Negotiations for construction of the Mercury tracking network were started with the Western Electric Company and their subcontractors (Bendix Aviation, International Business Machines, Bell Telephone Laboratories, and Burns and Roe), and a letter contract was signed on July 30, 1959, for the entire range. This included radar tracking; telemetry receiving, recording, and display; communications to both the spacecraft and surface stations; and the computing and control facilities. References: 483 .
NASA selected Western Electric Co. to build worldwide network of tracking and ground instrument stations to be used in Project Mercury. References: 17 .
The Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, established on July 7, 1961, began its formal existence with seven DOD and seven NASA members and alternates. Additional Details: Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group. References: 16 .
NASA Administrator James E. Webb announced that the Mission Control Center for future manned space flights would be located at MSC. The Center would be operational in time for Gemini rendezvous flights in 1964 and later Apollo lunar missions. The overriding factor in the choice of MSC was the existing location of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office, the astronauts, and Flight Operations Division at Houston. References: 16 .
NASA launched a Scout rocket with a nose cone of experimental heatshield material from Wallops Island, Va. The rocket was intentionally destroyed when it deviated from its course a few seconds after liftoff. The nose cone had been expected to reenter the atmosphere at 27,934 kilometers (18,600 miles) per hour to test the material's thermal performance under heating loads near those of a lunar reentry. References: 5 , 16 , 126 .
Suborbital 30 minute test of NASA SERT ion engine. References: 5 .
MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth informed MSFC Director Wernher von Braun that for the past two years MSC had studied the use of the mapping and survey system (M&SS) in conjunction with the Apollo program. Additional Details: Apollo mapping and survey system (M&SS). References: 16 .
Threw excess equipment out of spacecraft. References: 66 .
Retrieved micrometeoroid collector from Agena. References: 66 .
Prototype RORSAT hardware using chemical batteries in place of nuclear reactor. Lost on the 52nd revolution as a result of a possible failure in the chemical power units placed on board instead of the nuclear BES-5. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 290 .
Viking 1 reached Mars orbit June 19, 1976. Landing was planned for the US Bicentennial on July 4, but was delayed until a suitable landing site was located. The lander separated from the orbiter and touched down on the western slope of Chryse Planitia (the Plains of Gold) at 22.3 deg N latitude, 48 deg longitude.
3rd generation, medium resolution photo surveillance; film capsule; also performed earth resources tasks. Investigation of the natural resources of the earth in the interests of various branches of the national economy of the USSR and international cooperation. References: 1 , 2 , 6 .
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir's front port on 22 Jul 1995 04:39:37 GMT. Undocked on 4 Sep 1995 05:09:53 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 4 Sep 1995 08:58:55 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.22 days. Total docked time 44.02 days. References: 2 , 6 , 275 , 276 .