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SAME Explorer Series II Special (1990) - Italiano

National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNASA History DivisionA CHRONOLOGY OF DEFINING EVENTS IN NASA HISTORY, 1958-19981 Oct. 1958 On this date the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration began operation. At the time it consisted of onlyabout 8,000 employees and an annual budget of $100 million. Inaddition to a small headquarters staff in Washington that directedoperations, NASA had at the time three major research laboratoriesinherited from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics-theLangley Aeronautical Laboratory established in 1918, the AmesAeronautical Laboratory activated near San Francisco in 1940,and the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory built at Cleveland,Ohio, in 1941-and two small test facilities, one for high-speedflight research at Muroc Dry Lake in the high desert of Californiaand one for sounding rockets at Wallops Island, Virginia. It soonadded several other government research organizations.11 Oct. 1958 Pioneer I: First NASA launch.7 Nov. 1958 NASA research pilot John McKay made the lastflight in the X-1E, the final model flown of the X-1 series. Thevarious models of the X-1, together with the D-558-I and -II,the X-2, X-3, X-4, X-5, and XF-92A, provided data to correlatetest results from the slotted throat wind tunnel at the LangleyAeronautical Laboratory (now NASA's Langley Research Center) withactual flight values. Together, results of flight research andwind tunnel testing enabled the U.S. aeronautical community tosolve many of the problems that occur in the transonic speed range(0.7 to 1.3 times the speed of sound). The flight research investigatedflight loads, buffeting, aeroelastic effects, pitch-up, instability,longitudinal control, and the effects of wing sweep, contributingto design principles that enabled reliable and routine flightof such aircraft as the century series of fighters (F-100, F-102,F-104, etc.). It contributed equally to the development of allcommercial transport aircraft from the mid-1950s to the present.6 Dec. 1958 The United States launched Pioneer 3,the first U.S. satellite to ascend to an altitude of 63,580 miles.18 Dec. 1958 An Air Force Atlas booster placed into orbita communications relay satellite, PROJECT SCORE or the "talkingatlas." A total of 8,750 pounds was placed in orbit, of which150 pounds was the payload. On 19 Dec. President Eisenhower'sChristmas message was beamed from the PROJECT SCORE satellitein orbit, the first voice sent from space.17 Feb. 1959 The United States launched Vanguard 2,the first successful launch of this principal IGY scientific satellite.28 Feb. 1959 The liquid-hydrogen Thor first stage, andan Agena upper stage, both originally developed by the U.S. AirForce, were used by NASA to launch Discoverer 1, a reconnaissancesatellite for the Air Force on 28 Feb.3 Mar. 1959 The United States sent Pioneer 4 tothe Moon, successfully making the first U.S. lunar flyby.9 Apr. 1959 After a two month selection process, on thisdate NASA unveiled the Mercury astronaut corps. NASA AdministratorT. Keith Glennan publicly introduced the astronauts in a pressconference in Washington. The seven men-from the Marine Corps,Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr. (1921- ); from the Navy, Lt. Cdr.Walter M. Schirra, Jr. (1923- ), Lt. Cdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr.(1923- ), and Lt. M. Scott Carpenter (1925- ); and from the AirForce, Capt. L. Gordon Cooper (1927- ), Capt. Virgil I. "Gus"Grissom (1926-1967), and Capt. Donald K. Slayton (1924-1993)-becameheroes in the eyes of the American public almost immediately.28 May 1959 The United States launches and recovers twomonkeys, Able and Baker, after launch in Jupiter nosecone duringa suborbital flight. The flight is successful, testing the capabilityto launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and to recover spacecraftin the Atlantic Ocean, but Able later died.8 Jun. 1959 North American Aviation, Inc. research pilotScott Crossfield made the first unpowered glide flight in thejoint X-15 hypersonic research program NASA conducted with theAir Force, the Navy, and North American. The program completedits 199th and final flight on 24 October 1968 in what many considerto have been the most successful flight research effort in history.It resulted in more than 765 research reports and provided significantdata in a variety of hypersonic disciplines ranging from aircraftperformance, stability and control, aerodynamic heating, the useof heat-resistant materials, shock interaction, and use of reactioncontrols. This data led to improved design tools for future hypersonicvehicles and contributed in important ways to the developmentof the Space Shuttle, including information from flights to theedge of space and back in 1961-1963. Data from these flights wereimportant in designing the Shuttle's reentry flight profile. Alsoinvolved in the X-15 research was the development of energy managementtechniques for the return of the vehicle to its landing site thatwere essential for the future reentry and horizontal landing ofthe Shuttle and all future reusable launch vehicles.1 Apr. 1960 The United States launched TIROS 1,the first successful meteorological satellite, observing Earth'sweather.13 Apr. 1960 The United States launched Transit1B, the first experimental orbital navigation system.1 Jul. 1960 The first launch of the Scout launch vehicletook place on this date. The Scout's four-stage booster couldplace a 330 pound satellite into orbit, and it quickly becamea workhorse in orbiting scientific payloads during the 1960s.1 Jul. 1960 On this date the Army Ballistic Missile Agencyof the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, formally becamea part of NASA and was renamed the George C. Marshall Space FlightCenter. This organization included the German "rocket team"led by Wernher von Braun that came to the United States at theconclusion of World War II. This group had been instrumental inbuilding the V-2 rocket, the world's first operational long-rangeballistic missile.12 Aug. 1960 NASA successfully orbited Echo 1, a100-foot inflatable, aluminized balloon passive communicationssatellite. The objective was to bounce radio beams off the satelliteas a means of long-distance communications. This effort, thoughsuccessful, was quickly superseded be active-repeater communicationssatellites such as Telstar.19 Dec. 1960 NASA launched Mercury 1, the firstMercury-Redstone capsule-launch vehicle combination. This wasan unoccupied test flight.31 Jan. 1961 NASA launched Mercury 2, a test missionof the Mercury-Redstone capsule-launch vehicle combination withthe chimpanzee Ham aboard during a 16 1/2 minute flight in suborbitalspace. Ham and his capsule is successfully recovered.5 May 1961 Freedom 7, the first piloted Mercuryspacecraft (No. 7) carrying Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., waslaunched from Cape Canaveral by MercuryRedstone (MR3)launch vehicle, to an altitude of 115 nautical miles and a rangeof 302 miles. It was the first American space flight involvinghuman beings, and during his 15-minute suborbital flight, Shepardrode a Redstone booster to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.Shepard demonstrated that individuals can control a vehicle duringweightlessness and high G stresses, and significant scientificbiomedical data were acquired. He reached a speed of 5,100 milesper hour and his flight lasted 14.8 minutes. Shepard was the secondhuman and the first American to fly in space.25 May 1961 President John F. Kennedy unveiled the commitmentto execute Project Apollo on this date in a speech on "UrgentNational Needs," billed as a second State of the Union message.He told Congress that the U.S. faced extraordinary challengesand needed to respond extraordinarily. In announcing the lunarlanding commitment he said: "I believe this Nation shouldcommitment itself to achieving the goal, before this decade isout, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely toearth. No single space project in this period will be more impressiveto mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration ofspace; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."21 Jul. 1961 The second piloted flight of a Mercury spacecrafttook place on this date when astronaut "Gus" Grissomundertook a sub-orbital mission. The flight had problems. Thehatch blew off prematurely from the Mercury capsule, LibertyBell 7, and it sank into the Atlantic Ocean before it couldbe recovered. In the process the astronaut nearly drowned beforebeing hoisted to safety in a helicopter. These suborbital flights,however, proved valuable for NASA technicians who found ways tosolve or work around literally thousands of obstacles to successfulspace flight.23 Aug. 1961 NASA launched Ranger 1 on this date,with the mission of photographing and mapping part of the Moon'ssurface, but it failed to achieve its planned orbit.19 Sep. 1961 NASA Administrator James E. Webb announcedon this date that the site of the NASA center dedicated to humanspace flight would be Houston, Texas. This became the Manned SpacecraftCenter, renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973.25 Oct. 1961 On this date NASA announced the establishmenton a deep south bayou the Mississippi Test Facility, renamed theJohn C. Stennis Space Center in 1988. This installation becamethe test site for the large Saturn boosters developed for ProjectApollo.27 Oct. 1961 NASA accomplished the first successful testof the Saturn I rocket.21 Nov. 1961 On this date the Air Force launched a TitanICBM from Cape Canaveral carrying target nose cone to be usedin NikeZeus antimissilemissile tests. This was firstTitan ICBM to be fired from Cape Canaveral by a military crew,the 6555th Aerospace Test Wing. The Titan rocket became a standardlaunch vehicle for the United States in the years that followed,going through several modifications to make it more reliable andcapable.20 Feb. 1962 John Glenn became the first American to circlethe Earth, making three orbits in his Friendship 7 Mercuryspacecraft. Despite some problems with spacecraft-Glenn flew partsof the last two orbits manually because of an autopilot failureand left his normally jettisoned retrorocket pack attached tohis capsule during reentry because of a loose heat shield-thisflight was enormously successful. The public, more than celebratingthe technological success, embraced Glenn as a personificationof heroism and dignity. Among other engagements, Glenn addresseda joint session of Congress and participated in several ticker-tapeparades around the country.7 Jun. 1962 At an all-day meeting at the Marshall SpaceFlight Center, NASA leaders met to hash out differences over themethod of going to the Moon with Project Apollo, with the debategetting heated at times. The contention was essentially betweenEarth-orbit versus lunar-orbit rendezvous. After more than sixhours of discussion those in favor of Earth-orbit rendezvous finallygave in to the lunar-orbit rendezvous mode, saying that its advocateshad demonstrated adequately its feasibility and that any furthercontention would jeopardize the president's timetable. This clearedthe path for the development of the hardware necessary to accomplishthe president's goal.10 Jul. 1962 Telstar l: NASA launch of the firstprivately built satellite (for communications). First telephoneand television signals carried via satellite.3 Oct. 1962 On this date astronaut Wally Schirra flew sixorbits in the Mercury spacecraft Sigma 7.14 Dec. 1962 Mariner 2: First successful planetaryflyby (Venus).15-16 May 1963 The capstone of Project Mercury took placeon this date with the flight of astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, whocircled the Earth 22 times in 34 hours aboard the Mercury capsuleFaith 7.22 Aug. 1963 Experimental aircraft X-15 sets altitude recordof 354,200 feet (67 miles).29 Jan. 1964 NASA's largest launch vehicle, Saturn SA-5,sends a record of 19 tons into orbit during a test flight.8 Apr. 1964 The first American Gemini flight took placeon this date, an unpiloted test that made four orbits and wassuccessfully recovered.28 May 1964 The United States placed the first Apollo CommandModule (CM) in orbit. This Apollo capsule was launched duringan automated test flight atop a Saturn I in preparation of thelunar landing program.28 Jul. 1964 The United States' Ranger 7 sends backto Earth 4,300 close-up images of the Moon before it impacts onthe surface.30 Oct. 1964 NASA pilot Joseph Walker conducted the firstflight in the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV), known forits unusual shape as the "Flying Bedstead." Two LLRVsand three Lunar Landing Training Vehicles developed from themprovided realistic simulation that was critical for landing aspacecraft on the Moon in the Apollo program. The LLRVs also providedthe controls design data base for the lunar module. 23 Mar. 1965 Following two unoccupied test flights, thefirst operational mission-Gemini III-of Project Geminitook place. Former Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom commanded themission, with John W. Young, a Naval aviator chosen as an astronautin 1962, accompanying him.6 Apr. 1965 The United States launched Intelsat I,the first commercial satellite (communications), into geostationaryorbit.3-7 Jun. 1965 The second piloted Gemini mission, GeminiIV, stayed aloft for four days and astronaut Edward H. WhiteII performed the first EVA or spacewalk by an American. This wasa critical task that would have to be mastered before landingon the Moon.14 Jul. 1965 An American space probe, Mariner 4,flies within 6,118 miles of Mars after an eight month journey.This mission provided the first close-up images of the red planet.The mission had been launched 28 Nov. 1964.21-29 Aug. 1965 During the flight of Gemini V, Americanastronauts Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad set record with an eightday orbital flight.4-18 Dec. 1965 During the flight of Gemini VII,American astronauts Frank Borman and James A. Lovell set a durationrecord of fourteen days in Earth-orbit that holds for five years.15-16 Dec. 1965 During Gemini VI, U.S. astronautsWally Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford complete the first true spacerendezvous by flying within a few feet of Gemini VII.16 Mar. 1966 During Gemini VIII American astronautsNeil A. Armstrong and David Scott performed the first orbitaldocking their spacecraft to an Agena target vehicle, becomingthe first coupling of two spacecraft. This was a critical taskto master before attempting to land on the Moon, a mission thatrequired several dockings and undockings of spacecraft.3 Apr. 1966 On this date the Soviet Union achieved lunarorbit with its Luna 10 space probe, the first such vehicleto do so. This robotic flight had been launched on 31 Mar. 1966and it provided scientific data about the Moon to Earth for severalweeks.2 Jun. 1966 On this date Surveyor 1 landed on theMoon and transmitted more than 10,000 high-quality photographsof the surface. This was the first American spacecraft to soft-landon the Moon. It had been launch on 30 May, and it touched downon the "Ocean of Storms," a possible site for the Apollolandings.3-6 Jul. 1966 During the flight of Gemini IX onthis date, American astronauts Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernanmake a two-hour EVA.18-21 Jul. 1966 During Gemini X American astronautsMike Collins and John Young make two rendezvous and docking maneuverswith Agena target vehicles, plus complete a complex EVA.10 Aug. 1966-1 Aug. 1967 The Lunar Orbiter project wasconducted for a year between these dates. This project, originallynot intended to support Apollo, was reconfigured in 1962 and 1963to further the Kennedy mandate more specifically by mapping thesurface. In addition to a powerful camera that could send photographsto Earth tracking stations, it carried three scientific experiments-selnodesy(the lunar equivalent of geodesy), meteoroid detection, and radiationmeasurement. While the returns from these instruments interestedscientists in and of themselves, they were critical to Apollo.NASA launched five Lunar Orbiter satellites, all successfullyachieving their objectives.11-15 Nov. 1966 The last Gemini flight, Gemini XII,was launched on this date. During this mission, American astronautsJim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin completed three EVAs and a dockingwith an Agena target vehicle.27 Jan. 1967 At 6:31 p.m. on this date, during a simulationaboard Apollo-Saturn (AS) 204 on the launch pad at Kennedy SpaceCenter, Florida, after several hours of work, a flash fire brokeout in the pure oxygen atmosphere of the capsule and flames engulfedthe capsule and the three astronauts aboard-Gus Grissom, Ed White,and Roger Chaffee-died of asphyxiation. Although three other astronautshad been killed before this time-all in plane crashes-these werethe first deaths directly attributable to the U.S. space program.As a result of this accident the Apollo program went into hiatusuntil the spacecraft could be redesigned. The program returnedto flight status during Apollo 7 in October 1968.25 Apr. 1967 Air Force Col. Joseph Cotton and NASA researchpilot Fitzhugh Fulton made the first NASA flight in the XB-70A.The 23 NASA flights in the 129-flight joint program with the AirForce investigated the stability and handling qualities of large,delta-wing aircraft flying at high supersonic speeds. Togetherthese flights contributed data for designing future supersonicaircraft in such areas as environmental noise (including sonicbooms), potential flight corridors, flight control, operationalproblems, and clear-air turbulence. It also validated wind tunneldata and revealed drag components not consistent with or not simulatedby wind tunnel testing.3 Oct. 1967 The X-15 experimental rocket plane set a speedrecord for piloted vehicles by reaching 4,534 mph (mach 6.72)at a 99,000 feet altitude over the Mojave Desert in California.Piloted by Maj. William J. Knight, USAF, the X-15 no. 2 flightundertook experiments to: (1) test Martin ablative coating andramjet local flow; (2) check out stability and control with dummyramjets and characteristics of external tank separation; and (3)conduct fluidic temperature probes. The previous space recordof 4,250 mph (mach 6.33) had been set by Maj. Knight on 18 Nov.1966.9 Nov. 1967 During Apollo 4, an unpiloted test ofthe launcher and spacecraft, NASA proves that the combinationcould safely reach the Moon.22 Jan. 1968 In Apollo 5, NASA made the first flighttest of the propulsion systems of the Lunar Module ascent/descentcapability.14 Sep. 1968 In a significant first, the Soviet Union sentits Zond 5, lunar mission capsule around the Moon and broughtit back safely to Earth. This was an unpiloted test of the system.11-22 Oct. 1968 The first piloted flight of the Apollospacecraft, Apollo 7, and Saturn IB launch vehicle, thisflight involved astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele, andWalter Cunningham who tested hardware in Earth orbit.21-27 Dec. 1968 On 21 Dec. 1968, Apollo 8 took offatop a Saturn V booster from the Kennedy Space Center with threeastronauts aboard-Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and WilliamA. Anders-for a historic mission to orbit the Moon. At first itwas planned as a mission to test Apollo hardware in the relativelysafe confines of low Earth orbit, but senior engineer George M.Low of the Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston, Texas (renamedthe Johnson Space Center


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