The events on this day in history for our heritage companies are noted below.
The earliest event was in 1954, the latest event was in 2016
2000 – LAUNCH: STS-106 (Atlantis), LC39B, CCAFS – 7 person crew, ISS operations
Military and Classified Programs:
1984 – LAUNCH: GPS Block 1 (SVN 10), GD Atlas E/SGS-2, SLC3W, VAFB
2001 – LAUNCH: USA 160, LM Atlas IIAS, SLC3W, VAFB
2009 – LAUNCH: USA 207, ULA Atlas V 401, LC41, CCAFS
Exploration and Interplanetary Programs:
1967 – LAUNCH: Surveyor 5, GD Atlas SLV-3C/Centaur, LC36B, CCAFS
2004 – LANDING PARTIAL FAILURE: LM Genesis spacecraft returns to Earth – PARTIAL FAILURE – parachute does not deploy due to incorrectly installed accelerometers. Spacecraft was heavily damaged, but science was mostly recovered.
2016 – LAUNCH: LM OSIRIS-REx, ULA Atlas V 411, LC41, CCAFS – Asteroid sample return mission to Bennu
Earth-Monitoring and Civil Weather Satellite programs:
1983 – LAUNCH: RCA Satcom 7, Delta 3924, LC17B, CCAFS
1988 – LAUNCH: GE GSTAR 3 (also SBS-5), Ariane 3, ELA2, Kourou, French Guiana
1996 – LAUNCH: LM (GE) GE1, LM Atlas IIA, LC36B, CCAFS – first A2100 bus
1998 – LAUNCH (5): LM (Motorola) Iridium, Delta 7920-10C, SLC2W, VAFB
Test, ICBM, FBM programs:
1954 – Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation selected to perform Systems Engineering and technical direction functions for Project Atlas
1956 – LAUNCH FAILURE: Lockheed X-17, LC3, CCAFS
1961 – LAUNCH: Martin Titan I, LC19, CCAFS
1962 – 851st squadron (nine MM Titan I missiles) declared operational at Beale AFB, California
1967 – LAUNCH: Lockheed Polaris A3, SSBN602, ETR
1970 – LAUNCH: Lockheed Poseidon C3, SSBN629, ETR
1974 – LAUNCH: GD Atlas F, 576-A1, VAFB
1960 – NASA Marshall Space Flight Center founded
1966 – First episode of Star Trek (the original series) airs!
A busy day!!
The photos today are from two missions: First, there is a photo of the unfortunate hard landing of the Genesis sample return capsule in Utah in 2004. The story about this event is noted below. Second, there are photos of the launch of OSIRIS-REx in 2016 and the spacecraft being prepared for launch. OSIRIS-REx obtained samples from asteroid Bennu and the sample return capsule comes back later this month, 09/2023!
From Wikipedia: The Genesis sample return capsule entered Earth’s atmosphere over northern Oregon at 16:55 UTC on September 8, 2004, with a velocity of approximately 11.04 km/s (24,706 mph). Due to a design flaw in a deceleration sensor, parachute deployment was never triggered, and the spacecraft’s descent was slowed only by its own air resistance. The planned mid-air retrieval could not be carried out, and the capsule crashed into the desert floor of the Dugway Proving Ground in Tooele County, Utah, at about 86 m/s (310 km/h; 190 mph).The capsule broke open on impact, and part of the inner sample capsule was also breached. The damage was less severe than might have been expected given its velocity; it was to some extent cushioned by falling into fairly soft ground. A first possible root cause of the failed deployment of the parachutes was announced in an October 14 press release. Lockheed Martin had built the system with an acceleration sensor’s internal mechanisms wrongly oriented (a G-switch was installed backwards), and design reviews had not caught the mistake. The intended design was to make an electrical contact inside the sensor at 3 g (29 m/sec squared) maintaining it through the maximum expected 30 g (290 m/sec squared) and breaking the contact again at 3 g to start the parachute release sequence. Instead, no contact was ever made.
The same general parachute concept was also used on the Stardust cometary sample return spacecraft, which landed successfully in 2006.
NASA investigation board chair Michael Ryschkewitsch noted that none of the stringent review procedures at NASA had picked up a mistake, saying, “It would be very easy to mix this up.”
This mishap is similar to the original event that inspired Edward A. Murphy, Jr., to formulate the now-famous Murphy’s Law: An accelerometer installed backwards. On January 6, 2006, Ryschkewitsch revealed that a pre-test procedure on the craft was skipped by Lockheed Martin, and he noted that the test could have easily detected the problem. On a positive note, the science from Genesis was mostly intact and several interesting investigations were made looking at evidence of noble gases, oxygen isotopes and nitrogen isotopes from solar wind composition.
On another topic: OK, if you are REALLY paying attention and have made it this far, you will note an event for 1966 under “Other”. The first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series aired on this date that year. Many of us space nerds became BIG Star Trek fans (my favorite series: Deep Space Nine). Can you name the first original series episode that aired on September 8, 1966?