-2. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Creation of the Space Carrier 65S3--start of work on a launch vehicle based on the R-14 for launch of the Meteor, Strela, and Pchela satellites.' was issued..

1961 October 31 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • First launch of R-12U from silo. - . Nation: USSR. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 November 1 - .
  • STG redesignated the Manned Spacecraft Center - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Apollo. Summary: The Space Task Group was formally redesignated the Manned Spacecraft Center, Robert R. Gilruth, Director..

1961 November - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • Preliminary design work by Chelomei on UR-500 (Proton) rocket. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev; Glushko; Chelomei. OKB-52 began to collaborate with V P Glushko’s OKB-456 in developing an appropriate engine. Glushko had completed a storable liquid engine design of 150 tonnes for use in Korolev’s N1. However Korolev refused to accept this design, due to his refusal to use toxic propellants in his rockets and his belief that such propellants could never deliver the required specific impulse.

1961 November 1 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 ND3.122.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 212 km (131 mi).

1961 November 1 - . 15:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-8. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mercury MS-1 - . Payload: Radio Test Spacecraft. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Mercury. Class: Technology. Type: Tracking network technology satellite. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Small satellite was to have verified the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network. An attempt was made to launch Mercury-Scout 1 (MS-1) into orbit with a communications package further to qualify the radar tracking of the Mercury global network prior to manned orbital flight. Shortly after lift-off, the launch vehicle developed erratic motions and attending high aerodynamic loads, and was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer after 43 seconds of flight. No further attempts were planned. The Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission and the successful Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5), flown on November 29, 1961, disclosed that the network met all requirements.

1961 November 1 - . 17:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C NASA 9.03GG.
  • Southern Sky Survey Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 193 km (119 mi).

1961 November 2 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1- A-42. FAILURE: Failure.
  • X-15A aborted launch. - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1961 November 3 - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Europa. Launch Vehicle: Europa.
  • Woomera selected for Europa launches. - . Nation: Europe. Summary: Nine-nation Western European Conference in London announced decision to launch a satellite in mid-1965, using a British Blue Streak first stage, a French Veronique second stage, and a West German third stage, from the Woomera range in Australia..

1961 November 3 - . 14:01 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-39.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Summary: Three Polaris A-2 missiles successfully fired within 3-hour period from submarine period from submarine Ethan Allen..

1961 November 3 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-40.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 November 3 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1E-41.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 November 5 - .
1961 November 5 - .
1961 November 5 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 330 / Agena B 1117.
  • Discoverer 34 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9027 / Agena B 1117. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1962-12-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 197 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Epsilon-1. Apogee: 859 km (533 mi). Perigee: 231 km (143 mi). Inclination: 82.4000 deg. Period: 95.60 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovery not attempted. Mission failed. Improper launch angle resulted in extreme orbit..
  • SRV 553 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-3. COSPAR: 1961-A-Epsilon-x.

1961 November 6 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Saturn S-II to use five J-2 engines - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: Marshall Space Flight Center directed NAA to redesign the advanced Saturn second stage (S-II) to incorporate five rather than four J-2 engines, to provide a million pounds of thrust..

1961 November 8 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2. LV Configuration: Skylark-2 SL35.
  • Ozone / Meteors / SpE Aeronomy / chemical / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 152 km (94 mi).

1961 November 8 - . 16:10 GMT - . Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Platform: SSBN 608. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2E-X2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 November 9 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-14 (A2G-1).
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 November 9 - . 17:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Mud Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 37.9 N x 117.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 2-21-37. FAILURE: Right windshield cracks..
  • X-15A Mach 6, Aero, Stab test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 31 km (19 mi). Summary: Design speed achieved. Outer right windshield shattered. Maximum Speed - 6586 kph. Maximum Altitude - 30950 m..

1961 November 10 - . 14:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 32E. FAILURE: Sustainer engine failed 15 seconds after launch.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development test / Pod 13 chemical release - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). Summary: USAF Atlas with capsule containing squirrel monkey destroyed by range safety officer at Atlantic Missile Range when main sustainer engine failed 15 seconds after launch..

1961 November 12 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury 5 launch postponed - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Mercury-Atlas 5, scheduled for launch no earlier than November 14, ran into technical difficulties, postponing launch for several days..

1961 November 13 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. LV Family: VE. Launch Vehicle: Agate.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1961 November 14 - . Launch Vehicle: Al Zahar.
  • Egypt first rocket launch. - . Nation: Egypt. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). United Arab Republic neither confirmed nor denied reports of November 8 that it had successfully launched its first rocket. Dr. Eugen Saenger of the Stuttgart Jet Propulsion Institute in Germany denied any connection with the United Arab Republic program as charged by Israel.

1961 November 15 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton.
  • Development of RD-253 engine begun. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko; Korolev. Manufacturer: Chelomei. Program: GR-2. OKB-52 began to collaborate with V P Glushko’s OKB-456 in developing a high thrust storable propellant engine for the UR-500 Proton launch vehicle. Glushko had completed a storable liquid engine design of 150 tonnes for use in Korolev’s N1. However Korolev refused to accept this design, due to his categorical refusal to use toxic propellants in his rockets and his belief that such propellants could never deliver the required specific impulse. Korolev insisted on development of an oxygen-kerosene engine; Glushko categorically refused to do so. As a result, the two leading Soviet rocket designers irrevocably split. Korolev had to turn for development of his N1 engines to the aviation engine design OKB of N D Kuznetsov.

1961 November 15 - . Launch Vehicle: Argus.
  • NASA Bios - failure. - . Nation: USA. Summary: NASA Bios (biological investigation of space) payload launched by Argo D-8 booster rocket from Pacific Missile Range, but veered sharply off course 57 seconds after launch..

1961 November 15 - .
  • Houbolt letter on lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) plan - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Seamans. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM; LM Mode Debate; LM Source Selection. In a letter to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., John C. Houbolt of Langley Research Center presented the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) plan and outlined certain deficiencies in the national booster and manned rendezvous programs. This letter protested exclusion of the LOR plan from serious consideration by committees responsible for the definition of the national program for lunar exploration.

1961 November 15 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein RN. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Asp Apache.
  • Highball Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 November 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 November 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 November 15 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5.
  • Aeronomy / ionosphere / Fields mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: AN. Apogee: 430 km (260 mi).

1961 November 15 - . 13:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. Launch Vehicle: Journeyman. LV Configuration: Journeyman NASA 11.04GB.
  • BIOS I Biological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,057 km (656 mi).

1961 November 15 - . 21:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 326 / Agena B 1118.
  • Discoverer 35 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9028 / Agena B 1118. Mass: 2,100 kg (4,600 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-12-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 201 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Zeta-1. Apogee: 278 km (172 mi). Perigee: 238 km (147 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 1.1 days later. All cameras operated satisfactorily. Grainy emulsion noted..

1961 November 15 - . 22:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 305 AB009?.
  • Transit 4B - . Mass: 86 kg (189 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Transit. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft: Transit. USAF Sat Cat: 202 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Eta-1. Apogee: 1,104 km (685 mi). Perigee: 953 km (592 mi). Inclination: 32.4000 deg. Period: 105.70 min. Together, Transits 4A and 4B allowed the determination of harmonics in the Earth’s gravity field that had not yet been evaluated, and they also allowed firm navigational ties to be established from continent to continent as well as to isolated islands. As a result, it was discovered that the position of Hawaii was incorrect by 1 km. Carried SNAP 3 nuclear power source.
  • TRAAC - . Mass: 109 kg (240 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRAAC. USAF Sat Cat: 205 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Eta-2. Apogee: 1,107 km (687 mi). Perigee: 956 km (594 mi). Inclination: 32.4000 deg. Period: 105.80 min. Summary: Transit Research and Attitude Control. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1961 November 16 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Second decision on launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun; McNamara; Webb. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Golovin Committe studies launch vehicles through summer, but found the issue to be completely entertwined with mode (earth-orbit, lunar-orbit, lunar-surface rendezvous or direct flight. Two factions: large solids for direct flight; all-chemical with 4 or 5 F-1's in first stage for rendezvous options. In the end Webb and McNamara ordered development of C-4 and as a backup, in case of failure of F-1 in development, build of 6.1 m+ solid rocket motors by USAF.

1961 November 16 - . 20:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • PM-3 Dummy St 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 November 17 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Contract issued for build of 20 Saturn I's. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. NASA announced that the Chrysler Corporation had been chosen to build 20 Saturn first-stage (S-1) boosters similar to the one tested successfully on October 27 . They would be constructed at the Michoud facility near New Orleans, La. The contract, worth about $200 million, would run through 1966, with delivery of the first booster scheduled for early 1964.

1961 November 17 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC32B. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 405.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,300 km (800 mi). Summary: Silo launch, 10,000 km range.

1961 November 17 - . 16:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Javelin. Launch Vehicle: Javelin.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 610 km (370 mi).

1961 November 18 - . 06:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.72NA.
  • Airglow Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi).

1961 November 18 - . 08:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 117D (AA2) / Agena B 6002 (AA2). FAILURE: Agena B Second Stage failed to restart.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Ranger 2 - . Payload: NASA P-33 (RA-2). Mass: 304 kg (670 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Decay Date: 1961-11-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 206 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Theta-1. Apogee: 242 km (150 mi). Perigee: 150 km (90 mi). Inclination: 33.3000 deg. Period: 88.30 min. This was a flight test of the Ranger spacecraft system designed for future lunar and interplanetary missions. The spacecraft was launched into a low earth parking orbit, but an inoperative roll gyro prevented Agena restart resulting in Ranger 2 being stranded in low earth orbit. The orbit decayed and the spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere on 20 November 1961.

1961 November 18 - . 13:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. Launch Vehicle: Journeyman. LV Configuration: Journeyman NASA 11.05GB.
  • BIOS I Biological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,057 km (656 mi).

1961 November 19 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • RL-10 flight rating complete. - . Nation: USA. NASA announced the completion of the preliminary flight rating test of the Nation's first liquid-hydrogen rocket engine. The engine, the RL-10, was designed and developed by Pratt and Whitney, of United Aircraft, for the Marshall Space Flight Center, and 20 captive firings were competed within 5 days under simulated space conditions, consistently producing 15,000 pounds of thrust. RL-10, previously known as XLR-115, was initiated in October 1958 and over 700 firings were conducted in its development.

1961 November 20 - .
  • North American to proceed with the Paraglider Development Program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini; Gemini Paraglide. Manned Spacecraft Center notified North American to proceed with Phase II-A of the Paraglider Development Program. A letter contract, NAS 9-167, followed on November 21; contract negotiations were completed February 9, 1962; and the final contract was awarded on April 16, 1962. Phase I, the design studies that ran from the beginning of June to mid-August 1961, had already demonstrated the feasibility of the paraglider concept. Phase II-A, System Research and Development, called for an eight-month effort to develop the design concept of a paraglider landing system and to determine its optimal performance configuration. This development would lay the groundwork for Phase II, Part B, comprising prototype fabrication, unmanned and manned flight testing, and the completion of the final system design. Ultimately Phase III-Implementation-would see the paraglider being manufactured and pilots trained to fly it.

1961 November 20 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-5.
  • Rosen Group recommends direct ascent for the lunar landing mission mode - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Holmes, Brainard; Rosen, Milton. Program: Apollo. Summary: Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), submitted to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, OMSF, the report of the working group which had been set up on November 6.. Additional details: here....

1961 November 20 - . Launch Site: Warren AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E.
  • Atlas SMS 549 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Warren-3 AFB SMS 549 operational.

1961 November 20 - . 18:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C NASA 9.04GG.
  • Southern Sky Survey Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 209 km (129 mi).

1961 November 21 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus. LV Configuration: Nike Zeus-3.
  • PM-4 Dummy St 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 November 22 - . 00:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-22.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 November 22 - . 20:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 108D / Agena B 2202. FAILURE: Failure.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Samos 4 - . Payload: Samos E-5 no. 1. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1961-11-22 . COSPAR: F611122A. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi). Summary: First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite..

1961 November 22 - . 21:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 4F.
  • Research and development / Pod 3, 22 test / ionosphere / aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi).

1961 November 24 - .
  • Death of Friedrich Wilhelm Schwarz - . Nation: Germany; USA. Related Persons: Schwarz, Friedrich. Summary: German-American engineer in WW2, member of the Rocket Team in the United States thereafter. German expert in guided missiles during WW2. As of January 1947, working at Fort Bliss, Texas. Died at Phoenix, Arizona..

1961 November 24 - .
  • Bid Evaluation for Prime Contractor Completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Source Selection. Summary: Bid ratings: Martin 6.9; GD 6.6; North American 6.6; GE 6.4; McDonnell 6.4.

1961 November 24 - . LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Nike-Cajun rockets tests in Norway. - . Nation: USA. Summary: First four U.S. Nike-Cajun rockets arrived in Norway for use in research program off Andoeya Island early next year..

1961 November 25 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • - . Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 November 27 - .
  • Apollo spacecraft Statement of Work expanded - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; CSM Original Specification; CSM Source Selection. Summary: The original Apollo spacecraft Statement of Work of July 28 had been substantially expanded, including a single-engine service module propulsion system using Earth-storable, hypergolic propellants.. Additional details: here....

1961 November 28 - .
  • North American awarded Apollo prime contract - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Webb. Program: Apollo. Class: Moon. Type: Manned lunar spacecraft. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo Lunar Landing; CSM Source Selection. Despite an announcement at Martin on 27 November that they had won the Apollo program, the decision was reversed at the highest levels of the US government. NASA announced instead that the Space and Information Systems Division of North American Aviation, Inc., had been selected to design and build the Apollo spacecraft. The official line: 'the decision by NASA Administrator James E. Webb followed a comprehensive evaluation of five industry proposals by nearly 200 scientists and engineers representing both NASA and DOD. Webb had received the Source Evaluation Board findings on November 24. Although technical evaluations were very close, NAA had been selected on the basis of experience, technical competence, and cost'. NAA would be responsible for the design and development of the command module and service module. NASA expected that a separate contract for the lunar landing system would be awarded within the next six months. The MIT Instrumentation Laboratory had previously been assigned the development of the Apollo spacecraft guidance and navigation system. Both the NAA and MIT contracts would be under the direction of MSC.

1961 November 29 - .
  • Glenn selected for the first Mercury manned orbital flight. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glenn; Carpenter. Program: Mercury. Astronaut John Glenn was selected as the pilot for the first Mercury manned orbital flight, with Scott Carpenter as backup pilot. Immediately, training was started to ready these two astronauts for the mission. The five remaining astronauts concentrated their efforts on various engineering and operational groups of the Manned Spacecraft Center in preparation for the mission.

1961 November 29 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-5.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 November 29 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41?/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • State trials missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,210 km (750 mi).

1961 November 29 - . 15:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 93D.
  • Mercury MA-5 - . Payload: Mercury SC9. Mass: 1,300 kg (2,800 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. Decay Date: 1961-11-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 208 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Iota-1. Apogee: 237 km (147 mi). Perigee: 158 km (98 mi). Inclination: 32.6000 deg. Period: 88.30 min. Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5), the second and final orbital qualification of the spacecraft prior to manned flight was launched from Cape Canaveral with Enos, a 37.5 pound chimpanzee, aboard. Scheduled for three orbits, the spacecraft was returned to earth after two orbits due to the failure of a roll reaction jet and to the overheating of an inverter in the electrical system. Both of these difficulties could have been corrected had an astronaut been aboard. The spacecraft was recovered 255 miles southeast of Bermuda by the USS Stormes. During the flight, the chimpanzee performed psychomotor duties and upon recovery was found to be in excellent physical condition. The flight was termed highly successful and the Mercury spacecraft well qualified to support manned orbital flight.

1961 November 29 - . 23:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576B2. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 53D.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF SAC. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1961 November 30 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mercury Atlas launch vehicle 109-D delivered to Cape Canaveral - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Summary: Atlas launch vehicle 109-D was delivered to Cape Canaveral for the Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) first manned orbital mission..

1961 November 30 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus. LV Configuration: Nike Zeus-3.
  • First suc 3-stage - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 November 30 - . 17:10 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 NE3.123.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 238 km (147 mi).

1961 December 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral.
  • Roksonde first Cape Launch. - . Nation: USA. Two Roksonde meteorological sounding rockets were successfully fired from Cape Canaveral, telemetered measurements of winds and temperatures at altitudes above 180,000 feet. Produced by Marquardt for the Army, Roksondes had already completed a series of tests at White Sands Missile Range and Pacific Missile Range.

1961 December 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-23.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 December 1 - . 20:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 35E.
  • Research and development / Pod 23 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,600 km (900 mi).

1961 December 2 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant.
  • Black Brant launches from Wallops Island announced. - . Nation: Canada. Twelve Canadian Black Brant rockets for upper-atmosphere research were to be launched from NASA's Wallops Station, Virginia, as the Canadian Defence Research Board shifted the firing site from Fort Churchill because a fire largely destroyed the Canadian facilities. Capable of carrying a 150-pound payload to an altitude of 150 miles, Black Brants were to be fired from Wallops at the rate of two in December 1961, two in February 1962, six in April 1962, and two in May 1962.

1961 December 2 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC41/4. Launch Pad: LC41?/pad?. LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1961 December 4 - .
  • Project Apollo Statement of Work completed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM. The Project Apollo Statement of Work for development of the Apollo spacecraft was completed. A draft letter based on this Statement of Work was presented to NAA for review. A prenegotiation conference on the development of the Apollo spacecraft was held at Langley Field, Va.

1961 December 4 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout Jr. LV Configuration: Blue Scout Jr O-2.
  • Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 44,400 km (27,500 mi).

1961 December 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1X-51.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 December 5 - . 23:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark 2C. LV Configuration: Skylark-2C SL42.
  • RF probe / Solar X, SpE Ionosphere / solar x-rays mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE; RAE. Apogee: 226 km (140 mi).

1961 December 6 - .
  • Preliminary project plan for the Mercury Mark II program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Holmes, Brainard; Seamans. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini LOR. D. Brainerd Holmes, NASA Director of Manned Space Flight, outlined the preliminary project development plan for the Mercury Mark II program in a memorandum to NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The primary objective of the program was to develop rendezvous techniques; important secondary objectives were long-duration flights, controlled land recovery, and astronaut training. The development of rendezvous capability, Holmes stated, was essential:

    • It offered the possibility of accomplishing a manned lunar landing earlier than by direct ascent.
    • The lunar landing maneuver would require the development of rendezvous techniques regardless of the operational mode selected for the lunar mission.
    • Rendezvous and docking would be necessary to the Apollo orbiting laboratory missions planned for the 1965-1970 period.
    The plan was approved by Seamans on December 7. The Mercury Mark II program was renamed "Gemini" on January 3, 1962.

1961 December 6 - . Launch Site: Reggane. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C02.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 6 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. Launch Pad: Bacchus?. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C06.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 6 - . 01:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LE-8. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. LV Configuration: Thor DM-18A 214.
  • Combat training launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1961 December 6 - . 22:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter. LV Configuration: Jupiter IRBM CM-115.
  • CTL - . Nation: Italy. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). The third NATO operational control Combat Training Launch was fired from AMR at 1737 hours and 24 seconds EST to a prescribed range of 1,516 nm. The missile was well constrained to the intended flight path and within accuracy requirements of the Jupiter system. The missile impacted in the target area and all missions assigned to this test were successfully accomplished.

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Atlas; Titan.
  • NASA announced plans to develop a two-man Mercury capsule. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. In Houston, Director Robert R. Gilruth of Manned Spacecraft Center announced plans to develop a two-man Mercury capsule. Built by McDonnell, it would be similar in shape to the Mercury capsule but slightly larger and from two to three times heavier. Its booster would be a modified Titan II. A major program objective would be orbital rendezvous. The two-man spacecraft would be launched into orbit and would attempt to rendezvous with an Agena stage put into orbit by an Atlas. Total cost of 12 capsules plus boosters and other equipment was estimated at $500 million. The two-man flight program would begin in the 1963-1964 period with several unmanned ballistic flights to test overall booster-spacecraft compatibility and system engineering. Several manned orbital flights would follow. Besides rendezvous flybys of the target vehicle, actual docking missions would be attempted in final flights. The spacecraft would be capable of missions of a week or more to train pilots for future long-duration circumlunar and lunar landing flights. The Mercury astronauts would serve as pilots for the program, but additional crew members might be phased in during the latter portions of the program.

1961 December 7 - .
  • Mercury manned orbital flight postponed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Mercury. NASA postponed its projected manned orbital flight from December 1961 until early in 1962 because of minor problems with the cooling system and positioning devices in the Mercury capsule, Dr. Hugh Dryden, Deputy Administrator of NASA, said in a Baltimore interview. "You like to have a man go with everything just as near perfect as possible. This business is risky. You can't avoid this, but you can take all the precautions you know about."

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Two-man Mercury Mark II spacecraft announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. Plans for the development of a two-man Mercury spacecraft were announced by Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director. The two-man spacecraft, to be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, would be similar in shape to the Mercury spacecraft but slightly larger and two to three times heavier. Its booster rocket would be a modified Air Force Titan II, scheduled for flight test in early 1962. One of the major objectives in the program would be a test of orbital rendezvous, in which the two-man spacecraft would be launched into orbit by the Titan II and attempt to rendezvous with an Agena stage launched by an Atlas rocket. The total cost for a dozen two-man spacecraft plus boosters and other equipment was estimated at $500 million.

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • DOD/NASA coordination for Mercury Mark II - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: McNamara; Seamans; Webb. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and DOD Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering John H. Rubel recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb that detailed arrangements for support of the Mercury Mark II spacecraft and the Atlas-Agena vehicle used in rendezvous experiments be planned directly between NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight and the Air Force and other DOD organizations. NASA's primary responsibilities would be the overall management and direction for the Mercury Mark II/ Agena rendezvous development and experiments. The Air Force responsibilities would include acting as NASA contractor for the Titan II launch vehicle and for the Atlas-Agena vehicle to be used in rendezvous experiments. DOD's responsibilities would include assistance in the provision and selection of astronauts and the provision of launch, range, and recovery support, as required by NASA.

1961 December 7 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I RIFT.
  • Kiwi B-1A tests completed. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. Power run completed the test series on the Kiwi B-1A reactor system being conducted at the Nevada Test Site by AEC's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Fourth in a series of test reactors in the joint AEC-NASA nuclear rocket propulsion program, Kiwi B-1A was disassembled for examination at the conclusion of the test runs.

1961 December 7 - .
  • Plans for Gemini announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: Plans for the development of a 2-man Mercury spacecraft were announced by Robert R. Gilruth, Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center. On January 3, 1962, this program was designated Project Gemini..

1961 December 7 - . 21:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576B3. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 82D.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF SAC. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1961 December 7 - . 23:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AB3.344.
  • Sphere Aeronomy / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 234 km (145 mi).

1961 December 8 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Astrobee. Launch Vehicle: Astrobee 1500.
  • Project CAMBRIDGE Geodetic mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 2,190 km (1,360 mi).

1961 December 9 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C.
  • First test of UTC 1205 rocket motors. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: Solid-propellent rocket motor generating nearly 500,000 pounds of thrust was fired in a static test of 80-second duration by United Technology Corp. at Sunnyvale, Calif., under USAF contract..

1961 December 9 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. Launch Pad: Bacchus?. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C07.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 9 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Bacchus. Launch Pad: Bacchus?. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C08.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 9 - . Launch Site: Reggane. LV Family: Belier. Launch Vehicle: Centaure. LV Configuration: Centaure C05.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CNES. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 10 - . 17:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.76GE.
  • Auroral radiation Cosmic rays mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 132 km (82 mi).

1961 December 11 - . 09:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K. FAILURE: RO-7 engine of block E upper stage cutoff prematurely. Spacecraft liquidated by self destruct system APO in 407th second of flight. Debris landed 100 km north of Vilyuisk.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Zenit-2 11F61 s/n 1 - . Payload: Zenit-2 11F61 s/n 1. Mass: 4,610 kg (10,160 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Zenit-2. Decay Date: 1961-12-11 . COSPAR: F611211A. First attempted launch of Zenit photo-reconnaisance satellite. According to Kamanin, there was a problem with the third stage, and the capsule landed between Novosibirsk and Yakutsk, but could not be located. There was no information on the nature of the problem. Korolev stayed at Tyuratam, preparing for the next launch attempt.

1961 December 12 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 5F. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development / Pod 24 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 December 12 - . 20:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 325 / Agena B 1119.
  • Discoverer 36 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9029 / Agena B 1119. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1962-03-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 213 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Kappa-1. Apogee: 173 km (107 mi). Perigee: 131 km (81 mi). Inclination: 89.5000 deg. Period: 87.50 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Best mission to date..
  • Oscar 1 - . Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Oscar. Class: Communications. Type: Amateur radio communications satellite. Spacecraft: Oscar. Decay Date: 1962-01-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 214 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Kappa-2. Apogee: 474 km (294 mi). Perigee: 245 km (152 mi). Inclination: 81.2000 deg. Period: 91.80 min. The first Oscar Phase I amateur satellite was launched piggyback with Discover 36. A group of enthusiasts in California formed Project OSCAR and persuaded the United States Air Force to replace ballast on the Agena upper stage with the 4.5 kg OSCAR I package. The satellite was box shaped with a single monopole antenna and battery powered. The 140 mW transmitter onboard discharged its batteries after three weeks. 570 Amateurs in 28 countries reported receiving its simple 'HI-HI' morse code signals on the VHF 2 meter band (144.983 MHz) until January 1, 1962. The speed of the HI-HI message was controlled by a temperature sensor inside the spacecraft. OSCAR I re-entered the atmosphere January 31, 1962 after 312 revolutions. Additional details: here....

1961 December 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I AJ-23.
  • NTMP TV test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 December 13 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AB3.110.
  • Micrometorites Test / meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 246 km (152 mi).

1961 December 14 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft to be a test bed for more ambitious space programs. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Summary: Walter C. Williams told a University of Houston audience at Houston, Texas, that the Mercury spacecraft had served and would continue to serve as a test bed for developing orbital flight techniques and hardware for more ambitious space programs..

1961 December 14 - . 07:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 TB IIa.
  • Trailblazer IIa re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 157 km (97 mi). NASA fired a four-stage solid-fuel Trailblazer rocket from Wallops Station, Virginia, in the first of a series of reentry tests. Two stages boosted the rocket to 167 miles; then the other two drove the nose cone down through the atmosphere at 14,000 miles per hour.

1961 December 14 - . 10:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Vehicle: HAD. LV Configuration: HAD 103.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1961 December 14 - . 20:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • PM-5 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1961 December 14 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Nike Zeus. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus.
  • Hercules intercept - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1961 December 15 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Boeing named contractor for Saturn C-5 first stage (S-IC) - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. NASA announced that The Boeing Company had been selected for negotiations as a possible prime contractor for the first stage (S-IC) of the advanced Saturn launch vehicle. The S-IC stage, powered by five F-1 engines, would be 35 feet in diameter and about 140 feet high. The $300-million contract, to run through 1966, called for the development, construction, and testing of 24 flight stages and one ground test stage. The booster would be assembled at the NASA Michoud Operations Plant near New Orleans, La., under the direction of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

1961 December 15 - .
  • McDonnell given letter contract for Gemini - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Summary: McDonnell given letter contract for development of Gemini..

1961 December 15 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 1. LV Configuration: Titan I M-6.
  • Mk 4 re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 December 15 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 1008.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Summary: Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 82 m..

1961 December 15 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. LV Configuration: Aerobee 150 AB3.140.
  • HR Solar Spectra Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 169 km (105 mi).

1961 December 18 - .
  • OKB-10 made an independent design bureau. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On establishment of the independent OKB-10 at Krasnoyarsk-26 on the basis of OKB-1's Branch No. 2' was issued..

1961 December 18 - . 13:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC31B. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. LV Configuration: Minuteman 1A 406.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,300 km (800 mi).

1961 December 19 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-A-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • X-15A aborted launch. - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1961 December 20 - .
  • International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Summary: The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted Resolution 1721 (XIV) on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space..

1961 December 20 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Douglas named contractor for Saturn S-IVB stage - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. NASA announced that Douglas Aircraft had been selected for negotiation of a contract to modify the Saturn S-IV stage by installing a single 200,000-pound-thrust, Rocketdyne J-2 liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine instead of six 15,000-pound-thrust P. & W. hydrogen/oxygen engines. Known as S-IVB, this modified stage will be used in advanced Saturn configurations for manned circumlunar Apollo missions.

1961 December 20 - . 03:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 36E.
  • Research and development/Pod Test/Chemical release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1961 December 20 - . 22:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Silver Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 35.3 N x 116.1 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-1-2.
  • X-15A MH-96 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi). Summary: First flight for X-15 # 3. Maximum Speed - 4026 kph. Maximum Altitude - 24700 m..

1961 December 21 - . LV Family: Nova; Saturn V.
  • Saturn C-5 launch vehicle configuration selected - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun; Rosen, Milton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo Lunar Landing. Rosen Committee studies in November and December indicated that the most flexible choice for Apollo was the Saturn C-4, with two required for the earth orbit rendezvous approach or one for the lunar orbit rendezvous mission, with a smaller landed payload. The panel rejected solid motors again, but Rosen himself still pushed for Nova. An extra F-1 engine was 'slid in' for insurance, resulting in the Saturn C-5 configuration. The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided at its first meeting that the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle would have a first stage configuration of five F-1 engines and a second stage configuration of five J-2 engines. The third stage would be the S-IVB with one J-2 engine. It recommended that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-1 be Chrysler Corporation and that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-5 be The Boeing Company. Contractor work on the Saturn C-5 should proceed immediately to provide a complete design study and a detailed development plan before letting final contracts and assigning large numbers of contractor personnel to Marshall Space Flight Center or Michoud.

1961 December 21 - . 03:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 6F. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development test / Pod 15, 25 chemical release / ionosphere / meteorite mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 December 21 - . 12:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar Mayak-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 63S1. FAILURE: Second stage failed 354 seconds after launch.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • DS-1 s/n 1 - . Payload: DS-1. Mass: 300 kg (660 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: DS. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: DS-1. COSPAR: F611221A. Second attempted launch of Cosmos 63S1 small launch vehicle 2LK with a DS-1 satgellite. This time the new second stage failed. The oxidiser was exhausted before orbital velocity could be reached due to uncontrolled pumping of liquid oxygen into the combustion chamber. The upper stage and satellite impacted in the Kurile Islands. An Expert Commission headed by Ustinov was convened to review the program.

1961 December 21 - . 19:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun NASA 10.64GA.
  • Structure Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 132 km (82 mi).

1961 December 22 - .
  • Birth of Yuri Ivanovich Malenchenko - . Nation: Ukraine. Summary: Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-16, STS-106, ISS EO-7, ISS EO-16. Call sign: Agat (Agate). 514 cumulative days in space..

1961 December 22 - . 04:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300A. LV Configuration: Aerobee 300A NASA 06.05UI.
  • UM Ionospheric Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 365 km (226 mi).

1961 December 22 - . 19:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 114D / Agena B 2203.
  • Samos 5 - . Payload: Samos E-5 no. 2. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-01-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 218 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Lambda-2. Apogee: 310 km (190 mi). Perigee: 187 km (116 mi). Inclination: 89.6000 deg. Period: 89.40 min. First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite. Reached orbit but failed to deorbit and be recovered. In his memoirs Sergei Khrushchev recounts recovery of what he believed to be a recoverable Samos, except the date given is the winter before tests of this configuration actually started. He relates that a second American capsule was recovered in the spring of 1961. It was equipped with a 30 cm lens and 100’s of metres of 10 cm wide film. Also recovered were a pear-shaped module made of fibreglass, and an inertial orientation system powered by electric motors. It may have been a SAMOS prototype. The capsule was found by tractor drivers, who disassembled it and used the film to wrap around the frame of their outhouse to provide some privacy in the treeless area. Unfortunately this ruined the film, preventing the Russians from developing it and discovering the technical capabilities of the system.

1961 December 23 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • - . Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1961 December 25 - .
  • New cosmonauts to be recruited. - . Nation: USSR. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 3; Vostok 4. The leadership has approved Kamanin's plan for the selection in the next year of 60 new cosmonaut trainees, including five women. Kamanin expects to see some of the women in orbit by the second half of 1962. DOSAAF has submitted 40 to 50 potential female candidates, selected from their files. Meanwhile, Titov is set to tour Indonesia in January. The Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 group flight is planned for March 1962.

1961 December 26 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Dynasoar suborbital tests deleted from program. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Development time schedule for Dyna-Soar was reduced when DOD authorized the USAF to move directly from B-52 drop tests to unmanned and then manned orbital flights. This eliminated the previous interim stage of suborbital flights to be powered by the Titan II. This required renegotiation of the development contract held by the Martin Co. and negotiating of a new contract for a larger booster.

1961 December 26 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Manned Spacecraft Center directed Air Force Space Systems Division to authorize contractors to begin the work necessary to use the Titan II in the Mercury Mark II program. - . Nation: USA. Summary: On December 27, Martin-Baltimore received a go-ahead on the launch vehicle from the Air Force. A letter contract for 15 Gemini launch vehicles and associated aerospace ground equipment followed on January 19, 1962..

1961 December 26 - . 05:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 9L. LV Configuration: Kappa 9L K-9L-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 343 km (213 mi).

1961 December 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar PL1. LV Family: Kosmos 2. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • MP-1 - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 405 km (251 mi).

1961 December 28 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C.
  • USAF announces Titan III for Dynasoar - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Summary: With continued weight growth USAF announces Titan III to be developed for Dynasoar orbital missions..

1961 December 28 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2.
  • Titan 2 first ground test. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Gemini. Titan II, an advanced ICBM and the booster designated for NASA's two-man orbital flights, was successfully captive-fired for the first time at the Martin Co.'s Denver facilities. The test not only tested the flight vehicle but the checkout and launch equipment intended for operational use.

1961 December 29 - .
  • Shea made Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea; Rudolph. The appointments of Dr. Joseph F. Shea as Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters, and Dr. Arthur Rudolph as Assistant Director of Systems Engineering was announced. Dr. Rudolph would serve as liaison between vehicle development at Marshall Space Flight Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

1961 December 30 - .
  • Second group of cosmonauts selected. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 10119 'On selection of sixty new cosmonauts. including five women' was issued..

1961 December 31 - .
  • Personnel strength of the Manned Spacecraft Center was 1,152. - . Nation: USA.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use