|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1948 - Quarter 4|
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First launching of a rocket-propelled "flying wind tunnel" model by NACA Langley's PARD at Wallops Island, to measure roll damping of wings at transonic speeds. References: 17 .
Photographs of the earth's surface taken from altitudes between 60 and 70 miles by cameras installed in rockets, were released by the Navy. References: 17 .
Cosmic radiation, solar radiation research. Launched at 0947 local time. Reached 91 km.
Failure in first stage due to break in alcohol piping. V-2 reached 5 km, 390 m/s; WAC destroyed.
A paper read to the British Interplanetary Society by H. E. Ross described a manned lunar landing mission which would require a combination of the earth orbit and lunar orbit rendezvous techniques. Three spacecraft would be launched simultaneously into earth orbit, each carrying a pilot. After rendezvous, the crew would transfer to ship A, which would refuel from ships B and C. Ship C would be discarded completely, but ship B would be fueled with the surplus not needed by A. The spacecraft would then be fired into a translunar trajectory. Upon reaching the vicinity of the moon, the spacecraft would go into lunar orbit, detach fuel tanks, and descend to the lunar surface. To return to earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with the fuel tanks, refuel, and fire into a transearth trajectory. On approaching the earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with ship B, the crew would transfer to ship B, and descend to earth. The ability to rendezvous in space was seen to be the essential element of such a project. The total payload weight at launch would be 1,326 tons equally divided among the three ships as compared to 2.6 times this weight required for a direct ascent and return from the moon. References: 16 .
In a paper presented to the British Interplanetary Society, H. E. Ross described a manned satellite station in Earth orbit that would serve as an astronomical and zero-gravity and vacuum research laboratory. (Ross' bold suggestions also included schemes for a manned landing on the Moon and return to Earth through use of the rendezvous technique in Earth orbit and about the Moon.) Ross' suggested design comprised a circular structure that housed the crew of the space laboratory (numbering 24 specialists and support personnel) as well as telescopes and research equipment. The station, he suggested, could be resupplied with oxygen and other life-support essentials by supply ships launched every three months.
Launched 15:34 local time. Reached 145.6 km. Carried biological (Harvard), solar radiation (Naval Research Lab), composition (Signal Corps Engineering Lab, University of Michigan) experiments for General Electric.
Third Convair MX-774 test missile successfully fired. Also self-destructed at high altitude. References: 17 .
Composition research. Launched at 1538 local time. Reached 91.6 km.
Launched 09:08 local time. Reached 108.7 km. Carried Winds, pressure, temperature; solar radiation (Naval Research Lab) experiments for Signal Corps Engineering Lab, University of Michigan.
Jet Propulsion Centers established at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology by the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation to provide research facilities and graduate training for qualified young scientists and engineers in rocketry and astronautics. Robert H. Goddard Chairs were established at each center. References: 17 .
The team defended the G-1 draft project on 28 December 1948. The State Commission found the G-1 to be superior to Korolev's R-2 design in many respects. However the Russian designers managed to convince the government to put the R-2 rather than the G-1 into production by arguing that the manufacturing technology of the G-1 could not be mastered immediately by Soviet Union. Several of the design concepts (integrated propellant tanks, radio-controlled cut-off, forward liquid oxygen tank) were however used by the Russians in their R-2 and R-5 rockets.
The first Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal, in his initial report to President Harry Truman, included a brief item indicating that the earth satellite program, which was being carried out independently by the military services, was assigned to the Committee on Guided Missiles for coordination. References: 483 .
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