The events on this day in history for our heritage companies are noted below:
The earliest event was in 1960, the latest event was in 2004
1965 – SPLASHDOWN: Gemini IV
Military and Classified Programs:
Exploration and Interplanetary Programs:
2004 – LM Mars Global Surveyor completes over 25,000 Mars orbits
Earth-Monitoring and Civil Weather Satellite programs:
1967 – LAUNCH: OGO 3, GD Atlas SLV-3/Lockheed Agena B, LC-12, CCAFS – Orbiting geophysical observatory
Test, ICBM, FBM programs:
1960 – LAUNCH FAILURE: Lockheed Polaris A1, LC25A, CCAFS
1961 – LAUNCH FAILURE: GD Atlas Em OSTF-1, VAFB – stage I
1962 – LAUNCH: MM Titan II, LC16, CCAFS
1971 – LAUNCH: Lockheed Poseidon C3, SSBN630, ETR
The images today are an artist’s conception of Mars Global Surveyor in orbit at Mars and a photo taken by MGS of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit’s landing area. Although MGS was very successful, its operational life was terminated earlier than expected. Here’s the story from Wikipedia of the loss of communications with MGS in 2006:
On 2 November 2006, NASA lost contact with the spacecraft after commanding it to adjust its solar panels. Several days passed before a faint signal was received indicating that the spacecraft had entered safe mode and was awaiting further instructions.
On 21 and 22 November 2006, MGS failed to relay communications to the Opportunity rover on the surface of Mars. In response to this complication, Mars Exploration Program manager Fuk Li stated, “Realistically, we have run through the most likely possibilities for re-establishing communication, and we are facing the likelihood that the amazing flow of scientific observations from Mars Global Surveyor is over.”
On 13 April 2007, NASA announced the loss of the spacecraft was caused by a flaw in a parameter update to the spacecraft’s system software. The spacecraft was designed to hold two identical copies of the system software for redundancy and error checking. Subsequent updates to the software encountered a human error when two independent operators updated separate copies with differing parameters. This was followed by a corrective update that unknowingly included a memory fault which resulted in the loss of the spacecraft.
Originally, the spacecraft was intended to observe Mars for 1 Martian year (approximately 2 Earth years). However, based on the vast amount of valuable science data returned, NASA extended the mission three times. MGS remains in a stable near-polar circular orbit at about 450 km altitude, and was expected to crash onto the surface of the planet at some point after about 2047 at the time of its original launch, having by then spent fifty years orbiting the red planet. This is to prevent contamination of the Martian surface with any germs that may be stuck to the spacecraft.