Air Force Space Systems Division awarded a letter contract to Aerojet-General Corporation, Azusa, California, for the research, development, and procurement of 15 propulsion systems for the Gemini launch vehicle. It also included the design and development of the related aerospace ground equipment. Aerojet had been authorized to go ahead with work on the engines on February 14, 1962, and the final engine was scheduled for delivery by April 1965.
First DF-2 launch attempt. The rocket impacted the earth after only 69 seconds of flight. Fundamental design errors were discovered in calculating flexing of the rocket in flight, placement of the guidance system, and engine mounting. The missile was completely redesigned for reduced thrust.
Vostok flight plans were drastically curtailed at a meeting of the Presidium of the Communist Party. Korolev presented the plan for 1963 as approved by the Interorganizational Soviet at the beginning of the year. This plan, already in an advanced stage of execution, was rejected utterly by Kozlov and Vershinin. The Ministry of Defence announced its categorical opposition to further Vostok production. It was finally decided that there would be only two flights in 1963 using existing spacecraft. These were scheduled for June and would consist of simultaneous female and male flights. Kamanin was infuriated that although he was ordered by a leadership decree in December 1961 to train five women for spaceflight, the same leadership was now asking - Who ordered this? What was the purpose? Are we sure they're ready?
The expert commission report on Soyuz is reviewed by the Chief Designers from 10:00 to 14:00. The primary objective of the Soyuz project is to develop the technology for docking in orbit. This will allow the spacecraft to make flights of many months duration and allow manned flyby of the moon. Using docking of 70 tonne components launched by the N1 booster will allow manned flight to the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Keldysh, Chelomei and Glushko all support the main objective of Soyuz, to obtain and perfect docking technology. But Chelomei and Glushko warn of the unknowns of the project. Korolev agrees with the assessment that not all the components of the system - the 7K, 9K, and 11K spacecraft - will fly by the end of 1964. But he does argue that the first 7K will fly in 1964, and the first manned 7K flight will come in 1965.
By the next morning, two clearing suitable for helicopter operations have been cleared - a small zone 1.7 km from the capsule, and a larger zone 5 km from the capsule. At 6:50 the cosmonauts and their rescuers - seven in all - ski away from the capsule, reaching the small zone at 8:06. They are picked up there by an Mi-4 helicopter and flown to the large zone, arriving their 20 minutes later. From there a larger Mi-6 helicopter flies them at 9:50 to the airport at Perm. They were to depart aboard an An-10 from Perm at 11:00 for Tyuratam, but their departure is delayed by an hour as they talk on the telephone with Brezhnev. Afterwards toasts are raised at Area 10 at Baikonur by the Chief Designers and Keldysh. Korolev calls for them all to push together toward reaching the moon. The cosmonauts finally arrive at the cosmodrome at 17:30 and are driven through cheering crowds in Zvezdograd. In the hall of the hotel they give the first account of their mission.
Ranger 9, last of the series, returned 5814 images before lunar impact. The target was Alphonsus, a large crater about 12 degrees south of the lunar equator. The probe was timed to arrive when lighting conditions would be at their best. The Atlas- Agena B booster injected the Agena and Ranger 9 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude. A 90 second Agena 2nd burn put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory. This was followed by the separation of the Agena and Ranger. The initial trajectory was highly accurate; uncorrected, the craft would have landed only 650 km north of Alphonsus. 70 minutes after launch the command was given to deploy solar panels, activate attitude control, and switch from the omni-directional antenna to the high-gain antenna. The accuracy of the initial trajectory enabled delay of the planned mid-course correction from 22 March to 23 March when the manoeuvre was initiated at 12:03 GMT. After orientation, a 31 second rocket burn at 12:30 GMT, and reorientation, the manoeuvre was completed at 13:30 GMT. Ranger 9 reached the Moon on 24 March 1965. At 13:31 GMT a terminal manoeuvre was executed to orient the spacecraft so the cameras were more in line with the flight direction to improve the resolution of the pictures. Twenty minutes before impact the one-minute camera system warm-up began. The first image was taken at 13:49:41 at an altitude of 2363 km. Transmission of 5,814 good contrast photographs was made during the final 19 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.3 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 15.6 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.5 hours of flight, impact occurred at 14:08:19.994 GMT at approximately 12.83 S latitude, 357.63 E longitude in the crater Alphonsus. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. Millions of Americans followed the spacecraft's descent via real time television coverage provided to the three networks of many of the F-channel images (primarily camera B but also some camera A pictures) were provided for this flight.
The pictures showed the rim and floor of the crater in fine detail: in those just prior to impact, objects less than a foot in size were discernible.
A panel of scientists presented some preliminary conclusions from Ranger IX at a press conference that same afternoon. Crater rims and ridges inside the walls, they believed, were harder and smoother than the moon's dusty plains, and therefore were considered likely sites for future manned landings. Generally, the panel was dubious about landing on crater floors however. Apparently, the floors were solidified volcanic material incapable of supporting a spacecraft. Investigators believed several types of craters were seen that were of nonmeteoric origin. These findings reinforced arguments that the moon at one time had experienced volcanic activity. Later the images were shown to the press as a continuous-motion movie, leading astronaut Wally Schirra to yell 'bail out you fool!' just before the final frame.
House Committee recommended combining NASA's Apollo Applications Program with the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory. A report by the Military Operations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations recommended combining NASA's Apollo Applications Program with the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory. 'Inasmuch as both programs are still research and development projects without definitive operational missions,' stated the Committee's report, 'there is reason to expect that with earnest efforts both agencies could get together on a joint program incorporating both unique and similar experiments of each agency.'
The lunar landing research vehicle was operating and training was being conducted, MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth wrote Langley Research Center's Acting Director Charles J. Donlan. MSC intended to conduct a second class for LLRV pilots and one of the first requirements for checkout was a familiarization program on Langley's Lunar Landing Research Facility. He requested that a program be conducted for not less than four nor more than six MSC pilots between April 15 and May 15.
Due to problems with the electrical system aboard the station, the crews are unable to start their training aboard the actual station until 22:00. So after breakfast they work on their flight plans and logs and test the training suits to be used on this flight for the first time. This includes the Penguin suit which has elastic bands sewn into it to simulate the strain of gravity. At 17:00 the crews go to the MIK and start communications tests on the DOS. All proceeds normally. On the bus back, the crews discuss the new tracking ship Yuri Gagarin. It has a displacement of 45,000 tonnes and cost 120 million roubles. It will expand the time communications are possible with the ground during the long station flight.
SAMSO awarded the Harris Corporation a $10.3 million contract to develop a Satellite Data Handling System for the DMSP program. The system would be installed at the Air Force Global Weather Central at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and would allow forecasters to analyze and distribute weather data obtained from DMSP satellites.
This was to be the first 20 second Energia main engine firing test. It was terminated at 2.58 seconds when the automatic control system detected a slow spool up of an engine turbine. In a the first attempt at a full-duration test helium leaks contaminated electro-hydraulic systems, leading to a situation where the tanks could not be drained. An engineering brigade had to work on the fuelled booster for 55 minutes, attach another helium tank, which led to successful de-fuelling of the vehicle.
Gradually the passes of Mir for our area shifted to the night hours, but nevertheless a lot of radio traffic could be monitored since the last Mir-report. This traffic revealed that the only system for the production of oxygen is the solid fuel oxygen generator. The crew co-ordinates the use of the so called 'shashki' (disks) with TsUP and daily abt 3 of those 'cartridges' are 'burnt'. In the beginning they still tried to activate the only operational Elektron to generate oxygen from 'technical' water, but possibly the gas-analysers reported that the quality of the production did not reach the desired standards and they had to stop these attempts. They seem to have enough 'shashki' until the arrival of new supplies but they cannot use all available cartridges. They got orders to refrain from the use of those produced in the years after the decay of the Soviet Union.
Progress-M34: The launch of this badly needed freighter is on schedule for 6.04.1997. It is not sure whether or not spare parts (filters a.s.o.) are ready before that launch. The Progress-M34 will also have to deliver a new Antares transmitter for communications via the now only available Altair (nr. 2) satellite.
Communications: The present position of Altair-2 is over 94 degrees East. For docking operations of Soyuz-TM ships and shuttles, but also for the communications during EVA-s and the morale of the crew a position more to West, for instance in the slot of Altair-1 (Cosmos-2054) would be more suitable.
Movements control: On 19.03.1997 during the pass in orbit 63298, Tsibliyev reported a malfunction of an Omega angular rate sensor. At 0448 UTC the SUD (movements control system) showed a failure and the complex came in an inexplicable rotation. Apart from one the gyrodynes were still working, but obviously unable to correct the stations attitude. During the next pass (in orb. 63300, 0856-0906 UTC) the crew got orders to shut down the gyrodynes. The station came in a so called free drift and from there the attitude had to be corrected by steering jets. These events caused a decrease of electrical power due to bad orientation of the solar batteries towards the sun. So for some hours the crew had to restrain power consumption. Next day's radio traffic revealed that the situation was almost under control. The crew worked hard to make another Omega sensor operational and doing so they met a lot of problems with the deployment of cables.
Jerry Linnenger: In contradiction to the beginning of his mission contacts of Jerry with the American consultative group at TsUP Moscow could not be monitored for some weeks.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
"China will actively participate in deep space exploration during the 21st century," said Mr Yuan Jiajun, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology. China also planned to launch two astrophysical satellites into low earth orbit, one in equatorial orbit and another in polar orbit.
A replacement for Asiasat 3, placed in the wrong orbit by a Proton launch in 1997, Asiasat 3S carried C and Ku band transponders. The Blok DM3 upper stage placed it a 9,677 km x 35,967 km x 13.1 deg geosynchronous transfer orbit. Asiasat's on-board R4D apogee engine was to be used to raise perigee to geostationary altitude. Mass in transfer orbit was 3,463 kg, down to 2,500 kg after insertion in geostationary orbit. Operated in geosynchronous orbit at 105 deg E from 1999. As of 4 September 2001 located at 105.52 deg E drifting at 0.008 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 105.46E drifting at 0.017W degrees per day.
Direct Radio Broadcasting satelllite. First night launch of Ariane 5. Worldspace's second digital radio satellite. Joined Afristar in orbit with a mission of providing radio broadcasting to the developing world. Stationed at 105 deg E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 105 deg E in 2000. As of 4 September 2001 located at 104.96 deg E drifting at 0.015 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 104.99E drifting at 0.012W degrees per day.
Replaced the lost Insat 2D and carried a pure telecommunications payload of C, Ku and S band transponders. Stationed at 83 deg E. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 73 deg E in 2000. As of 5 September 2001 located at 83.07 deg E drifting at 0.014 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 82.94E drifting at 0.012W degrees per day.
The Japan Meteorological Agency launched the 1119th MT-135P meteorological sounding rocket from the meteorological observation station in Sanriku-cho, Iwate-ken. This was the final launch of the type. The MT-135P had served for more than thirty years gathering meteorological data in the upper atmosphere since the first launching on July 15, 1970. IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd. has been responsible for design, development and manufacture of the MT-135P.
ISS Servicing mission. Launch delayed from February 15 and 28. The Progress M1-8 resupply spacecraft was flown on ISS mission 7P. It docked with the Zvezda module on the Station at 2058 UTC on March 24. Progress M1-8 undocked from the Zvezda module at 0826 UTC on June 25. The deorbit burn was at 1135 UTC, lowering its orbit from 379 x 398 km x 51.6 deg to 50 x 398 km. The spacecraft reentered over the Pacific at 1213 UTC with debris impact near 46 S 144 W.
An oscillation appeared in the upper stage control system 90 seconds into the burn. This instability grew and after 30 seconds induced a roll torque that exceeded the control capability of the second stage roll control thrusters. The propellants were centrifuged away from the outlets, causing flame-out of the Kestrel engine. LOX slosh was believed to be the primary contributor to this instability. Second stage slosh baffles would be included in future boosters to prevent reoccurence of the problem.