|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1972 - Quarter 4|
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Planned second mission to the Salyut DOS 2 space station. Cancelled after it was destroyed during launch. References: 344 .
Last of two Atlas/Burner II space launches from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 16 August 1968). References: 88 .
Uncertain if Molniya-1T model was Molniya-1 or Molniya-1T. Operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radiocommunications system in the USSR; transmission of television programmes to stations in the Orbita network. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
AMSAT-OSCAR 6 was launched piggyback with ITOS-D (NOAA 2). AO-6 was the first phase 2 satellite (Phase II-A). Weight 16 kg. Box shaped 430 x 300 x 150 mm. Quarter-wave monopole antennas (144 and 435 MHz) and half-wave dipole antenna (29 MHz). Firsts: complex control system using discrete logic; satellite-to-satellite relay communication via AO-7; demonstrated doppler-location of ground station for search and rescue; demonstrated low-cost medical data relay from remote locations. Equipped with solar panels powering NiCd batteries, AO-6 provided 24 V at 3.5 W power to three transponders. It carried a Mode A transponder (100 kHz wide at 1 W) and provided store-and-forward morse and teletype messages (named Codestore) for later transmission. AO-6 lasted 4.5 years until a battery failure ceased operation on June 21, 1977. Subsystems were built in the United States, Australia, and Germany. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite; returned film capsule; separated Nauka autonomous subsatellite 16KS No 161 / 1L which tested Kondor control system for Yantar satellite. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 69 .
Planned date of second manned MOL mission at time of the program cancellation. References: 128 .
Anik I and Anik II also registered as United States objects. .The satellites, act as space repeaters capable of receiving transmissions from earth stations and retransmitting them to other earth stations in Canada. The antenna coverage of the satellite pr ovides the capability of serving virtually all of Canada. Anik I and II had weights of 1240.59 lb and 1246.48 lb. Each satellite has 12 RF channels each capable of transmitting a color television signal or up to 900 one-way voice channels. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On Co-operation of USSR and India on Space Research --USSR-India co-operation' was issued. References: 474 .
Polar ionosphere investigations. Seventh ESRO satellite. Mass 115 kg. Also registered by the United States as 1972-92A, in A/AC.105/INF.267, with orbital parameters 98.8 min, 244 x 1160 km x 91.1 deg, category B. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Unmanned test of manned lunar mission launch vehicle serial number 7L. This article incorporated significant changes to the previous model, including roll control 'steering' engines to prevent the loss of control that destroyed 6L. The rocket ascended into the sky, and the engines ran 106.93 seconds, only seven seconds before completion of first stage burnout. Programmed shutdown of some engines to prevent overstressing of the structure led to propellant line hammering, rupture of propellant lines, and an explosion of engine number 4. The vehicle was destroyed by range safety. References: 5 .
Uncertain if Molniya-1T model was Molniya-1 or Molniya-1T. Operation of a system of long range telephone-telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to the stations of the Orbita network. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Apollo 17 (AS-512), the final Apollo manned lunar landing mission, was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:33 a.m. EST December 7. Crew members were astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt. The launch had been delayed 2 hours 40 minutes by a countdown sequencer failure, the only such delay in the Apollo program caused by a hardware failure.
All launch vehicle systems performed normally in achieving an earth parking orbit of 170 by 168 kilometers. After checkout, insertion into a lunar trajectory was begun at 3:46 a.m.; translunar coast time was shortened to compensate for the launch delay. CSM 114 transposition, docking with LM-12, and LM ejection from the launch vehicle stage were normal. The S-IVB stage was maneuvered for lunar impact, striking the surface about 13.5 kilometers from the preplanned point at 3:27 p.m. EST December 10. The impact was recorded by the passive seismometers left on the moon by Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16.
The crew performed a heat flow and convection demonstration and an Apollo light-flash experiment during the translunar coast. The scientific instrument module door on the SM was jettisoned at 10:17 a.m. EST December 10. The lunar orbit insertion maneuver was begun at 2:47 p.m. and the Apollo 17 spacecraft entered a lunar orbit of 315 by 97 kilometers. After separation of the LM Challenger from the CSM America and a readjustment of orbits, the LM began its powered descent and landed on the lunar surface in the Taurus-Littrow region at 2:55 p.m. EST on December 11, with Cernan and Schmitt.
The first EVA began about 4 hours later (6:55 p.m.). Offloading of the lunar roving vehicle and equipment proceeded as scheduled. The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package was deployed approximately 185 meters west northwest of the Challenger. Astronaut Cernan drove the lunar roving vehicle to the experiments deployment site, drilled the heat flow and deep core holes, and emplaced the neutron probe experiment. Two geological units were sampled, two explosive packages deployed, and seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken. During the 7-hour 12-minute EVA, 14 kilograms of samples were collected.
The second extravehicular activity began at 6:28 p.m. EST December 12. Because of geological interest, station stop times were modified. Orange soil was discovered and became the subject of considerable geological discussion. Five surface samples and a double core sample were taken in the area of the orange soil. Three explosive packages were deployed, seven traverse gravimeter measurements were taken, and observations were photographed. Samples collected totaled 34 kilograms during the 7 hours and 37 minutes of the second EVA.
The third and final EVA began at 5:26 p.m. EST December 13. Specific sampling objectives were accomplished. Samples - including blue-gray breccias, fine-grained vesicular basalts, crushed anorthositic rocks, and soils - weighed 66 kilograms. Nine traverse gravimeter measurements were made. The surface electrical properties experiment was terminated. Before reentering the LM, the crew selected a breccia rock to dedicate to the nations represented by students visiting the Mission Control Center. A plaque on the landing gear of the lunar module, commemorating all of the Apollo lunar landings, was then unveiled. After 7 hours 15 minutes, the last Apollo EVA on the lunar surface ended. Total time of the three EVAs was approximately 22 hours; the lunar roving vehicle was driven 35 kilometers, and about 115 kilograms of lunar sample material was acquired.
While Cernan and Schmitt were exploring the lunar surface, Evans was conducting numerous scientific activities in the CSM in lunar orbit. In addition to the panoramic camera, the mapping camera, and the laser altimeter, three new scientific instrument module experiments were included in the Apollo 17 orbital science equipment. An ultraviolet spectrometer measured lunar atmospheric density and composition; an infrared radiometer mapped the thermal characteristics of the moon; and a lunar sounder acquired data on the subsurface structure.
Challenger lifted off the moon at 5:55 p.m. EST December 14. Rendezvous with the orbiting CSM and docking were normal. The two astronauts transferred to the CM with samples and equipment and the LM ascent stage was jettisoned at 1:31 a.m. December 15. Its impact on the lunar surface about 1.6 kilometers from the planned target was recorded by four Apollo 17 geophones and the Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16 seismometers emplaced on the surface. The seismic experiment explosive packages that had been deployed on the moon were detonated as planned and recorded on the geophones.
During the coast back to earth, Evans left the CSM at 3:27 p.m. EST December 17 for a 1-hour 7-minute inflight EVA and retrieved lunar sounder film and panoramic and mapping camera cassettes from the scientific instrument module bay. The crew conducted the Apollo light- flash experiment and operated the infrared radiometer and ultraviolet spectrometer.
Reentry, landing, and recovery were normal. The command module parachuted into the mid-Pacific at 2:25 p.m. EST December 19, 6.4 kilometers from the prime recovery ship, U.S.S. Ticonderoga. The crew was picked up by helicopter and was on board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga 52 minutes after the CM landed. All primary mission objectives had been achieved. Additional Details: Apollo 17. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 , 33 , 60 .
Explored lunar surface near LM and deployed ALSEP unmanned scientific station equipment. References: 66 .
Environmental research. Primary experiments included a temperature-humidity infrared radiometer (THIR) for measuring day and night surface and cloudtop temperatures as well as the water vapor content of the upper atmosphere, electrically scanning microwave radiometer (ESMR) for mapping the microwave radiation from the earth's surface and atmosphere, infrared temperature profile radiometer (ITPR) for obtaining vertical profiles of temperature and moisture, Nimbus E microwave spectrometer (NEMS) for determining tropospheric temperature profiles, atmospheric water vapor abundances, and cloud liquid water contents, selective chopper radiometer (SCR) for observing the global temperature structure of the atmosphere, and a surface composition mapping radiometer (SCMR) for measuring the differences in the thermal emission characteristics of the earth's surface. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Drove in lunar rover to South Massif. References: 66 .
Continued operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio-communication system; transmission of USSR central television programmes to stations in the Orbita network and international cooperation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Drove in lunar rover to North Massif. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off. References: 66 .
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On establishment of the Planeta-S weather satellite system' was issued. The resolution ordered development of a third generation system. This used the Planeta-S sensor package in the non-co-orbital Meteor-3 system plus the geostationary system Elektro, which was to begin tests in 1982. Elektro suffered numerous delays due to equipment and software problems. Flight trials of Meteor-3 did not begin until 1984, and there was only a single launch of Elektro, in 1994.
Deep space retrieval of film cartridges from Service Module. References: 66 .
First launch of improved ELINT satellite. In comparison to earlier Canyon ELINT satellites, Improved Canyon had a similar but heavier payload which separated from the Agena D final stage. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 172 , 278 .
Decree of 21 December 1972 started work on this replacement to the Meteor-Priroda system. The spacecraft was an adaptation of the recoverable Zenit/Vostok spacecraft for remote sensing.
Brezhnev personally selects Almaz for next space station launch. Following two successive failures of DOS-7K station (Salyut 1 and 7-29-72 launch failure), Brezhnev personally selects Almaz for next launch (Salyut 2). References: 76 .
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