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Born, Christian Mayer, Czech astronomer (binary stars)

Born, Baron Jons Jacob Berzelius, Swedish chemist (atomic weight, one of the founders of modern chemistry)

Born, Henry J. E. Reid (at Gloucester Point, Gloucester, Virginia, USA), Director, NACA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (1926-1961)

A. Kopff discovered asteroids #669 Kypria and #670 Ottegebe.

E. Skvortsov discovered asteroid #1381 Danubia.

C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1474 Beira.

Born, Jean-Loup Jacques Marie Chretien (at La Rochelle, France), cosmonaut/astronaut (Soyuz T-6/Salyut 7, Soyuz TM-7/Mir/Soyuz TM-6, STS 86/Mir, approx. 43.5 total days in space), first French astronaut, trained under both US and Russian space programs

French astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien, NASA photo

Born, Svetlana Oktyabrevna Omelchenko (nee Yeremeyevna, at Ordzhonikidzevskaya station, Checheno-Ingush ASSR), Russian journalist cosmonaut candidate (Journalist Group - 1990) (inactive)

Cosmonaut candidate Svetlana Omelchenko, photo from

Sputnik 5 returned to Earth after a successful one day mission.

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 5 on 19 August 1960 with the dogs Belka and Strelka (Russian for "Squirrel" and "Little Arrow"), 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants aboard, in addition to a television system and other scientific instrumentation. The spacecraft was the second in a series of spacecraft designed to further the development of an Earth orbiting system for the planned manned space program. It returned to Earth the next day after 18 orbits, all animals were recovered safely, making it the first successful recovery of living biological specimens after an orbital mission. Strelka later gave birth to a litter of 6 healthy puppies; one was presented to US President John F. Kennedy as a gift.

1962 18:08:00 UTC
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A Heating, Drag, ASAS Test mission # 68 in which Robert Rushworth reached a maximum speed of 5687 kph (Mach 5.24) and achieved a maximum altitude of 27.097 km.

Douglas Aircraft Company static-fired the S-IVB in a test at Sacramento, California, simulating the workload of a Lunar mission: The stage was run for three minutes, shut down for half an hour, then reignited for almost six minutes.

Crimean Astrophysical Observatory discovered asteroid #2406 Orelskaya.

M. Antal discovered asteroid #1807 Slovakia.

1975 21:22:00 UTC
NASA launched Viking 1 toward Mars.

Viking 1 orbiter, NASA photo

Following its launch on 20 August 1975 and a 10 month cruise to Mars, the Viking 1 Orbiter began returning global images of Mars about 5 days before orbit insertion. It was inserted into Mars orbit on 19 June 1976 and trimmed to a 1513 x 33,000 km, 24.66 hr site certification orbit on 21 June. Imaging of candidate sites was begun and the landing site was selected based on these pictures. The lander separated from the orbiter on 20 July 08:51 UT and landed at Chryse Planitia at 11:56:06 UT. (The landing had been planned for the US Bicentennial on July 4, but was delayed until a suitable landing site was located.) The lander collected the first-ever samples taken from the surface Mars with its robot arm on 28 July. The orbiter primary mission ended at the beginning of solar conjunction on 5 November 1976. The extended mission commenced on 14 December 1976 after solar conjunction. Operations included close approaches to Phobos in February 1977. The periapsis was reduced to 300 km on 11 March 1977. Minor orbit adjustments were done occasionally over the course of the mission, primarily to change the walk rate - the rate at which the planetocentric longitude changed with each orbit, and the periapsis was raised to 357 km on 20 July 1979. On 7 August 1980, the Viking 1 Orbiter was running low on attitude control gas and its orbit was raised from 357 x 33943 km to 320 x 56000 km to prevent impact with Mars and possible contamination until the year 2019. Orbital operations were terminated on 17 August 1980 after 1485 orbits, and communications with the lander were terminated on 13 November 1982.

1977 14:29:00 UTC
NASA launched Voyager 2 from Cape Canaveral, Florida for a tour of the outer Solar system.

Voyager 2, NASA illustration

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, originally planned as Mariner 12 of the Mariner program, was launched on 20 August 1977 on a mission to explore the outer planets of the solar system. It is identical to its sister Voyager program craft, Voyager 1. Voyager 2 followed a somewhat different trajectory during its Saturn encounter, however, bypassing a close encounter with Titan in favor of taking advantage of a gravitational slingshot to travel on to Uranus and Neptune. It became the first probe to visit those two planets.

Voyager 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket. The closest approach to Jupiter occurred on 9 July 1979. On 25 August 1981, Voyager 2 flew past Saturn at a distance of 63,000 miles (100,000 km), and it took pictures of Saturn's moon Titan the following day, 26 August. Its closest approach to Uranus was on 24 January 1986, and its closest approach to Neptune occurred on 25 August 1989, after a 12 year, 4 billion mile journey, when it flew over the planet's cloud tops and those of its moon Triton, sending back photographs of 'swamps' from a distance of 5000 km. Voyager 2 imagery returned on 22 August 1989 confirmed the rings around Neptune are complete, although they are much more faint than those of Saturn.

As of 24 August 2003, Voyager 2 was at a distance of 10.6 billion kilometers (71 AU) and was escaping the solar system, diving below the ecliptic plane at an angle of about 48 degrees and at a speed of about 3.3 AU per year (ca. 15 km/s, 470 million kilometers (about 290 million miles) a year). On 9 July 2014 it was more than 15.7 billion km (9.79 billion miles, 105 AU) from the Sun. (See Where Are The Voyagers Now? for a spreadsheet of distance, speed, and other interesting information.) It will be approximately 40,000 years before Voyager 2 approaches another planetary system.

Voyager 2 is expected to keep transmitting into the 2030s.

Voyager 2 carries with it a golden record (Voyager Golden Record) that contains pictures and sounds of Earth, along with symbolic directions for playing the record. The contents of this record were selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.

See also

N. Chernykh discovered asteroid #3618.

C. and E. Shoemaker discovered asteroids #3025 Higson and #3225 Hoag.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #3455 Kristensen.

Died, Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer, science fiction writer

Sir Fred Hoyle (24 June 1915 - 20 August 2001) was a British astronomer, notable for a number of his theories that run counter to current astronomical opinion, and a writer of science fiction, including a number of books co-authored by his son Geoffrey Hoyle.

An early paper of his made an interesting use of the Anthropic Principle. In trying to work out the routes of stellar nucleosynthesis, he observed that one particular nuclear reaction, the Triple-alpha process, which generated carbon, would require the carbon nucleus to have a very specific energy for it to work. The large amount of carbon in the universe, which makes it possible for life to exist, demonstrated that this nuclear reaction must work. Based on this notion, he made a prediction of the energy levels in the carbon nucleus that was later borne out by experiment.

While having no argument with the discovery of the expansion of the universe by Edwin Hubble, he disagreed on its interpretation: Hoyle (with Thomas Gold and Hermann Bondi, who he had worked with on radar in World War II) argued for the universe being in a "steady state," with the continuous creation of new matter driving the expansion of the universe, rather than the universe beginning and expanding explosively in a "Big Bang." Ironically, he is responsible for actually coining the term "Big Bang" in one of his papers criticising the theory. Continuous creation offered no explanation for the appearance of new matter, but in itself was no more inexplicable than the appearance of the entire universe from nothing; in the end the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation led to the nearly unanimous acceptance by astronomers (Hoyle being one exception) of the Big Bang theory.

2001 09:52:00 CDT (UTC -5:00:00)
NASA STS 105 undocked from the International Space Station after 8 days during which the Expedition Two and Expedition Three crews were swapped.

STS 105 was launched 10 August 2001, and spent 12 days in orbit, with eight of those days docked to the International Space Station, from 12 August through 20 August. While at the orbital outpost, the STS-105 crew attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, transferred supplies and equipment to the station, completed two space walks and deployed a small spacecraft called Simplesat. Discovery delivered the Expedition Three crew, Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, for their extended stay aboard the space station. It returned to Earth with Expedition Two crewmembers Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms who had spent 147 days living on the station.

Mission Specialists Daniel Barry and Patrick Forrester spent a total of 11 hours, 45 minutes outside the ISS during two space walks. The first space walk involved installing the Early Ammonia Servicer and the first external experiment, the Materials International Space Station Experiment, onto the station's hull. The servicer contains spare ammonia that can be used in the space station's cooling systems if needed. MISSE was a NASA/Langley Research Center-managed cooperative endeavor to fly materials and other types of space exposure experiments on the space station. The objective was to develop early, low-cost, non-intrusive opportunities to conduct critical space exposure tests of space materials and components planned for use on future spacecraft. Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, the Materials Laboratory at the Air Force Research Laboratory and Boeing Phantom Works were participants with Langley in the project. The experiments were in four Passive Experiment Containers (PECs) initially developed and used for an experiment on Mir in 1996 during the Shuttle-Mir Program. PECs are suitcase-like containers for transporting experiments via the space shuttle to and from an orbiting spacecraft. Once on orbit and clamped to the host spacecraft, the PECs are opened and serve as racks to expose experiments to the space environment.

During the second space walk, Barry and Forrester strung two 13.7 meter (45 foot) heater cables and installed handrails down both sides of the Destiny Laboratory.

The Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), one of three supplied by the Italian Space Agency, made its second trip to the International Space Station in Discovery's payload bay. Aboard Leonardo were six Resupply Stowage Racks, four Resupply Stowage Platforms, and two new scientific experiment racks for the station's US laboratory Destiny. The two new science racks (EXPRESS Racks 4 and 5) added science capability to the station. EXPRESS stands for Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station. EXPRESS Rack 4 weighed 1,175 pounds (533 kg) and EXPRESS Rack 5 weighed 1,200 pounds (544 kg). The empty weight of each EXPRESS rack is about 785 pounds (356 kg). The Resuppy Stowage Racks and Resupply Stowage Platforms were filled with Cargo Transfer Bags that contained equipment and supplies for the station. The six Resuppply Stowage Racks contained almost 3,200 pounds (1451 kg) of cargo and the four Resupply Stowage Platforms contained about 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of cargo, not including the weight of the Cargo Transfer Bags, the foam packing around the cargo or the straps and fences that hold the bags in place. The total weight of cargo, racks and packing material aboard Leonardo was just over 11,000 pounds (4990 kg), with a total cargo weight of about 6,775 pounds (3073 kg).

Mission Specialist Pat Forrester used the shuttle's robot arm to move the MPLM from the shuttle to the Earth-facing docking port on the station's Unity module. Both crews worked together to haul tons of supplies and equipment from Leonardo to storage places within the station, then filled Leonardo with unneeded station equipment and trash for return to Earth. Forrester then used the robot arm to reberth the module in Discovery's payload bay for the trip home.

Other payloads on STS 105 were part of the Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility Shuttle Small Payloads Project. The SSPP system utilizes payload carrier systems such as the Hitchhiker, Getaway Specials and Space Experiment Modules to provide a low cost scientific research environment. SSPP payloads on STS-105 include the Hitchhiker payload Simplesat, the Cell Growth in Microgravity GAS Canister (G-708), the Microgravity Smoldering Combustion experimet (MSC), and the Hitchiker Experiment Advancing Technology Space Experiment Module-10 payload.

STS 105 ended 22 August 2001 when Discovery landed on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, following a one-orbit wave-off due to a rain shower that popped up off the end of the landing strip. Mission duration: 11 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes, 52 seconds. Orbit altitude: 122 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees.

The flight crew for STS 105 was: Scott J. Horowitz, Commander; Frederick W. "Rick" Sturckow, Pilot; Patrick G. Forrester, Mission Specialist 1; Daniel T. Barry, Mission Specialist 2; Expedition Three crew flew to the ISS (returned on STS 108): Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., ISS Commander; Vladimir N. Dezhurov, Soyuz Commander; Mikhail Tyurin, Flight Engineer; Expedition Two crew returned from the ISS (launched on STS 102): Yury V. Usachev, ISS Commander; James S. Voss, Flight Engineer; Susan J. Helms, Flight Engineer.

2001 18:30:00 UTC
Simplesat, a small (52 kg) astronomical test satellite, was ejected from a GAS cannister in shuttle Discovery's STS 105 payload bay. No contact was achieved with Simplesat after its release: the satellite evidently failed.

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