|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1971 - Quarter 2|
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McDonnell Douglas, Huntington Beach, conducted a 90-day experiment with four volunteer crewmen confined in a space station simulator. The purpose of the space station simulation was to provide an artificial environment in which man could live and work; with minimal stress and compromise to a normal existence. Test objectives were met. Medical and physiological data accumulated during the test would serve as an effective control in future experiments on the long-term effects of confinement and exposure to an elevated carbon dioxide partial pressure atmosphere that would probably be encountered in a long-duration space flight.
ASAT interceptor. Conducted an extended test flight to shake out homing system and engine function. Tested new redundant ranging systems. Tested effectiveness of new approach trajectory to target, whereby target was approached from above rather than below. Following completion of tests and verification of system functions via telemetry, spacecraft was commanded to a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 272 .
First of manned space station; deorbited after 175 days in space, on October 16, 1971.
186km X 220km orbit to 253km X 276km orbit. Delta V: 35 m/s
198km X 204km orbit to 187km X 221km orbit. Delta V: 8 m/s
188km X 215km orbit to 208km X 217km orbit. Delta V: 5 m/s
208km X 212km orbit to 210km X 235km orbit. Delta V: 6 m/s
206km X 227km orbit to 225km X 262km orbit. Delta V: 15 m/s
225km X 262km orbit to 257km X 264km orbit. Delta V: 9 m/s
222km X 237km orbit to 238km X 284km orbit. Delta V: 17 m/s
200km X 237km orbit to 226km X 292km orbit. Delta V: 23 m/s
201km X 251km orbit to 248km X 299km orbit. Delta V: 27 m/s
248km X 229km orbit to 285km X 314km orbit. Delta V: 34 m/s
265km X 300km orbit to 221km X 266km orbit. Delta V: 21 m/s
177km X 182km orbit to 177km X 20km orbit. Delta V: 48 m/s
Total Delta V: 200/248 m/s.
Officially: Testing of design elements and on-board systems; conduct of research and experiments in space flight. Testing of design elements and on-board systems; conduct of research and experiments in space flight. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 .
Intended first space station mission; soft docked with Salyut 1. Soyuz 10 approached to 180 m from Salyut 1 automatically. It was hand docked after faillure of the automatic system, but hard docking could not be achieved because of the angle of approach. Post-flight analysis indicated that the cosmonauts had no instrument to proivde the angle and range rate data necessary for a successful manual docking. Soyuz 10 was connected to the station for 5 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the lack of hard dock, it is said that the crew were unable to enter the station due to a faulty hatch on their own spacecraft. When Shatalov tried to undock from the Salyut, the jammed hatch impeded the docking mechanism, preventing undocking. After several attempts he was unable to undock and land. During the landing, the Soyuz air supply became toxic, and Rukavishnikov (much like the case of Vance Brand during the Apollo ASTP return) was overcome and became unconscious. Recovered April 25, 1971 23:40 GMT. Landed 120 km NW Karaganda. Film and photos indicated that the docking system on the Salyut was not damaged, setting the stage for the Soyuz 11 mission. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Acting NASA Administrator George M. Low discontinued the quarantine for future Apollo flights to the moon beginning with the Apollo 15 mission. The decision was based on a recommendation of the Interagency Committee on Back Contamination (ICBC). The ICBC would continue as an active body, however, at least until the results of the last Apollo lunar mission were reviewed. Biomedical characterization of returned lunar samples would also be continued. References: 16 .
James C. Fletcher was sworn in as NASA Administrator at a White House ceremony. President Nixon had nominated him for the position on March 1, and the Senate had confirmed the nomination on March 11. George M. Low, NASA Deputy Administrator, had been Acting Administrator since the resignation of Administrator Thomas O. Paine on September 15, 1970. References: 16 .
The final version of the N1M replaced the fourth and fifth stages of the N1 with the single liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen Block Sr stage.
Police and military units arrest as many as 12,000; most are later released. Pentagon Papers published
Mars probe intended to enter Martian orbit and comprehensively photograph Mars. Rocket block failed to reignite in Earth Orbit. It is widely believed this spacecraft was launched with the primary purpose of overtaking Mariner 8, which had been launched (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) two days earlier, and becoming the first Mars orbiter. The Proton booster successfully put the spacecraft into low (174 km x 159 km) Earth parking orbit with an inclination of 51.4 degrees, but the Block D stage 4 failed to function due to a bad ignition timer setting (the timer, which was supposed to start ignition 1.5 hours after orbit was erroneously set for 1.5 years.) The orbit decayed and the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere 2 days later on 12 May 1971. The mission was designated Cosmos 419. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 118 , 274 , 296 .
Decision made to proceed with development of the multi-engined stage Block Sr with a propellant mass of 66.4 tonnes. This single stage would be used in place of the previously-planned Blocks S and R to insert the modernized Lunar Expeditionary Complex (LEK) into low lunar orbit. It was also to be used to insert heavy spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit and on interplanetary trajectories. References: 21 .
Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. Mid-course corrections were made on 17 June and 20 November. Mars 2 released the descent module (1971-045D) 4.5 hours before reaching Mars on 27 November 1971. The descent system malfunctioned and the lander crashed at 45 deg S, 302 deg W, delivering the Soviet Union coat of arms to the surface. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a 1380 x 24,940 km, 18 hour orbit about Mars with an inclination of 48.9 degrees. Scientific instruments were generally turned on for about 30 minutes near periapsis. Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972. On-orbit dry mass: 2265 kg References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 118 , 274 , 296 .
Mars probe intended to conduct of a series of scientific investigations of the planet Mars and the space around it. Parameters are for Mars orbit. The Mars 3 orbiter also carried a French-built experiment which was not carried on Mars 2. Called Spectrum 1, the instrument measured solar radiation at metric wavelengths in conjunction with Earth-based receivers to study the cause of solar outbursts. The Spectrum 1 antenna was mounted on one of the solar panels. A mid-course correction was made on 8 June. The descent module (COSPAR 1971-049F) was released at 09:14 GMT on 2 December 1971 about 4.5 hours before reaching Mars. Through aerodynamic braking, parachutes, and retro-rockets, the lander achieved a soft landing at 45 S, 158 W and began operations. However, after 20 sec the instruments stopped working for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, the orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a long 11-day period orbit about Mars with an inclination thought to be similar to that of Mars 2 (48.9 degrees). Data was sent back for many months. It was announced that Mars 2 and 3 had completed their missions by 22 August 1972. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 118 , 274 , 296 .
The first spacecraft to orbit another planet. The Mariner Mars 71 mission was planned to consist of two spacecraft on complementary missions. Mariner 8 was to map 70 % of the Martian surface and Mariner 9 was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and on the Martian surface. The launch failure of Mariner 8 forced Mariner 9 to combine the mission objectives of both. For the survey portion of the mission, the planetary surface was to be mapped with the same resolution as planned for the original mission, although the resolution of pictures of the polar regions would be decreased due to the increased slant range. The variable features experiments were changed from studies of six given areas every 5 days to studies of smaller regions every 17 days. Mariner 9 was launched on a direct trajectory to Mars. Separation from the booster occurred at 22:36 GMT. The four solar panels were deployed at 22:40 GMT. The sensors locked onto the Sun at 23:16, shortly after the spacecraft left the Earth's shadow and Canopus acquisition was achieved at 02:26 GMT 31 May. A planned midcourse maneuver was executed on 5 June. Mariner 9 arrived at Mars on 14 November 1971 after a 167 day flight. A 15 minute 23 second rocket burn put the spacecraft into Mars orbit. The insertion orbit had a periapsis of 1398 km and a period of 12 hr, 34 min. Two days later a 6 second rocket burn changed the orbital period to just under 12 hours with a periapsis of 1387 km. A correction trim maneuver was made on 30 December on the 94th orbit which raised the periapsis to 1650 km and changed the orbital period to 11:59:28 so that synchronous data transmissions could be made to the Goldstone 64-m DSN antenna.
Imaging of the surface of Mars by Mariner 9 was delayed by a dust storm which started on 22 September 1971 in the Noachis region. The storm quickly grew into one of the largest global storms ever observed on Mars. By the time the spacecraft arrived at Mars no surface details could be seen except the summits of Olympus Mons and the three Tharsis volcanoes. The storm abated through November and December and normal mapping operations began. The spacecraft gathered data on the atmospheric composition, density, pressure, and temperature and also the surface composition, temperature, gravity, and topography of Mars. A total of 54 billion bits of scientific data were returned, including 7329 images covering the entire planet. After depleting its supply of attitude control gas, the spacecraft was turned off on 27 October 1972. Mariner 9 was left in an orbit which should not decay for at least 50 years, after which the spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere.
The Mariner 9 mission resulted in a global mapping of the surface of Mars, including the first detailed views of the martian volcanoes, Valles Marineris, the polar caps, and the satellites Phobos and Deimos. It also provided information on global dust storms, the gravity field as well as evidence for surface aeolian activity. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 , 296 .
The second unmanned Gemini-B/Titan 3M qualification flight would have taken place in 1971 and set the stage for the first manned mission in 1971. References: 128 .
First space station flight, two years before the American Skylab. Soyuz 11 was guided automatically to 100 m, then hand-docked to the Salyut 1 scientific station. Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. The main instrument, a large solar telescope, was inoperative because its cover failed to jettison. A small fire and difficult working conditions led to decision to return crew before planned full duration of 30 days. Capsule recovered June 29, 1971 23:17 GMT, but when the hatch was opened it was found that the crew had perished due to a loss of cabin atmosphere. A pressure equalization valve was jerked loose at the jettison of the Soyuz Orbital Module. The valve was not supposed to open until an altitude of 4 km was reached. The three-man crew did not have space suits. The Soyuz was thereafter redesigned to accomodate only two crew, but in spacesuits. The actual Soyuz 11 Prime Crew was Leonov, Kubasov, and Kolodin. Dobrovolskiy, Volkov, Patsayev were their backups (and support crew to Soyuz 10). Kubasov was grounded by physicians few days before launch, and the back-up crew ended up going instead. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 32 , 33 , 60 .
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On work on nuclear rocket engines' was issued. Prior work, mainly on propulsion for manned Mars expeditions, was now concentrated on development of the NEP rocket stage 11B97. This stage would have an electric capacity of 500-600 kW and would use specialised plasma-ion electric engines using standing plasma waves and anodes. References: 474 .
Final launch of the Thor/Burner II from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 15 September 1966). References: 88 .
Initial launch of a Titan IIID space booster from Vandenberg AFB. References: 88 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Superbooster failure of N1 serial number 6L. This was a substantially improved vehicle, incorporating filters in the propellant lines to prevent any foreign objects from getting into the pumps. The shape of the tail of the booster was modified, and ventilation and refrigeration systems were added to keep the engine compartment cool. It was painted white overall to reduce temperatures while sitting on the pad. After liftoff and ascent, an axial rotation was introduced by gas dynamics interactions of the thirty engines with the air slipstream. The launch vehicle developed a roll beyond the capability of the control system to compensate. and began to break up as it went through Max Q. Control was lost at 50.2 seconds into the flight and it was destroyed by range safety a second later. The engines functioned well and did not shut down up to the point of vehicle destruction. No functional payload was carried. It has been stated that this launch did not have a working launch escape system. References: 5 .
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