By Executive Order, President Dwight D. Eisenhower transferred the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL, a government-owned facility staffed and operated by the California Institute of Technology, from Army to NASA jurisdiction. The new JPL radio telescope at Camp Irwin, Calif., called the Goldstone Tracking Facility, was capable of maintaining radio contact at distances of up to 400,000 miles and was the first of NASA's deep-space tracking stations. References: 16 .
Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan signed cooperative agreements concerning NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Army Ordnance Missile Command AOMC, and Department of the Army relationships. The agreement covering NASA utilization of the von Braun team made "the AOMC and its subordinate organizations immediately, directly, and continuously responsive to NASA requirements." References: 16 .
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, acting for NASA, awarded a $3.332 million contract to four New York architectural engineering firms to design the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) at Cape Canaveral. The massive VAB became a space-age hangar, capable of housing four complete Saturn V launch vehicles and Apollo spacecraft where they could be assembled and checked out. The facility would be 158.5 meters (520 feet high) and would cost about $100 million to build. Subsequently, the Corps of Engineers selected Morrison-Knudson Company, Perini Corp., and Paul Hardeman, Inc., to construct tile VAB. References: 16 .
Decree 'On approval of work on the Soyuz 7K-9K-11K circumlunar complex' was issued. This elaborated on the Soyuz design made under the prior decree of 16 April 1962. Initial design work was authorised on the Soyuz 7K earth orbit basic version - capable of automatic rendezvous and docking with other spacecraft; and the 9K and 11K tanker / refuelable rocket blocks to put the 7K in high altitude or circumlunar orbits. References: 474 .
The 7K-OK earth-orbit version of Soyuz was developed in accordance with the design made under the prior decree of 16 April 1962. It was to be capable of automatic rendezvous and docking with other spacecraft.
Lunar soft landing attempt failed. Luna 8's objectives were to test a soft lunar landing system and scientific research. Weighing 1,552 kg (3,422 lbs), the spacecraft was following a trajectory close to the calculated one and the equipment was functioning normally. However, the retrofire was late, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms. Tass reported that "the systems were functioning normally at all stages of the landing except the final touchdown." The mission did complete the experimental development of the star-orientation system and ground control of radio equipment, flight trajectory, and other instrumentation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 64 , 296 .
Area survey photo reconnaissance satellite. References: 279 .
ASAT interceptor. Successfully intercepted and destroyed Cosmos 459 target. This completed state trials test series and in 1972 the Istrebitel Sputnik was adopted as armament for the Soviet Army. Cosmos 462 produced the lowest number of fragments (27) of any of the ASAT's tested. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 272 .
Tested tools and techniques for extravehicular activity. References: 66 .
Mars landing was planned for December 3, 1999, with the end of the primary mission by February 29, 2000. All contact with the spacecraft was lost at the point of separation of the lander and multiprobes. Subsequent investigations pointed to shortcomings in project management and preflight testing, with the result that future 'faster, better, cheaper' NASA missions would be not quite so 'cheap'.
French optical military reconnaisance satellite based on Spot 4.
Customer: Alcatel Espace(France). French government military electronic intelligence research payload incorporated into an advance microsatellite platform. Based on CERISE with enhanced EMC subsystem. Still operational as of 2000.