The events on this day in history for our heritage companies are noted below.
The earliest event was in 1961, the latest event was in 2006.
1966 – LAUNCH: Gemini B simulator, MOL mockup, Experiments, MM Titan IIIC, LC40, CCAFS – Complex mission testing Gemini B MOL simulator, MOL mockup using Stage 2, and deployment of eleven experiments
1975 – MM X-24B flight 61, Dryden Lake – Pilot: Thomas McMurtry
1994 – LAUNCH: STS-66 (Atlantis), LC39B, KSC – 6 person crew, ATLAS laboratory (atmospheric experiments)
Military and Classified Programs:
1968 – LAUNCH: Classified mission, Thorad SLV-2G/Lockheed Agena D, SLC3W, VAFB
1971 – LAUNCH: DSCS II 01, 02, MM Titan IIIC, LC40, CCAFS
Exploration and Interplanetary Programs:
1973 – LAUNCH: Mariner 10, GD Atlas SLV-3D/Centaur, LC36B CCAFS – Mercury and Venus fly-by mission
2006- LM Mars Global Surveyor shuts down after 10 years of operations – attributed to a software parameter error during solar array adjustments
Earth-Monitoring and Civil Weather Satellite programs:
Test, ICBM, FBM programs:
1961 – LAUNCH (3): Lockheed Polaris A1, SSBN608, ETR
1969 – LAUNCH: Lockheed Poseidon C3, LC25C, CCAFS
1990 – LAUNCH (4): Lockheed Trident D-5, SSBN734, ETR
The photo today is the Titan IIIC MOL mission (Titan IIIC-9) launch in 1966. The vehicle carried a Gemini B simulator (reuse of Gemini spacecraft #2) and Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) mockup and had other experiments on-board and was the only launch associated with the MOL program.
Also on this day in 2006, MGS failed on orbit. Here’s the story of that failure, 10 years after the spacecraft went into orbit of Mars, from Wikipedia:
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.