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GordonD

Ups and Downs for March

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1 MARCH

 

2002 STS-109 launch

Crew: Scott Altman (CDR); Duane Carey (P); John Grunsfeld, Nancy Jane Currie, Richard Linnehan, James Newman, Mike Massimino (MS)

 

108th Shuttle mission; 27th flight of Columbia (last successful one)

This was the fourth Hubble servicing mission, confusingly designated SM-3B as NASA decided to split the tasks intended for the third flight into two. SM-3A had been flown by STS-103 in December 1999 and had to deal with four failed gyroscopes, relegating some of the science-related upgrades to this later mission. Five EVAs were conducted on STS-109: the first, by Grunsfeld and Linnehan on 4 March, installed a new starboard solar array plus other servicing tasks, and lasted 7h 1m. The second EVA was carried out by Newman and Massimino on 5 March during which the new port solar array was fitted and one of the telescope's Reaction Wheel Assemblies replaced. Duration was 7h 16m. On 6 March Grunsfeld and Linnehan performed a 6h 48m EVA which replaced the main Power Control Unit. The fourth EVA, by Newman and Massimino, was on 7 March and lasted 7h 30m. The Faint Object Camera was replaced by the Advanced Camera for Surveys, a new instrument with ten times the capability. Finally on 8th March Grunsfeld and Linnehan completed the servicing tasks by installing an experimental cooling system in an EVA lasting 7h 20m. Individual totals for the mission were: Grunsfeld and Linnehan, 21h 9m; Newman and Massimino, 14h 46m. The overall total was 35h 55m, a new record for a single Shuttle mission.

 

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2 MARCH

 

1977 Space Shuttle Orbiter/SCA Flight CI-5

 

The intent of the final Captive-Inactive flight was to simulate fully two separate Orbiter release profiles at different altitudes. For the first, the 747 carrier climbed to a height of some 8,700m then pitched down to an angle of 5.7°, increasing airspeed to 280 knots. The engines were throttled back to idle and spoilers extended: the aircraft’s crew then ran through their side of the pre-separation countdown, stopping a few seconds before the explosive bolts would have been triggered to release the Orbiter. At this point the engines were throttled up again and the aircraft climbed back to 9,140m to repeat the process. Both of the release simulations were completed as planned and the aircraft flew back to Edwards AFB. At landing, full-power braking was once again employed to bring the combination to a stop compatible with the runway at Marshall. Phase One of the Air-Launched Test programme was now complete.

 

 


1978 Soyuz 28 launch

Crew: Aleksei Gubarev (CDR); Vladimir Remek [Czechoslovakia] (RC)

 

Soyuz 28 was significant because it was the first Interkosmos mission, with Remek becoming the first non-Soviet/non-US person in space. Docking with Salyut 6 was achieved on the second day, where the cosmonauts were greeted by the first resident crew Grechko and Romanenko.

 

 


1995 STS-67 launch

Crew: Stephen Oswald (CDR); William Gregory (P); John Grunsfeld, Wendy Lawrence, Tamara Jernigan (MS); Samuel Durrance, Ron Parise (PS)

 

68th Shuttle mission; 8th flight of Endeavour

Primary payload was the ASTRO-2 observatory, a package of three instruments consisting of the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope and the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment. Operations were conducted around the clock, with the Red Team consisting of Oswald, Gregory, Grunsfeld and Parise, with Lawrence, Jernigan and Durrance as the Blue Team. This was the second flight of the ASTRO package, following up on discoveries made on its first outing on STS-35 in December 1990.

 

 


1997 Soyuz TM-24 landing

Crew: Valeri Korzun (CDR); Aleksandr Kaleri (FE); Reinhold Ewald [Germany] (RC)

Landing site: 47° 49' N, 69° 24' E

 

Korzun and Kaleri had been Mir Expedition 22, launched the previous August; they had been in space for 196d 17h 26m and flew 3,113 orbits. With them at launch had been Claudie André-Deshays but she had landed aboard Soyuz TM-23 with the Expedition 21 crew after fifteen days. The third seat now was occupied by Ewald, who had arrived with the new Expedition 23 crew in February. His flight time was 19d 16h 35m and 311 orbits.

 

 


2016 Soyuz TMA-18M landing

Crew: Sergei Volkov (CDR); Mikhail Korniyenko, Scott Kelly [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 47°20'38,34"N, 69°41'56,28"E

 

Of the three men aboard Soyuz 18M on landing, only Volkov had been launched in it, with a truly international crew consisting of Andreas Mogensen from Denmark and Aydyn Aimbetov of Kazakhstan, both of whom had spent ten days in space before returning on Soyuz TM-16M. Volkov, in contrast, had been in space for 181d 23h 48m and 2,833 orbits, but even this was surpassed by Korniyenko and Kelly, who were ending the 'Year in Space' flight. They had been launched at the end of the previous March (aboard Soyuz TM-16M) and despite the mission name had actually been in orbit for a little less than a calendar year, 340d 8h 43m and 5,356 orbits. This remains the duration record for a single flight by an American astronaut.

 

 


2019 Crew Dragon Demo launch

Crew: none

 

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, American astronauts have had to rely on Soyuz capsules to get them to and from the ISS. However two separate commercial manned spacecraft are in development: Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon. SpaceX was ready to fly first, with an unmanned launch intended to dock with the ISS. Lift-off was successful and at the time of writing the capsule is en route to the station. Depending on the outcome astronauts may fly it into space later this year.

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3 MARCH

 

1969 Apollo 9 launch

Crew: Jim McDivitt (CDR); Rusty Schweickart (LMP); Dave Scott (CMP)

 

CSM: Gumdrop; LM: Spider

Apollo 9 saw the first manned flight of the Lunar Module, meaning that the complete Apollo spacecraft at last came together, albeit nowhere near the Moon. This first crucial test was conducted in Earth orbit but was no less risky for that, Three hours after launch the first Transposition & Docking manoeuvre was carried out, with the CSM separating, turning round and linking up with the LM atop the third stage before extracting it to fly free as would become familiar on the lunar missions. An EVA by Schweickart on 5 March was postponed because the astronaut was suffering from space sickness but a curtailed version took place the following day, when he demonstrated the space suit that would be used on the lunar surface. At the same time Dave Scott opened the Command Module hatch and performed a Stand-Up EVA, with his lower body remaining inside the spacecraft. Both EVAs lasted 46m.

 

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4 MARCH

 

1990 STS-36 landing

Crew: John Creighton (CDR); John Casper (P); Mike Mullane, Dave Hilmers, Pierre Thuot (MS)

Landing site: Edwards AFB

 

This had been a classified DoD mission during which a reconnaissance satellite was deployed but little else is known. Flight time was 4d 10h 18m; 72 orbits.

 

 


1994 STS-62 launch

Crew: John Casper (CDR); Andy Allen (P); Pierre Thuot, Sam Gemar, Marsha Ivins (MS)

 

61st Shuttle mission; 16th flight of Columbia

Making its second flight was the United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-2), consisting of five experiments: the Advanced Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (AADSF) studied the directional solidification of semiconductor materials in microgravity. The Critical Fluid Light Scattering Experiment (also called Zeno) measured the fluctuations of the density of xenon very near its liquid/vapour "critical point" (a condition of temperature and pressure where a fluid is simultaneously a gas and a liquid with the same density). The Isothermal Dendritic Growth Experiment (IDGE) was designed to test theories concerning the effect of gravity-driven fluid flows on dendritic solidification of molten materials. Materials for the Study of Interesting Phenomena of Solidification on Earth and in Orbit (MEPHISTO) used several simultaneous measurement techniques in reduced gravity to investigate the precise nature of solidification. The objective of the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) was to measure the components of the microgravity environment on the USMP carrier in support of the major experiments and to provide data for orbiter dynamic analysis studies.

 

 

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5 MARCH

 

1979 Voyager 1 Jupiter flyby

 

The Voyager 1 probe, launched 5 September 1977, made its closest approach to Jupiter, passing the planet at a distance of 349,000km from its centre. Though it had been photographing Jupiter since January, the most intensive period of study took place during the 48-hour period around the actual flyby. The major satellites were also examined, with the biggest surprise being the discovery of active volcanoes on Io. Voyager's trajectory was altered by Jupiter's gravity, as planned, setting the probe on course for its next encounter - with Saturn in November the following year.

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6 MARCH

 

1986 Vega 1 Halley's Comet encounter

 

Vega 1 was one of two Soviet probes which carried out dual missions: a flyby of Venus, during which a descent module was deployed, followed by a close pass of Halley's Comet. The name VeGa (ВеГа) combines the first two letters of the Russian words for Venus (Венера: "Venera") and Halley (Галлея: "Galleya"). Vega 1 was launched on 15 December 1984 and jettisoned the Venus probe on 9 July 1985. It then used the planet's gravity to redirect its course towards the comet. Images started to be returned on 4 March 1986, and were used to help pinpoint the ESA's Giotto probe's close flyby of the comet. The early images from Vega showed two bright areas, which were initially interpreted as a double nucleus. The bright areas would later turn out to be two jets emitting from the comet. The images also showed the nucleus to be dark, and the infrared spectrometer readings measured a nucleus temperature of 300 K to 400 K, much warmer than expected for an ice body. The conclusion was that the comet had a thin layer on its surface covering an icy body. Vega 1 made its closest approach at 07:20:06 UT on 6 March at around 8,889km from the nucleus. It took more than 500 pictures via different filters as it flew through the gas cloud around the coma. Although the spacecraft was battered by dust, none of the instruments were disabled during the encounter. Vega 1 ran out of attitude control propellant on 30 January 1987 and is now in heliocentric orbit.

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7 MARCH

 

1969 Apollo 9 LM test flight

Crew: Jim McDivitt (CDR); Rusty Schweickart (LMP)

 

LM: Spider

On Day Five of the Apollo 9 mission McDivitt and Schweickart carried out one of the most hazardous tests in spaceflight history when they undocked the Lunar Module and pulled away to a distance of 5.5km. It was the first time that astronauts had flown a spacecraft that was unable to re-enter the atmosphere: to get back to Earth they simply had to return to the CSM. During a six-and-a-half-hour flight, Spider reached a maximum distance of 183.5km. The final test was to simulate lift-off from the lunar surface, when the Descent Stage was jettisoned and the Ascent Stage engine fired. After that it was plain sailing and soon the vital rendezvous and docking took place. All the pieces were now in place for the lunar landing with only the final dress-rehearsal of Apollo 10 standing in the way.

 

Apollo 9 was the first US flight since the Mercury days where the astronauts were allowed to name their spacecraft. This practice was allegedly stopped when Gus Grissom, whose Liberty Bell 7 capsule sank after splashdown, wanted to christen his Gemini 3 spacecraft Molly Brown, after the eponymous star of the Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, featuring a larger-than-life survivor of the Titanic. However with the CSM and the LM flying independently it was not practical to address both craft as 'Apollo 9' so the crew chose their callsigns: Spider, because of the LM's resemblance to an arachnid, and Gumdrop, because when the spacecraft arrived at Kennedy in its protective wrapping the astronauts thought it looked like a boiled sweet. NASA's Public Affairs Office may not have been entirely happy with their choices and later callsigns would be less frivolous!

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8 MARCH

 

1959 Mercury Beach Abort 1

 

The first flight of the Mercury programme was a simulation of a launch escape prior to lift-off, using a boilerplate spacecraft and a Recruit solid rocket motor. For the first sixty seconds the flight was stable but then the capsule started to tumble, turning end over end three times before making a perfect splashdown. Post-flight analysis showed that one of the three exhaust nozzles had burned through and the graphite throat was redesigned.

 

 


2001 STS-102 launch

Crew: James Wetherbee (CDR); James Kelly (P); Andrew Thomas, Paul Richards (MS); James Voss, Susan Helms, Yuri Usachyov [Russia] (ISS Expedition 2)

 

103rd Shuttle mission; 29th flight of Discovery

The primary objective of STS-102 was to carry out the first crew exchange of the International Space Station. The Expedition 2 crew were delivered and when Discovery returned to Earth it would bring down the Expedition 1 team, who had been aboard since November. Equipment and supplies were also delivered and this mission saw the first flight of the Italian-built Leonardo module, which was temporarily berthed to the ISS to provide additional workspace but which would be brought back to Earth at the end. Two EVAs were carried out: the first, on 11 March, by Voss and Helms set a new duration record of 8h 55m. They moved the Pressurised Mating Adapter to a new location ready for berthing Leonardo, and carried out numerous other maintenance and assembly tasks. The second EVA, on 13 March, was by Richards and Thomas and lasted 6h 21m, during which power cables were hooked up and a flow control system pumping coolant ammonia around the station's exterior installed.

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9 MARCH

 

1996 STS-75 landing

Crew: Andy Allen (CDR); Scott Horowitz (P); Jeffrey Hoffman, Maurizio Cheli [Italy], Claude Nicollier [Switzerland], Franklin Chang-Diaz (MS);

Umberto Guidoni [Italy] (PS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center

 

Flight time was 15d 17h 40m; 251 orbits

 

 

 

2011 STS-133 landing

Crew: Steven Lindsey (CDR); Eric Boe (P); Alvin Drew, Stephen Bowen, Michael Barratt, Nicole Stott (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center

 

Flight time 12d 19h 4m; 202 orbits. With the end of this mission Discovery was retired.

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10 MARCH

 

1978 Soyuz 28 landing

Crew: Aleksei Gubarev (CDR); Vladimir Remek [Czechoslovakia] (RC)

Landing site: 135 km N of Arkalyk

 

First Interkosmos mission; visited Salyut 6 during Expedition 1. Remek became the first non-Soviet/non US man in space. Flight time 7d 22h 16m; 125 orbits.

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11 MARCH

 

2008 STS-123 launch

Crew: Dominic Gorie (CDR); Greg H. Johnson (P); Robert Behnken, Michael Foreman, Takao Doi [Japan]; Richard Linnehan; Garrett Reisman (MS)

 

122nd Shuttle mission; 21st flight of Endeavour

Docked with the ISS where Expedition 16 was in progress. The first component of the Japanese section of the station was delivered: the Kibo Module. Also carried was the Canadian-built Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which would assist in operating the Canadarm 2 already installed. After docking the Orbiter began drawing power from the ISS, the first time this had been fully utilised. This allowed longer stays and this mission would set a record for the Shuttle's longest period docked to the station. A partial crew exchange would be carried out: Reisman would remain aboard the ISS when the Shuttle departed; his seat aboard Endeavour would be occupied by Léopold Eyharts.

 

 


2014 Soyuz TMA-10M landing

Crew: Oleg Kotov (CDR); Sergei Ryazansky, Michael Hopkins [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 47°20'22,215"N , 69°38'12,902"E (153 km SE of Dzheskasgan)

 

ISS Expeditions 37/38. Flight time was 166d 6h 25m; 2,580 orbits

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12 MARCH

 

1981 Soyuz T-4 launch

Crew: Vladimir Kovalyonok (CDR); Viktor Savinykh (FE)

 

Salyut 6 Expedition 5. This would be the final resident crew to occupy the highly successful space station. Planned mission time was just over two months.

 

 


2002 STS-109 landing

Crew: Scott Altman (CDR); Duane Carey (P); John Grunsfeld, Nancy Jane Currie, Richard Linnehan, James Newman, Mike Massimino (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center

 

Fourth Hubble servicing mission. Flight time 10d 22h 10m; 165 orbits.

 

 


2015 Soyuz TMA-14M landing

Crew: Aleksandr Samokutyayev (CDR); Yelena Serova, Barry Wilmore [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 47°21'07,98"N, 69°32'04,02"E (145 km southeast of Dzheskasgan)

 

ISS Expeditions 41/42. Flight time 167d 5h 43m, 2,599 orbits. Serova was only the fourth female Soviet/Russian cosmonaut to fly.

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13 MARCH

 

1969 Apollo 9 splashdown

Crew: Jim McDivitt (CDR); Rusty Schweickart (LMP); Dave Scott (CMP)

Landing site: 23° 12.5' N, 67° 56' W (290km east of the Bahamas)

 

After the successful test of the Lunar Module, Apollo 9 remained in orbit conducting scientific work including Earth observation studies. At the very end of the mission bad weather in the recovery area caused NASA to extend the flight by one orbit but eventually the crew splashed down safely in the Atlantic (the last manned capsule to do so) and were recovered by the USS Guadalcanal.

 

 


1986 Soyuz T-15 launch

Crew: Leonid Kizim (CDR); Vladimir Solovyov (FE)

 

Two days after launch Soyuz T-15 docked with the new Mir station and Kizim and Solovyov became its first resident crew. After less than two months, however, they undocked but instead of returning to Earth they rendezvoused and docked with Salyut 7, the first time a spacecraft had transferred between two space stations. They spent seven weeks aboard Salyut before repeating the transfer in reverse, docking with Mir for the second time on 26 June. 

 

 


1989 STS-29 launch

Crew: Michael Coats (CDR); John Blaha (P); Robert Springer, James Buchli, James Bagian (MS)

 

28th Shuttle mission; 8th flight of Discovery

Primary objective was the deployment of the TDRS-D satellite, for improved communication between manned spacecraft and the ground. The satellite reached its operational position in Clarke orbit over the Atlantic at 41° W. The flight's secondary objective was an experiment known as Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element (SHARE), a test of a potential cooling system for the planned Freedom station. This used no moving parts and worked through the convection currents of ammonia. Three electric heaters warmed one end of the 15.5m-long long SHARE. The heaters turned liquid ammonia into vapour which transported the heat through the length of the pipe, where a 30cm-wide aluminium fin radiated it into space. The fin was cooled by the space environment, and the ammonia was in turn condensed and recirculated. Unfortunately this operated for less than half an hour before it broke down.
 

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14 MARCH

 

1995 Soyuz TM-21 launch

Crew: Vladimir Dezhurov (CDR); Gennadi Strekalov (FE); Norman Thagard [USA] (RC)

 

This was Mir Expedition 18 and was notable for the inclusion of Norman Thagard, who became the first US astronaut to be launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. After a week-long handover the previous crew departed aboard Soyuz TM-20 and the new team settled in for a flight of just under four months that would end with a return home aboard the Space Shuttle. Deshurov and Strekalov would carry out five EVAs during the mission: on 12 May they rerouted external cabling in preparation for the transfer of solar panels on the Kristall module; this lasted 6h 15m. Five days later, in an EVA lasting 6h 42m, one of the arrays was folded up and moved to its new position, but could not be connected as the endurance limit of their space-suits had been reached. On 22 May the array was connected up and unfolded; this lasted 5h 15m. Then on 28 May a docking cone was moved to the forward port in preparation for the arrival of the Spektr module. Though the cosmonauts were working in vacuum they never actually left the station; some sources describe this as an IVA (Intra-Vehicular Activity). This lasted just 21 minutes. After Spektr had docked safely and been transferred to one of the radial ports, the cone was again installed on the forward port on 1 June: this was also technically an IVA lasting 23 minutes.

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15 MARCH

 

2009 STS-119 launch

Crew: Lee Archambault (CDR); Dominic Antonelli (P); Joseph Acaba, Steven Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips, Koichi Wakata [Japan] (MS)

 

125th Shuttle mission; 36th flight of Discovery

Delivered the S6 Truss and the fourth set of solar arrays to the ISS. These enabled the station's permanent crew to be expanded to six, though this would not take place just yet. Wakata would remain aboard at mission end, while Sandra Magnus would return home. Three EVAs were conducted: the first, by Swanson and Arnold, took place on 19 March and lasted 6h 7m, during which the new truss was installed and power cables connected, after which the solar arrays were deployed. On 21 March Swanson and Acaba carried out a 6h 30m EVA, working on the port truss by installing foot restraints and preparing tools for a future mission to change out a set of batteries.. Finally on 23 March Acaba and Arnold  relocated an equipment transfer cart from the port truss to the starboard one and lubricated joints on the robotic arm. This lasted 6h 27m. Swanson's cumulative EVA time on this mission was 12h 37m; Acaba's, 12h 57m; and Arnold's, 12h 34m.

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16 MARCH

 

1926 Goddard's first rocket

 

Pioneer Robert Hutchings Goddard carried out the very first launch of a liquid-fuelled rocket from a farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. The flight lasted just 2.5 seconds, with the rocket achieving a maximum altitude of 41 feet and landed 184 feet away in "Aunt Effie's cabbage patch". Nevertheless this is seen as the rocketry equivalent of the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk. The launch site is now a US National Historic Landmark.

 

 


1966 Gemini VIII launch

Crew: Neil Armstrong (CDR); Dave Scott (P)

 

The crew achieved the first docking, with the Agena-D target, but shortly afterwards a problem developed when the linked vehicles began an uncontrolled roll. Armstrong managed to bring the combination to a halt, but it immediately started again. Believing that there was a problem with the Agena, Armstrong undocked, but things immediately got far worse as the Gemini, now relieved of the additional mass of the docking target, began spinning even faster: at its peak the spacecraft was rotating once per second. The only way to stabilise the Gemini was to shut down the main attitude control system and use the re-entry thrusters to halt the spin. Under mission rules this meant that the flight had to be terminated, but Mission Control decided to delay the return by one orbit to ensure the splashdown would be in daylight in the secondary recovery area.

 

 


1978 Soyuz 27 landing

Crew: Yuri Romanenko (CDR); Georgi Grechko (FE)

Landing site: 265 km W of Tselinograd

 

The crew had been the first residents on Salyut 6, having been launched aboard Soyuz 26 the previous December. The spacecraft itself had been launched in January, with its own crew returning to Earth a week later in the older capsule: the first instance of a Taxi Flight which enabled cosmonauts to remain in orbit longer than the safe operational lifetime of the Soyuz. The cosmonauts' flight time was 96d 10h, covering 1,522 orbits.

 

 


2011 Soyuz TMA-01M landing

Crew: Aleksandr Kaleri (CDR); Oleg Skripochka, Scott Kelly [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 51°02'54"N, 67°17'36"E (93 km north of Arkalyk)

 

ISS Expeditions 25/26. Flight time 159d 8h 43m; 2,509 orbits

 

 


2013 Soyuz TMA-06M landing

Crew: Oleg Novitsky (CDR); Yevgeni Tarelkin, Kevin Ford [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 50°45'25"N, 67°20'32"E (64 km northeast of Arkalyk)

 

ISS Expeditions 33/34. Flight time 143d 16h 15m, 2,233 orbits

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17 MARCH

 

1966 Gemini VIII splashdown

Crew: Neil Armstrong (CDR); Dave Scott (P)

Splashdown site: 25° 13.8' N, 136° 0' E (800 km southeast of Okinawa)

 

Armstrong had succeeded in regaining control of the spacecraft after it began spinning due to a malfunctioning thruster, but only at the expense of activating the re-entry control system, which meant that the mission had to be terminated. NASA decided to delay the return by one orbit so that the capsule would land in the backup target area, within easy reach of the recovery fleet. Thus, after a flight lasting just 10h 41m and covering 6.5 orbits, the crew were picked up by the USS Leonard F. Mason.  Though naturally disappointed at the time, Armstrong's cool head under extremely dangerous circumstances went a long way towards his being selected for the first lunar landing mission.

 

 


1992 Soyuz TM-14 launch

Crew: Aleksandr Viktorenko (CDR); Aleksandr Kaleri (FE); Klaus-Dietrich Flade [Germany] (RC)

 

Viktorenko and Kaleri would form the eleventh resident crew aboard Mir, while Flade would return to Earth alongside the Expedition 10 team. Ultimately they would spend a little under five months in space, during which one EVA was carried out: on 8 July they carried out an exterior inspection of the station, focusing on the gyroscopes on the Kvant 2 module, which had been causing problems. They also evaluated a pair of binoculars which could be used with a space-suit visor, for inspecting outlying areas of Mir.

 

This was the first space flight to be launched after the collapse of the Soviet Union; the first to be classed as Russian.

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18 MARCH

 

1961 Little Joe 5A

 

This was a further attempt to demonstrate that the Mercury Launch Escape System could operate under the most severe conditions: Maximum Dynamic Pressure. Abort was scheduled for 34 seconds after launch but once again the tower motor fired prematurely, just 20 seconds into the flight. The spacecraft failed to separate from the booster until a ground command was sent, firing the capsule's single retro-rocket to push it clear. The excessive aerodynamic forces on the capsule ripped off the retro-package and escape tower, while the main and reserve landing parachutes were deployed simultaneously but brought the spacecraft safely down. Though the Max-Q abort objectives had not been met, the capsule had survived stresses far beyond its design limits, proving that it could take virtually any punishment and still protect the life of its occupant. Maximum altitude was 12.4km and the spacecraft landed 29km downrange.

 

 


1965 Voskhod 2 launch

Crew: Pavel Belyayev (CDR); Aleksei Leonov (P)

 

The sole objective of this mission was to carry out the first EVA, ahead of that being planned by the USA for its Gemini program. Because it was not possible to depressurise the spacecraft (its avionics were cooled by cabin air and would overheat in a vacuum) it was necessary to use an inflatable airlock to allow Leonov to exit the capsule. Though Leonov claimed he had little difficulty in manoeuvring outside, the EVA nearly ended in catastrophe when he found he was unable to bend his body to re-enter the airlock. He was forced to depressurise his space-suit to a dangerous level in order to get back inside. The EVA lasted 16m.

 

 


1989 STS-29 landing

Crew: Michael Coats (CDR); John Blaha (P); Robert Springer, James Buchli, James Bagian (MS)

Landing site: Edwards AFB

 

Flight time was 4d 23h 39m; 80 orbits

 

 


1994 STS-62 landing

Crew: John Casper (CDR); Andy Allen (P); Pierre Thuot, Sam Gemar, Marsha Ivins (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center

 

Flight time 13d 23h 17m; 224 orbits

 

 


1995 STS-67 landing

Crew: Stephen Oswald (CDR); William Gregory (P); John Grunsfeld, Wendy Lawrence, Tamara Jernigan (MS); Samuel Durrance, Ron Parise (PS)

Landing site: Edwards AFB

 

Flight time: 16d 15h 9m; 262 orbits

 

 


2010 Soyuz TMA-16 landing

Crew: Maxim Surayev (CDR); Jeffrey Williams [USA] (FE); Guy Laliberté [Canada] (SP)

Landing site: 50°46'51.4" N, 67°27'53,3" E (63 km northeast of Arkalyk)

 

Surayev and Williams had formed ISS Expedition 21/22; their flight time was 169d 4h 19m, completing 2,669 orbits. Laliberté was a Spaceflight Participant (fare-paying tourist) who had been launched aboard Soyuz TMA-16. His flight time was 10d 21h 17m and 171 orbits.

 

 


2016 Soyuz TMA-20M launch

Crew: Aleksei Ovchinin (CDR); Oleg Skripochka, Jeffrey Williams [USA] (FE)

 

ISS Expedition 47/48. Williams was being launched six years to the day after his return from his previous stay on the station, When Expedition 48 began, with the departure of Soyuz TMA-19M in mid-June, he would assume the role of ISS Commander.

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19 MARCH

 

1965 Voskhod 2 landing

Crew: Pavel Belyayev (CDR); Aleksei Leonov (P)

Landing site: 59° 34' 03'' N, 55° 28' 00" E (Ural Mountains, 180 km northeast of Perm, west of Berezniki)

 

With the historic first EVA successfully achieved, the airlock was jettisoned and the crew prepared to return to Earth. However after retrofire the landing module failed to separate properly and the spacecraft spun wildly until it broke free. This resulted in the capsule landing some 386km off target, in thick forests of the Upper Kama Upland. At first Mission Control were unsure if the cosmonauts had survived, but aircraft quickly located them. However the forest was so thick that landing a recovery helicopter was impossible. The cosmonauts had to spend an uncomfortable night in temperatures of minus 30°, surrounded by bears and wolves.

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Because of my burgeoning interest in Real Space I have started reading your posts. Enjoying them, thanks for posting.

 

Dennis 

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7 minutes ago, DMC said:

Because of my burgeoning interest in Real Space I have started reading your posts. Enjoying them, thanks for posting.

 

Dennis 

Glad you're enjoying them. 

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