|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1958 - Quarter 3|
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Japanese Kappa-6tw two-stage rocket flown to 30-mile altitude over Michikawa Rocket Center, Japan. References: 17 .
First explanation to leadership of advantages of manned spaceflight. References: 85 .
The initial concept of the use of a tractor rocket for an escape device was suggested by Maxime A. Faget. The idea was developed into the Mercury escape rocket. References: 483 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 726-346 'On start of work on the R-14 missile, on creation of the R-7A ICBM, and on creation of the winged-ballistic rocket at OKB-52' was issued. References: 474 .
Launched after prior 11 June flight attempt. The booster stage was replaced. Controlled flight program ended at T+56 seconds due to damaged circuits connected to the autopilot.
First launching of a 10-inch-diameter spherical rocket motor with spin stabilization, at NACA Wallops Island. References: 17 .
First full-powered flight of USAF Atlas ICBM using both the sustainer and booster engines. 'Marginally successful'.
General Electric Company personnel presented a briefing at NACA headquarters on studies related to manned space flight. The company held contracts let by the Wright Air Development Center for study and mock-up of a manned spacecraft. NACA made no official comment. References: 483 .
Suborbital. Mouse 'Mia II' reached 1600 km altitude, flew 9600 km range, but re-entry vehicle not recovered. References: 5 .
Cruise stage tanks 1 and 4 empty. The flight lasted only to T+96 seconds. At this point, duirng fseparation of the boost and cruise stages the vehicle became unstable and was unable to achieve level powered cruise flight.
Cook Electric Company submitted a proposal to the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation as a part of a preliminary study and design effort by McDonnell for a manned satellite. McDonnell, prior to being awarded the Mercury prime development contract in February 1959, spent 11 months under a company research budget working on a manned orbital spacecraft concept. References: 483 .
Fired from AMR at 0404 hours EST to a pre-calculated range of 1,241.3 nm. The nose cone impacted 1.0 nm short and 1.5 nm to the right of the predicted impact point. This was the first flight test of the complete inertial guidance system. The nose cone recovery mission was successful. This was also the second successful flight test of a full scale tactical type nose cone, as well as a successful flight test of the Jupiter lightweight, high explosive warhead. References: 439 .
In a memorandum to Dr. James R. Killian, Jr., Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, Director of NACA, pointed out that NASA would inherit from NACA a rich technical background, competence, and leadership in driving toward the objective of a manned satellite program. For years NACA groups had been involved in research on such items as stabilization of ultra-high speed vehicles, provision of suitable controls, high temperature structural designs, and all the problems of reentry. In fact, a part of this work had been directed specifically toward the problem of designing a manned satellite. Also, the X-15 program had provided much experience in human factors applicable to the orbital flight of man. Therefore, Dr. Dryden concluded, in consonance with the intent of the Space Act of 1958, the assignment of the program to the NACA would be consistent. References: 483 .
Suborbital. Mouse 'Wickie' not recovered; nose cone lost. References: 5 .
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, Public Law 85-568, which established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). References: 16 .
By using the development model of the Mercury contour couch designed by Maxime A. Faget and associates, Carter C. Collins withstood a 20g load on the centrifuge at Johnsville, Pennsylvania. This test proved that the reentry accelerations of manned space flight could be withstood. References: 483 .
Republic Aviation representatives briefed NACA Headquarters personnel on the man-in-space studies in which the company had been engaged since the first of the year. They envisioned a four-stage solid launch vehicle system and a lifting reentry vehicle, which was termed a sled. The vehicle was to be of triangular shape with a 75 degree leading-edge sweep. Aerodynamic and reaction controls would be available to the pilot. For the launch vehicle, Republic proposed a Minuteman first stage, a Polaris first stage, a Minuteman upper stage, and a Jumbo rocket fourth stage. Other details relative to reentry and recovery were included in the briefing. References: 483 .
Teak was a rocket-launched test of a live W-39 nuclear warhead. Purpose was to measure the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions in order to design warheads for the Nike-Zeus anti-ballistic missile system. The Hardtack Configuration Redstone shot the 3.8 megaton warhead to an altitude of 77.8 km. This was the first rocket-launched nuclear test by the United States. References: 439 .
In 3-week period, 19 five-stage Argo E5 sounding rockets were launched in USAF-NACA program to measure radiation caused by Project Argus, rockets reaching 500-mile altitude and were launched from Wallops Island, AMR, and Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. References: 17 .
President Eisenhower assigned the responsibility for the development and execution of a manned space flight program to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. However, NASA did not become operational until October 1, 1958. References: 483 .
Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, NACA Director, presented a program on the technology of manned space flight vehicles to the Select Committees of Congress on Astronautics and Space Exploration. References: 483 .
The number of units fielded were small, reflecting the long delay in getting the R-1 into production. The field equipment was designed to also be used for R-2 missiles, which quickly replaced the R-1 in the field units.
First launching of USAF Bomarc interceptor missile from Cape Canaveral on a signal sent by the SAGE Control Center at Kingston, N.Y. References: 17 .
A memorandum from the Secretary of the Army to the Secretary of Defense recommended Project Adam for a manned space flight program. This plan proposed a ballistic suborbital flight using existing Redstone hardware as a national political-psychological demonstration. This memo proposed that funds in the amount of $9 million and $2.5 million for fiscal years 1959 and 1960, respectively, be approved for program execution. References: 483 .
Orange was a rocket-launched test of the W-39 warhead. Purpose was to measure the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions in order to design warheads for Nike-Zeus anti-ballistic missile system. The Hardtack Configuration Redstone shot the 3.8 megaton warhead to an altitude of 43 km. References: 439 .
The Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA provided the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) with authority and initial funding to develop the Juno V (later named Saturn launch vehicle. ARPA Order 14 described the project: "Initiate a development program to provide a large space vehicle booster of approximately 1.5 million pounds of thrust based on a cluster of available rocket engines. The immediate goal of this program is to demonstrate a full-scale captive dynamic firing by the end of calendar year 1959." Within AOMC, the Juno V project was assigned to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal Huntsville, Ala. References: 17 , 27 .
A section devoted to the spacecraft was formed on 15 August 1958. Konstantin Feoktistov was one of the leading enthusiasts in this effort.
Planned August launch rescheduled after failure of American lunar probe on August 17. Inability to complete final tests of the new engines and malfunctions during pre-launch preparations indicated a lot of work had to be done on the new launch vehicle before the first launch could be attempted. References: 5 , 175 .
The Argus series were the only clandestine nuclear tests ever conducted by the United States. The rocket-launched nuclear warheads were set off at very high altitudes over the South Atlantic, 1800 km south-west of Capetown, South Africa. The purpose was to determine the effects of nuclear explosions on the Earth's magnetic field and the impact to military radar, communications, satellites and ballistic missiles electronics. The earth's magnetic field is not only off-axis from the earth, but also off centre from the earth's core. This means the Van Allen Radiation belts are closest to the earth in the region known as the 'South Atlantic Anomaly'. This made the selected launch point the ideal place for launching a rocket into the lower belt where the particles and radiation from the explosion would be trapped.
The 1.7 kiloton W-25 warhead used had been developed and previously tested for the Genie air-to-air missile. The first test was launched from 38.5 deg S, 11.5 deg. W, and exploded at an altitude of 160 km. The initial flash was followed by an auroral luminescence extending upward and downward along the magnetic lines where the burst occurred. The experiment verified the predicitons made in the original October 1957 proposal by N. C. Christofilos of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore.
Fired from AMR at 1815 hours EST. The countdown was normal. Operations were interrupted by one hold -- a 15 minute delay for minor adjustments. Ignition, main-stage, and lift-off were normal. The missile followed the pre-selected trajectory closely during powered flight, though cut-off was effected by fuel depletion rather than by pre-set guidance cut-off. The nose cone impacted 39 nm short and 15.7 nm to the left of the pre-calculated range of 1,246 nm. Jupiter 7 was the first flight test of the warhead and fuse system. This also marked the second flight test of the :Jupiter all-inertial guidance system, the fourth flight test of the NAA S-3D engine operating at 150,000 pounds thrust, and the first flight test of the solid propellant spin rocket and vernier motor. References: 439 .
Decree 'On expansion of work on the R- 16 ICBM' was issued. References: 474 .
Second covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van Allen radiation belts. The launch location was 49.5 deg South, 8.2 deg West; altitude reached 294 km; yield of the nuclear warhead, 1.7 kilotons.
Study was started on the tracking and ground instrumentation networks for the manned satellite project. References: 483 .
Construction drawings for the Vostok manned spacecraft were issued beginning in the fall of 1958. Official go-ahead was still nearly a year in the future.
Decree 'On launch of automated lunar probes November' was issued. References: 474 .
Third and final covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van Allen radiation belts. The launch location was 48.5 deg South, 9.7 deg West ; altitude reached 750 km; yield of the nuclear warhead, 1.7 kilotons.
Black Knight missile of the United Kingdom was launched from the Australian range at Woomera to an altitude of over 300 miles. References: 17 .
Cruise stage tanks 1 and 4 empty. The boosters operated normally and the cruise stage ignited at Mach 2.95-3.0. At T+95 seconds there were problems at separation of the boosters, leading to cruise stage instability and an asymmetric airflow through the ramjet diffuser leading. This caused significant variations in thrust. The pressure in tank 3 dropped at T+160s econds and the ramjet flamed out.
A letter contract was signed by NASA with NAA's Rocketdyne Division for the development of the H-1 rocket engine, designed for use in a clustered-engine booster. References: 16 .
At an Army Advanced Research Projects Agency conference, the Army was advised there was little chance for approval of Project Adam. References: 483 .
This allowed for full production drawing release to the fabrication shops and the beginning of tests of the spacecraft systems.
A joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Advanced Research Projects Agency Manned Satellite Panel was formed. This panel, with the aid of technical studies prepared by the Langley and Lewis Research Centers and assistance from the military services, drafted specific plans for a program of research leading to manned space flight. References: 483 .
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 990 m. References: 439 .
Fifth Academy finalizes plan to proceed development of indigenous Dong Feng missiles (original DF-1, DF-2, DF-3 designations) References: 87 .
Following a Memorandum of Agreement between Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris of Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) Director Roy W. Johnson on this date and a meeting on November 4, ARPA and AOMC representatives agreed to extend the Juno V project. The objective of ARPA Order 14 was changed from booster feasibility demonstration to "the development of a reliable high performance booster to serve as the first stage of a multistage carrier vehicle capable of performing advanced missions." References: 16 .
A series of meetings were held in Washington, with Robert R. Gilruth serving as chairman to draft a manned satellite program and provide a basic plan for meeting the objectives of this program. Others attending included S. B. Batdorf, A. J. Eggers, Maxime A. Faget, George Low, Warren North, Walter C. Williams, and Robert C. Youngquist. References: 483 .
Dr. T. Keith Glennan, NASA Administrator, announced publicly that NASA would be activated on October 1, 1958. References: 483 .
Nike-Asp test flight from Navy LSD Point Defiance near Puka Island reached 800,000 feet, the highest altitude ever reached by ship-launched rocket, in preliminary test of Nike-Asp for use in IGY solar eclipse studies. References: 17 .
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